Ancient Monuments

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Medieval moated site, Groombridge Place

A Scheduled Monument in Speldhurst, Kent

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Latitude: 51.1173 / 51°7'2"N

Longitude: 0.1895 / 0°11'22"E

OS Eastings: 553340.907346

OS Northings: 137616.144871

OS Grid: TQ533376

Mapcode National: GBR MPW.SWP

Mapcode Global: VHHQK.75JS

Entry Name: Medieval moated site, Groombridge Place

Scheduled Date: 13 July 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018592

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12728

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Speldhurst

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Speldhurst St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


The moated site at Groombridge Place comprises a stone-lined nearly square and
broad moat defining an island 40m by 50m. The southern side of the island is
occupied by a fine Jacobean house and associated service courtyard (both
listed Grade I), but the north side is clear of buildings. The scheduling
does not apply to any of the buildings on the site, although the ground
beneath each is included.
Moated sites are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the Lords of
the Manor. The moat not only marked the high status of the site but also
served to deter casual raiders and wild animals. Most moats were built
between 1250 and 1350, and it is to this period that the moat at Groombridge
is likely to date, since it first enters the historical record as a manor in
No traces of the earlier buildings on the site are to be seen, but the
sandstone lining of the moat probably represents early building material. The
brick-built gatehouse and bridge on the north side, both excluded from the
scheduling, may preserve the position of the original access to the moat.

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 at Groombridge is of particular importance because the moat
survives in its entirety and remains wet throughout the year so that the
archaeological potential for the survival of normally perishable artefacts and
other evidence is high. The potential for the recovery of evidence both of
the ground plan of the original buildings at the site and of the development
of the manor is also great, especially on the northern side of the island.

Source: Historic England


Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)
Speldhurst 16/502 (27/38), Groombridge Place Listed Description,

Source: Historic England

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