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Moated site and associated earthwork enclosures 190m south east of Denver Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Denver, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.5862 / 52°35'10"N

Longitude: 0.3847 / 0°23'4"E

OS Eastings: 561653.56957

OS Northings: 301384.99324

OS Grid: TF616013

Mapcode National: GBR N5N.VF8

Mapcode Global: WHJPZ.W8C5

Entry Name: Moated site and associated earthwork enclosures 190m south east of Denver Hall

Scheduled Date: 12 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016486

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30563

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Denver

Built-Up Area: Downham Market

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Denver St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a moated site and associated earthwork enclosures
located on low ground at the northern edge of Whin Common, some 350m south
east of St Mary's Church and the centre of Denver village. The site is thought
to be that of the medieval manor of East Hall, and the associated enclosures
perhaps contained a garden and outbuildings such as stables.

The moat, which ranges in width from about 11m on the east side to 16m on the
west, surrounds a rectangular central island measuring approximately 37m north
west-south east by 28m. The northern and western arms contain water and
narrower, water-filled channels have been cut into the outer edges of the
eastern and southern arms, which are otherwise largely infilled. The system is
fed by a water course which runs from the north east into the south eastern
corner of the moat with an outlet from the south western corner. In the
northern half of the central island there is a sub-rectangular pond which is
not shown on a map made in 1839 and is probably an ornamental feature dating
from the mid- or later 19th century when the moated site was within the
grounds of Denver Hall. This pond measures approximately 14m north west-south
east by 16m and is connected by a short channel to the northern arm of the

Surrounding the moat and roughly concentric with it is a rectangular outer
enclosure with overall dimensions of approximately 110m south west-north east
by at least 115m north west-south east. On the east and south sides it is
defined by the slight remains of a ditch, visible as a linear hollow up to 10m
wide and 0.3m deep, and an outer bank up to 6m wide and 0.2m high. A similar
ditch with an inner and outer bank have also been recorded as visible features
on the western side, although much of the outer ditch apart from the southern
end has since been removed or levelled. The ditch and inner bank which have
also been obscured by the spreading of silt from the western arm of the moat
will, however, survive as buried features.

Between the outer enclosure and the common to the south there is an associated
platform approximately 118m wide which is enclosed on the west side by a
ditch, visible as a linear hollow with a pronounced scarp up to 0.8m high on
the outer edge, and on the east side by a low but clearly defined east-facing
scarp which runs SSW from the south east corner of the enclosure around the

East Hall was one of two manors in Denver, the site of the other, West Hall,
being to the north west. At the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 East Hall
was in the lordship of William, Earl Warrenne, who held extensive lands in
Norfolk. By the beginning of the 13th century it was held by the de Cailly
family and remained in their hands until the mid-14th century, when it passed
to Sir Adam de Clifton as heir to the de Caillys. The Cliftons held it until
1464 when it was conveyed to Sir William Willoughby, and Edward Willoughby,
who was lord in 1491, was buried in the chancel of St Mary's Church. It
remained in the ownership of the Willoughbys until the later 16th century.

All fences and gates, the surface of a made track across the northern and
western sides of the monument and a log footbridge across the northern arm of
the moat are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all
these features is included.

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 190m south east of Denver Hall survives well and the
associated earthwork enclosures add to the importance of the monument. The
earthworks, together with buried deposits on the central island of the moat
and in the surrounding enclosures will contain archaeological information
concerning their construction and occupation during the medieval period.
Organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past
are likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the southern and eastern
arms of the moat and elsewhere.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk, (1807), 317-319

Source: Historic England

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