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Denham College moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Hoxne, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.3282 / 52°19'41"N

Longitude: 1.2141 / 1°12'50"E

OS Eastings: 619108.823349

OS Northings: 274870.437504

OS Grid: TM191748

Mapcode National: GBR VL0.1S6

Mapcode Global: VHL9H.0R73

Entry Name: Denham College moated site

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017330

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30569

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Hoxne

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Denham St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a medieval moated site and associated pond situated at
the northern end of Denham village, approximately 300m ENE of St John the
Baptist's Church. The moat, which contains water and is for the most part from
7m to 13m in width, surrounds the north, east and south sides and the south
western corner of a quadrangular central island with internal dimensions of
approximately 65m WNW-ESE by 40m. A map made in 1757 shows that the moat
originally extended around the western end of the island and although this
western arm has been infilled, it will survive as a buried feature. A causeway
across the southern arm is a modern feature, and the section of the moat
around the corner to the west of this appears, on the evidence of the 18th
century map and a later map of 1838, to have been enlarged internally since
the mid-19th century to a width of up to 15m. College farmhouse, which stands
towards the western end of the central island and is of uncertain date, is
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

Approximately 20m to the west of the line of the western arm of the moat and
parallel to it there is a linear pond about 73m long and between 7m and 10m
wide, thought to be associated with the moat. The map of 1838 shows that the
northern end of the pond originally extended eastwards towards the north west
corner of the moat, enclosing the northern end of the area between. The pond
is partially divided into two sections by a low ridge which projects from the
eastern side approximately 55m from the northern end and opposite the south
western corner of the moat. It is possible that the pond originated as two
fishponds aligned end to end and connected by a sluice.

The moated site and the house it contained were among the possessions of Sir
Henry Bedingfield which were seized by Parliament following the Civil War and
the beheading of Charles I in 1649. A survey made in 1651 refers to it as one
of two capital messuages (principal dwellings) in Denham and describes the
house as the `mansion, commonly called Denham College, alias Denham Dungeon',
although the house was `old, small and fit only to accommodate one tenant'.
The house, built of timber, included a parlour, a hall, a kitchen or buttery,
a cellar, a brewhouse, a bakehouse and one other small room, with six chambers
on the upper floor, two dairies with a chamber over and a garret above that,
and a small courtyard and garden within the moat. The reference to it as a
capital messuage, together with its location close to the church and the
village, suggest that it may at one time have been the site of a manor house,
although by the 17th century the manor was located at Denham Hall, another
moated site about 1.6km to the south west, close to the parish boundary. The
name indicates a possible association with a college of secular clergy, and it
has been suggested that such a college might have been founded here in the
late 15th or early 16th century to serve the parish church.

The College farmhouse, all outbuildings, garden walls, inspection chambers,
modern paving and the surfaces of modern trackways and paths, clothes line
posts and all modern fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features 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.

Denham College moated site survives well and the moat, including the infilled
section, the central island and the associated pond will contain
archaeological information concerning its construction and occupation during
the medieval and post-medieval periods. The historical documentation of the
moat in the mid-17th century and 18th century and the possibility that it was
the site of a late medieval college give the monument additional interest.

The term college is used to describe communities of secular clergy who shared
a degree of common life less strictly controlled than in the monastic orders.
The majority of English colleges were founded in the 14th and 15th centuries,
many of them for the primary purpose of offering masses for the souls of the
patron and the patron's family, although some also housed bedesmen (deserving
poor and elderly) and provided educational facilities. Most were closed under
the Chantries Act of 1547.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Copinger, W A, The Manors of Suffolk, Volume 4, (1909), 28
'East Anglian Miscellany' in 7374 Denham College, , Vol. 20, (1926)
'Norfolk Record Society' in First Register of Norwich Cathedral Priory, , Vol. 11, (1939), 141
CRO, Ipswich, Ref HA68:484/752, Skynner, T, A Survey of the College Farm, Denham, (1651)
Title: Tithe Map, Denham
Source Date: 1838
CRO, Ipswich, Ref P461/84

Source: Historic England

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