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Moated site 240m south west of Whey Curd Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Wighton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.9138 / 52°54'49"N

Longitude: 0.8867 / 0°53'11"E

OS Eastings: 594189.79399

OS Northings: 339049.368551

OS Grid: TF941390

Mapcode National: GBR S7R.8ZB

Mapcode Global: WHLQY.L1F2

Entry Name: Moated site 240m south west of Whey Curd Farm

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018017

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30535

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Wighton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Wighton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a moated site and adjacent earthwork enclosures with the
remains of fishponds, situated on low ground on the eastern side of the valley
of the River Stiffkey at the boundary between the parishes of Wighton and
Walsingham. The earthworks are some 200m to the east of the modern channel of
the river, but adjoin the remains of part of an old, embanked water course,
now dry, along the middle of the valley bottom.
The moat, which has become partly infilled, remains open to a depth of 1m and
ranges from 12m to 15m in width on the north, east and south sides of a
quadrangular central platform with maximum internal dimensions of
approximately 40m NNE-SSW by 33m. The northern part of the platform is raised
slightly above the level of the southern end. The western arm of the moat is
cut and partly obscured by a modern drain, but its inner edge remains visible
and the north western corner of the outer edge is defined by a low scarp to
the west of the drain. A linear depression approximately 10m wide and 0.4m
deep which extends eastwards from the north eastern angle of the moat probably
represents the remains of an inlet channel. The ruined walls and foundations
of part of a building constructed of mortared flint are exposed along the
southern half of the eastern edge of the central platform, rising to a height
of up to 0.7m above a flint revetment which extends the full length of the
inner edge of the eastern arm of the moat and around the inner south eastern
angle. A rectangular recess in the revetting below the building is thought to
be the site of a drawbridge, and a slight depression on the outer edge of the
moat opposite this may mark the end of an approach road. The foundations and
standing ruins reveal the outline of a building approximately 19m long
north-south and 5m wide, extending to either side of the drawbridge recess,
with the brick lined recess of a fireplace in the inner face of the western
wall of the southern part.
Adjoining the southern arm of the moat there is a second, rectangular ditched
enclosure which probably formed an outer yard or garden area, bounded on the
west and south sides by a ditch which extends from the south western angle of
the moat and with internal dimensions of approximately 46m NNE-SSW by at least
40m. The outer edge of the ditch on the west side is cut by the modern drain,
but on the south side it is approximately 6m wide and open to a depth of 0.4m.
There is no visible boundary on the east side, but opposite the eastern end of
the southern arm of the ditch, close to the south east angle of the moat,
there is a low, sub-rectangular raised platform which may have supported a
The former water course is visible as a sinuous channel between raised banks
up to 0.5m high and is recorded on a map made in 1839 which also shows a
second, parallel channel. It lies approximately 70m to the west of the moat,
and between the two there are slight earthworks considered to be the remains
of fishponds and associated features. The most clearly defined of these is a
sub-rectangular hollow, up to 0.5m deep and measuring approximately 22m
north-south by 15m, alongside the northern end of the western arm of the moat,
to which it may have been connected by a sluice. From the northern end of this
hollow a channel, visible as a linear depression approximately 4m wide and
0.2m deep, runs westwards towards a gap in the eastern embankment of the
watercourse. To the west of the hollow are two much smaller sub-rectangular
depressions which may also be the remains of ponds, and some 20m to the west
of these is a low, `L' shaped bank which may represent part of a building or
small rectangular enclosure, perhaps with masonry walls or wall footings,
since on and adjacent to the bank there are fragments of mortar and brick or
tile, brought to the surface by moles. A slight east-west bank and scarp to
the south of all these features and running almost parallel to the channel
connected to the larger pond on the north side, is thought to represent the
boundary of an associated enclosure, and a curving bank approximately 0.2m
high to the north of the channel could, perhaps, mark a corresponding northern
boundary. Approximately 12m south of the southern bank, roughly in line with
the two smaller depressions within the enclosure, there are the remains of
another pair of small, sub-rectangular ponds.
The moated site has been identified as the possible site of a free chapel
which, in a survey of 1548, was described as being located half a mile from
the parish church. The visible building remains on the site are not
ecclesiastical in character, but a manorial complex such as this appears to
have been may have included a private chapel.
A field gate and the posts of a fence along either side of the drain which
crosses the site are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them 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 240m south west of Whey Curd Farm survives well and, apart
from the cutting of a modern drain across the western arm of the moat, shows
no evidence of recent disturbance. The character of the visible remains of the
buildings on the central platform is indicative of high, manorial status, and
it is probable that there are more extensive remains of buildings below the
ground surface. These, together with associated buried deposits, both on the
platform and in the fill of the moat, will provide archaeological information
on the date of construction and the history of the occupation of the site as
well as on the lives of the inhabitants, and additional information on the
domestic economy of the household will be contained in the associated
enclosures and fishponds. The features in the lower lying parts of the site
are also likely to contain waterlogged deposits in which organic materials,
including evidence for the local environment during the medieval period, will
be preserved.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, B, 'Norfolk Archaeol.' in Chantries in the Duchy of Lancaster in Norfolk, 1548, , Vol. 29, (1946), 206
Cushion B, Wighton SMR 2051, (1995)
Norfolk R O: Hayes and Storr 135/15, Survey of Whey Curd Farm, (1840)
Title: Tithe Award Map, Wighton
Source Date: 1839
Norfolk R O: PD 553/37

Source: Historic England

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