Ancient Monuments

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Moated Sites, Earthworks, and Ponds at Kirtling Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Kirtling, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.1898 / 52°11'23"N

Longitude: 0.4659 / 0°27'57"E

OS Eastings: 568658.9625

OS Northings: 257484.3674

OS Grid: TL686574

Mapcode National: GBR PCX.QM6

Mapcode Global: VHJGY.1754

Entry Name: Moated Sites, Earthworks, and Ponds at Kirtling Tower

Scheduled Date: 12 September 1984

Last Amended: 6 August 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013140

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13608

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Kirtling

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Kirtling All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument consists of three separate areas. The first area contains the
main moat at Kirtling Tower which is the largest in the county measuring 180m
x 150m and is known to occupy the site of a Saxon Castle owned by King Harold.
It has three well defined arms to the north, east and west, and at the south
end of the moat stands a Tudor gatehouse and attached 19th century buildings,
all listed Grade I. The moat ditches average 26m in width and vary in depth
from 1m to 3.6m, and the eastern section of the moat remains waterlogged.
Earthworks of a dam or sluice which maintained the water level in the west
ditch can be seen at the north west corner of the moat. A bridge here would
have led from the island to a building and to a walkway which remains along
the length of the west ditch. On the moat island stands a large house
platform measuring 60m x 55m x 6m high. This is the remains of a Tudor
mansion built c1530 for Lord North, and it is recorded that Queen Elizabeth I
visited the house in 1578. The house was demolished in 1801, but substantial
remains of footings and cellars can be clearly identified on the platform.
Linear features radiating from the edge of the house platform denote the site
of stepped ornamental flower beds. Terraces, ditches and ponds to the east of
the moat are further remains of the water management system. A water outlet
ran eastwards to ponds through these earthworks, possibly in the form of a
cascade. Earthworks representing a hollow way leading towards the south-east
corner of the moated site are also included in this area. The second area of
the monument lies about 110m south east of the gatehouse and consists of a
second smaller moat measuring 75m x 75m. This was an integral part of the
original layout of the site and enclosed buildings, possibly stables. The
third area consists of an impressive ornamental earthwork running for 270m
through parkland, which was added in the early 17th century, providing a
formal approach to the Tudor gatehouse, house and moat.
All standing buildings and made up roads on the site are excluded from the
scheduling, but the ground beneath these is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Kirtling Tower site is a large well-preserved and complex monument,
reflecting the high status of the site in the Tudor period. It exhibits a
diverse range of features including the rare survival of earthwork remains of
an ornamental garden. Importantly, it is known to lie on the site of a Saxon
Castle, archaeological remains of which are likely to survive beneath the
present site.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bailey, I S, Kirtling, (1979)
Cambridge University Library, , Transcript of Kirtling Survey, (1587)
CCRO, , Enclosure Award, Kirtling, (1814)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire, (1970)
RCHM, , Kirtling Tower, (1989)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1st Edition 25", Cambs 498
Source Date: 1885

Source: Historic England

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