Ancient Monuments

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Ightham Mote Medieval moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Ightham, Kent

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Latitude: 51.2586 / 51°15'30"N

Longitude: 0.2693 / 0°16'9"E

OS Eastings: 558442.820638

OS Northings: 153495.678892

OS Grid: TQ584534

Mapcode National: GBR MNF.2WK

Mapcode Global: VHHPT.MM7J

Entry Name: Ightham Mote Medieval moated site

Scheduled Date: 16 January 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013120

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12717

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Ightham

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Ightham St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


Ightham Mote includes an exceptionally well preserved moated manor house, a
nearly-square moat some 50m long by 7-10m wide, an infilled fishpond and an
outer courtyard of buildings. The evolution of the building from a hall-house
with adjoining solars and chapel in the mid-14th century to a grand Jacobean
mansion set around a quadrangle in the 17th century is documented both
historically and archaeologically. Such moated sites are generally seen as
prestigious residences of the Lords of the manor, the moat not only marking
the high status of the occupier but also serving to deter casual raiders and
wild animals.
In the mid-16th century an outer courtyard to the west of the house was
enclosed by ranges of half-timbered stables, staff quarters and a gatehouse.
Only the western end of this courtyard survives, a fire having destroyed the
remainder. The central area is now a lawn. To the north of the house the
lawn occupies the area of a former fish-pond which would have provided fish
for the table. The date of its construction is unknown, but it was infilled
between 1789 and 1849 as part of a change in fashion towards lawns and
landscaped gardens.
The standing remains include Listed Buildings: Manor House, Grade I, The West
Range (Moat Cottages) and eastward projecting walls of the West Range, Grade
All standing remains, with the exception of the two lengths of walling on the
north and south of the western courtyard, are excluded from the scheduling.
The ground beneath all these structures is included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Ightham Mote is a particularly important example because the detailed
historical and archaeological documentation of the site makes it one of the
most informative examples in the country, and underlines the importance of the
large amount of archaeological evidence considered to survive beneath the
present structures, beneath the lawn to the north and beneath the courtyard to
the west.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fowler, K, Kenright, C, The Development of Ightham Mote, (1988)
Nicholson, N, Fawcett, E, Ightham Mote, (1988)
Rackham, O, The History of the Countryside, (1986)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Listed Buildings Vol. 190 3/8,

Source: Historic England

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