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Godwin's Place moated site and ponds

A Scheduled Monument in Hoo, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.1756 / 52°10'32"N

Longitude: 1.303 / 1°18'10"E

OS Eastings: 625939.047074

OS Northings: 258184.114828

OS Grid: TM259581

Mapcode National: GBR WP6.D8Q

Mapcode Global: VHLB9.JLQ1

Entry Name: Godwin's Place moated site and ponds

Scheduled Date: 17 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011330

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21299

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Hoo

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Hoo St Andrew and St Eustachius

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a moated site located on level ground 1.25km west of the
River Deben, and two adjacent linear ponds. The moated site survives as a
sub-rectangular island, surrounded by a moat measuring between 2m and 4.5m
deep and from 8m to 17m in width, and it has overall dimensions of
approximately 70m square. The south western arm of the moat was redug in 1988,
following the line of the original moat ditch, which had been been filled in
completely. The outer edge of the recut has been dug within the fill of the
earlier ditch, to the east of the original outer edge, which survives as a
buried feature, together with infill deposits which are visible in section in
the face of the recut. The moat is filled by surface water from field ditches,
with a piped inlet at the west end of the northern arm. A causeway at the
western corner provides access to the interior.

The house which stands on the eastern side of the island is of 16th and 17th
century date and replaced a more substantial house built in the 15th century
by John Godyn, or Godwyn. Remains of an earlier structure were observed on the
western side of the island in 1988, when brick footings, moulded bricks and
rubble were exposed on the inner edge of the northern western arm of the moat
and in and to the east of the inner edge of the recut south western arm.

To the south east of the moat are two east - west linear ponds, parallel to
one another and spaced 29m apart on a slight southward slope. The ponds are
both 10m - 15m wide, and range in depth from 0.5m to 2.5m, the northern being
the shallower of the two. Both contain water, although the northern is
largely dry in summer, and they are linked to each other and to the southern
arm of the moat by a rectilinear system of ditches, by means of which the flow
of water could be managed. The ponds have the character of ornamental
features of a 16th century formal garden, although they may also have been
used for the management of fish stocks for domestic use. A causeway has
recently been constructed across the northern pond.

Godwins was within the Lordship of Thomas de Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk and
in 1346 was granted by him to Thomas de Hoo, whose son married as his second
wife a daughter of Sir Thomas Wingfield. By 1544 the manor was in the
possession of Sir Anthony Wingfield, and it remained in the possession of
the Wingfield family throughout the 16th and earlier 17th century. It was sold
with the Easton Estate in 1706 to William Henry Nassau, 1st Earl of Rochford.

The dwelling house, which is Listed Grade II, and adjacent garages on the
island are excluded from the scheduling, as are the driveway, paths and
paving, raised garden beds, the modern footbridge which crosses the southern
arm of the moat, and all fences, including field boundaries and the post and
wire fence surrounding the island, but the ground beneath these buildings and
features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Despite recent modifications to the south western arm of the moat, Godwin's
Place moated site survives well, and evidence of a substantial building or
buildings of brick, predating the present 17th century house, is known to
exist within the moated area, which will also contain evidence of earlier
activity on the site. The ponds associated with the moat are well preserved
and, as earthwork remains of an early post-medieval formal garden, add to the
interest of the site. Waterlogged deposits within them will retain organic
material, including evidence concerning the local environment.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gault, W, A Survey of Suffolk Parish History, (1990)
H B M C Listing: TM25NE 5/72,
Report on Watching Brief, Suffolk SMR Parish File, HOO 002, (1988)
Rodwell, J, (1992)

Source: Historic England

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