Ancient Monuments

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'Castle Rough' Medieval moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Kemsley, Kent

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Latitude: 51.3603 / 51°21'37"N

Longitude: 0.7539 / 0°45'13"E

OS Eastings: 591821.324561

OS Northings: 165963.47948

OS Grid: TQ918659

Mapcode National: GBR RT0.RDG

Mapcode Global: VHKJM.02WH

Entry Name: 'Castle Rough' Medieval moated site

Scheduled Date: 12 February 1951

Last Amended: 16 July 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013368

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12729

County: Kent

Electoral Ward/Division: Kemsley

Built-Up Area: Sittingbourne

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


Castle Rough, which local legend has as a Danish/Viking encampment dating from
893, is a fine example of a Medieval moated manor site. A waterlogged moat
some 6-8m across defines an island 45m square on which the buildings of the
manor stood, although traces of these are no longer visible on the surface. On
the south-west side of the moat a D-shaped raised area probably represents the
site of an external gatehouse, while at the eastern and southern corners leats
which guided the flow of water into and away from the moat survive.
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 built between 1250 and
1350, and small-scale excavation at the site has confirmed that Castle Rough
originated at about that time.

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.

The moated site at Castle Rough is of particular importance because it
survives to a great extent intact. This has preserved a diverse range
of features in addition to the moat itself, including a barbican gate
which has not been identified at any other Kent moated site. The
continued wetness of the moat indicates that the site has high
archaeological potential for the recovery of normally perishable
artefacts and other evidence, while the undisturbed and raised nature
of the island suggests that the archaeological potential is high there
too, both for the recovery of evidence of the buildings on the island
and for the retrieval of evidence of the environment in which the
monument was constructed from the buried ground surface.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Kent Archaeological Review' in Kent Archaeological Review Spring 1973, , Vol. 18, (1973)
13 sources quoted, TQ94 NW10,
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Moats, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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