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Moated site and associated fields, 460m north east of Pickney Bush Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Newchurch, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.0297 / 51°1'46"N

Longitude: 0.9427 / 0°56'33"E

OS Eastings: 606436.317337

OS Northings: 129714.366322

OS Grid: TR064297

Mapcode National: GBR SZN.C5C

Mapcode Global: FRA D6VD.C37

Entry Name: Moated site and associated fields, 460m north east of Pickney Bush Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016682

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31417

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Newchurch

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Details

The monument includes an abandoned medieval moated residence and an area of
associated small fields, or closes. It is situated towards the centre of
Romney Marsh on low-lying, artificially drained land around 2km south east of
Newchurch.
The moated residence lies within the north western part of the monument and
survives in the form of earthworks, below ground building foundations and
associated buried remains. The north-south aligned, roughly rectangular moated
island measures approximately 125m by 45m and is surrounded by ditches up to
15m wide and 1m deep. Projecting from the moat onto the island are three
narrow ponds which have been interpreted as fishponds. The associated closes
cover the remainder of the monument in an irregular grid pattern and take the
form of at least 14 small rectangular fields enclosed by ditches which are now
mostly dry.
Mathew Poker's map of Romney and Walland Marshes, dating to 1617, depicts a
dwelling on the moated island. Later cartographic sources indicate that the
house had become abandoned and demolished by the mid-17th century.
All modern fences which cross the monument and the wooden sheepfold situated
on its north western edge are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Eastern Weald sub-Province of the South-eastern
Province, bounded by the North and South Downs and comprising an oval
arrangement of inward facing escarpments of chalk and sandstone, separated by
clay vales, all ringing a higher sandstone ridge. Apart from concentrations of
nucleated settlements in the Vale of Holmsdale and around Canterbury, the sub-
Province is dominated by high and very high densities of dispersed
settlements, giving a countryside with farmsteads and associated enclosed
fields, of medieval foundation, intermixed with cottages, medieval moated
sites and hamlets bearing the names `green' or `dene'.

In some areas of medieval England settlement was dispersed across the
landscape rather than nucleated into villages. Such dispersed settlement in an
area, usually a township or parish, is defined by the lack of a single (or
principal) nucleated settlement focus such as a village and the presence
instead of small settlement units (small hamlets or farmsteads) spread across
the area. These small settlements normally have a degree of interconnection
with their close neighbours, for example, in relation to shared common land or
road systems. Dispersed settlements varied enormously from region to region,
but where they survive as earthworks their distinguishing features include
roads and other minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other
buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. In areas
where stone was used for building, the outline of building foundations may
still be clearly visible. Communal areas of the settlements frequently include
features such as bakehouses, pinfolds and ponds. Areas of dispersed medieval
settlement are found in both the South Eastern and Northern and Western
Provinces of England. They are found in upland and also some lowland areas.
Where found, their archaeological remains are one of the most important
sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries
following the Norman Conquest.
Most moated sites served as prestigious residences, with the provision of a
moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence.
Although they were built throughout the medieval period, many date to the
years between about 1250 and 1350. The greatest concentration lies in the
Central and Eastern Provinces, although they are scattered throughout England
(around 6000 examples are known). Moated sites 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 460m north east of Pickney Bush Farm represents the
predominant dispersed form of medieval rural settlement within the Eastern
Weald sub-Province and survives well, exhibiting little subsequent
disturbance, in association with its contemporary field system. Field
investigation has indicated that the monument will contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to the original use and abandonment of the
settlement.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Reeves, A, Romney Marsh Earthworks Survey 1995, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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