Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Bleach Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Wissett, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.3626 / 52°21'45"N

Longitude: 1.485 / 1°29'5"E

OS Eastings: 637373.589869

OS Northings: 279560.178836

OS Grid: TM373795

Mapcode National: GBR XNF.XZ3

Mapcode Global: VHM6W.PWD5

Entry Name: Moated site at Bleach Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018963

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30575

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Wissett

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Wissett St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a moated site located close to the eastern boundary of
the parish and approximately 750m south east of St Andrew's Church, on a ridge
above the small valley in which Wissett village lies. The moat, which is
between 5m and 12m wide and water-filled, with a recorded depth of up to 2.5m
on the western side, surrounds a quadrangular central island with maximum
internal dimensions of 90m WNW-ESE by 80m. A water-filled inlet approximately
14m long and 11m wide extends inward from the northern arm of the moat. Access
to the interior is provided by a wide causeway across the eastern arm of the
moat, and there is a second, narrower and slightly sunken causeway across the
southern arm which is thought to be a later feature, created by infilling.
Fragments of pottery found in the moat provide evidence for occupation of the
site during the medieval period.

From the early 17th century at least Bleach Farm, including the moated site,
was owned by Alburgh Townland Charity, purchased by the Trustees in pursuance
of the terms of the will of Richard Wright who died in the early 16th century.

Bleach Farmhouse, dated to the 16th century, and an associated barn dated to
the 18th century but possibly earlier in part, both of which are Listed
Buildings Grade II, are excluded from the scheduling, as are all 19th century
and modern farm buildings and associated yards within the moated site, modern
track surfaces and paths, inspection chambers, service poles, and all fences
and gates, although the ground beneath all 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.

The moated site at Bleach Farm is a good example of a moat. The moat itself
survives intact, and although part of the central island is occupied by
modern buildings, the construction of which may have caused limited
disturbance to underlying deposits, the monument as a whole will retain
archaeological information concerning its construction and occupation during
the medieval and early post-medieval periods.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Clark, Z, Account of Charities in Norfolk, (1811)
Norfolk R O Ref PT13/13, Hatton, T, A Plan of an Estate in Wissett, (1769)

Source: Historic England

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