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Moathill Barn moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Westhorpe, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.2882 / 52°17'17"N

Longitude: 0.9911 / 0°59'27"E

OS Eastings: 604096.333687

OS Northings: 269772.894753

OS Grid: TM040697

Mapcode National: GBR SHF.KCQ

Mapcode Global: VHKD3.4R98

Entry Name: Moathill Barn moated site

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016698

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30568

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Westhorpe

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Westhorpe St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a moated site located to the north west of Westhorpe
village, about 1.1km from Westhorpe Hall moated site, the subject of a
separate scheduling, and 185m south of Westhorpe Lodge Farm.

The moat, which ranges in width from approximately 7.5m on the east side to
15m on the south, surrounds a trapezoidal central island with a maximum
internal length of 65m north west-south east and a width of 65m at the
northern end narrowing to approximately 38m. A causeway across the northern
end of the western arm of the moat is not shown on a map made in 1842 and
therefore is thought not to be original. The northern arm of the moat and the
northern end of the eastern arm have been largely infilled, although the outer
edges are still clearly defined. The remainder, although silted, is seasonally

The moated site is within what is understood to have been the area of a
medieval and Tudor deer park associated with Westhorpe Hall, near what was
probably the western boundary, and was perhaps the site of a park keepers
house. Westhorpe Lodge and several of the old names of the surrounding fields,
such as Pale Close and Great and Little Lawn, relate to features of this park,
and 19th century maps show a series of curving boundaries such as are
characteristic of medieval parks and may originally have demarcated parts of
the park boundary and the boundaries of compartments within it. In 1537, when
Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk owned Westhorpe Hall, the park was stocked
with 100 red deer and 200 fallow deer and noted as `ffyne ffedynge grounde'.

Farm buildings on the central island, yard surfaces and a service pole are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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.

Moathill Barn moated site is of particular interest because of its
association with the medieval and Tudor deer park in Westhorpe and thus,
historically, with Westhorpe Hall moated site, where an early 16th century
great house was built by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

The moat and buried deposits within the central island will retain
archaeological information concerning its construction and use during the
medieval and early post medieval period. Organic materials, including evidence
for the local environment in the past, are also likely to be preserved in the
lower fill of the moat. Moats were often constructed in medieval deer parks,
usually around hunting lodges or park keepers houses. The deer parks
themselves, the majority of which were established between 1200 and 1350, were
areas of land set aside for the management and hunting of game, chiefly deer,
and could contain a variety of features such as rabbit warrens, fishponds and
enclosures for the game, in addition to lodges and other buildings, moated or
otherwise. From the 15th century onwards, few such parks were constructed, and
by the end of the 17th century most had disappeared in their original form.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gunn, S J, Lindley, P G, 'Archaeol J' in Charles Brandon's Westhorpe: an early Tudor Courtyard House, , Vol. 145, (1988)
Title: Westhorpe: Tithe Map and Apportionment
Source Date: 1840
CRO, Ipswich:

Source: Historic England

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