Ancient Monuments

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Medieval moated site and adjoining fishponds, Blackham Court.

A Scheduled Monument in Withyham, East Sussex

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Latitude: 51.1199 / 51°7'11"N

Longitude: 0.1435 / 0°8'36"E

OS Eastings: 550111.767553

OS Northings: 137803.362863

OS Grid: TQ501378

Mapcode National: GBR LNH.M42

Mapcode Global: VHHQJ.F3QV

Entry Name: Medieval moated site and adjoining fishponds, Blackham Court.

Scheduled Date: 24 April 1978

Last Amended: 22 August 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013208

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12735

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Withyham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Withyham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument at Blackham Court includes a rectangular moated site 75m
by 60m and a probably later set of parallel fishponds on its eastern
Moated sites are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the
Lords of the manor. The moat marked the high status of the occupier
but also served to deter casual raiders and wild animals. Most moats
were constructed in the period around 1300 AD, and pottery recovered
during the excavation of a swimming pool within the moated area
confirmed that it is to this period that the example at Blackham is
likely to date.
To the east of the moated site is a set of three parallel fishponds
which in two cases appear to have been linked to each other and to
the moated site. The third and easternmost appears to have been
separate. The fishponds extend across the entire area between streams
on the north and south with which the water levels in the pond were
Blackham Court itself appears to have superseded the presumed moated
building as the manor house in late Medieval times, although pottery
continued to be discarded onto the moat island into the 17th century.
The fishponds are best seen as part of this later manorial complex
than as part of the moated site.
The swimming pool and the tennis court which are sited on the moat
island are both excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath them is included. All above-ground structures within the
scheduled area, such as fences and bridges, are excluded from the

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.

The moated site at Blackham survives in good condition and has been
shown to have high archaeological potential. Additionally the
adjacent fishponds also survive well and are considered to retain
considerable evidence of their original form and management.

Source: Historic England


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)
Dennison, E., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Fishponds, (1988)
TQ 53 NW 8,

Source: Historic England

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