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Medieval moated site, Palstre Court

A Scheduled Monument in Wittersham, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.0236 / 51°1'24"N

Longitude: 0.6825 / 0°40'56"E

OS Eastings: 588220.605318

OS Northings: 128338.541506

OS Grid: TQ882283

Mapcode National: GBR QWN.RCY

Mapcode Global: FRA D69D.ZMS

Entry Name: Medieval moated site, Palstre Court

Scheduled Date: 25 July 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013124

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12723

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Wittersham

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Details

Palstre Court moated site comprises a sub-circular moat, water-filled on the
northern side, which encloses an island 110m by 85m. An original entrance
causeway on the east side has been supplemented by a second, also on the
eastern arm of the moat. In places the moat has been enlarged and scoured
while elsewhere it has silted up almost completely.
Moats are generally seen as prestigious residences of the Lords of the Manor.
The moat not only marked the high status of the occupier but also served to
deter casual raiders and wild animals. Most moated sites were constructed
between 1250 and 1350 and it is from this period that the moat at Palstre
Court is likely to date despite a Domesday reference to the existence of an
estate here.
Nothing survives above ground of the buildings which are presumed to have
stood within the moated area, although a number of undulations in the north-
east corner may betray the position of foundations. The present buildings of
Palstre Court, outside the scheduled area, date from the 17th century and
later.
All modern buildings within the scheduled area (not shown on the map extract)
are excluded from the scheduling. However, the ground beneath these buildings
is scheduled.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Palstre Court is a good example of a large moated site. The enclosed island
is, with the exception of the area of the small ornamental lake, undisturbed
and therefore considered to retain considerable remains of archaeological
interest, particularly concerning the type and layout of original buildings on
the site. Waterlogged deposits are also considered to survive well in the
moat itself.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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