Ancient Monuments

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Medieval moated site at Sayes Court

A Scheduled Monument in Leysdown, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3596 / 51°21'34"N

Longitude: 0.9039 / 0°54'13"E

OS Eastings: 602266.098066

OS Northings: 166278.412602

OS Grid: TR022662

Mapcode National: GBR SVK.MBK

Mapcode Global: VHKJP.M363

Entry Name: Medieval moated site at Sayes Court

Scheduled Date: 16 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012178

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12866

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Leysdown

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


The monument includes a nearly circular moat and its interior area which
formed the site of a moated manor house. The moat, which averages 10m in
width, has a maximum diameter of 55m N-S. It would originally have been
crossed by a timber bridge, but no evidence of its position is visible.
The moated island has been raised by about 1m above the level of the
surrounding land and forms a circular area some 30m across. On this platform
would have been sited the manor house itself. The surface of the island
undulates slightly, suggesting the presence of buried foundations, but no
certain traces are visible on the surface.
The site is recorded as having been given by William the Conqueror to John
de Fiennes soon after the Conquest and subsequently passed into the hands of
the Sayes family, after whom the manor site was named.

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 seigniorial 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.

The moated site at Sayes Court is one of a small number of round rather than
square or rectangular moats in the South East. It therefore illustrates some
of the diversity of such monuments, and provides the potential for the
exploration of the differences between these different forms of moated site.
Having been left apparently undisturbed, the monument has considerable
archaeological potential, both on the island and in the moat. The importance
of the moat is enhanced by the survival of the church to its east which
formed part of the original manorial complex.

Source: Historic England


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
TR06 NW1,

Source: Historic England

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