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Moated site and associated earthworks at Westend Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Willingham St. Mary, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.4115 / 52°24'41"N

Longitude: 1.566 / 1°33'57"E

OS Eastings: 642622.94145

OS Northings: 285257.649501

OS Grid: TM426852

Mapcode National: GBR XMZ.SW6

Mapcode Global: VHM6R.3N87

Entry Name: Moated site and associated earthworks at Westend Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 April 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018964

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30576

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Willingham St. Mary

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Shadingfield St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a moated site and adjacent earthworks which are
considered to mark the remains of an associated settlement. These are located
approximately 1.7km north west of St John the Baptist's Church and grouped
around what was formerly the north western end of Shadingfield Common,
enclosed at the beginning of the 19th century.

The moat, which ranges from about 3m to 7m in width and remains open to a
depth of about 1m, encloses the east, west and north sides and the south west
corner of a sub-rectangular central island with internal dimensions of
approximately 65m WSW-ENE by 52m. It is thought that originally it extended
along the south side and around the south east corner, and these parts,
although now completely infilled, will survive as buried features. The
eastern end of the northern arm of the moat has been enlarged externally to
form a sub-rectangular pond, and is crossed immediately to the west of this by
a causeway cut by a later, narrower ditch. Within the north eastern angle of
the moat and linked to it by the remains of a short channel is an internal
pond measuring approximately 15m north-south by 9m which was perhaps used for
conserving a stock of fish.

The settlement remains are to the west of the moat and include a complex of at
least seven small rectilinear enclosures bounded by partly infilled,
intersecting ditches, visible as linear hollows ranging in width from about 4m
to 7m and in depth from 0.25m to 0.75m. The enclosures vary in size from about
45m by 15m to at least 67m by 45m and have the appearance of tofts
(enclosures) and closes. The complex is bounded on the south western side by
the remains of a ditch which runs south east-north west across the south
western side of the modern field and was probably connected originally to the
southern arm of a second moated site, situated about 63m to the south east on
the north side of the former common. This moated site is the subject of a
separate scheduling. On the north eastern side of this boundary are two
enclosures separated by a long, narrow strip about 4m wide, possibly a ditched
causeway giving access to the other enclosures beyond. In the larger of the
two, to the south east, there are two shallow depressions marking the remains
of small sub-rectangular ponds which are linked by short channels to the
ditches on the north west and south east sides, and in the north western
corner of the same enclosure is a slightly raised area which may have
supported a building. The slight remains of another possible building platform
can be seen at the south eastern end of the adjoining smallest enclosure, near
the centre of the complex. The largest of the visible enclosures, at the
eastern extremity of the modern field, contains the remains of a third,
rectangular pond adjacent to the existing and probably post-medieval boundary
across its north western end. To the south west of the main earthwork complex,
on the strip of ground between the boundary ditch on that side and the modern
field boundary, is the site of a cottage which was owned by the parish and is
shown standing between two ponds on a map dated 1839. One of these ponds still
exists, and the site of the second is marked by a slight hollow in the ground
surface about 33m to the south east of it.

Westend Farmhouse and its associated outbuildings, summer house and greenhouse
which stand within the moated site, are excluded from the scheduling, together
with parts of farm buildings which overlie the south eastern corner of the
moat, garden walls, a raised flower bed adjacent to the house, clothes line
posts, supports for an oil tank, inspection chambers, a septic tank, modern
paving and the surfaces of paths and the driveway, drinking troughs, service
poles and fences and gates, although the ground beneath all these features is

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 greater part of the moated site and associated earthworks at Westend Farm
survive well. The moat and buried deposits on the central island will contain
archaeological information concerning the construction and occupation of the
site during the medieval and post-medieval periods. Organic materials,
including evidence for the local environment in the past, are also likely to
be preserved in the waterlogged deposits in the lower fill of the moat. The
associated earthworks display no evidence of recent disturbance and, together
with the moat, are considered to represent the remains of part of a small
greenside hamlet, of a type characteristic in this part of Suffolk, where
dispersed settlements, as opposed to nucleated villages, are common. The
monument as a whole, in association with the second moated site to the south
east, is of therefore of particular interest for the study of the historic
pattern of rural settlement in this region.

Source: Historic England


CUCAP BEQ 75, 77, (1971)
Title: Map of Suffolk
Source Date: 1783

Title: Shadingfield: Tithe Map and Apportionment
Source Date: 1840
Suffolk RO Ref FDA 212/A1/1

Source: Historic England

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