Ancient Monuments

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Gisleham Manor moated site, 400m south west of White House Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Gisleham, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.4316 / 52°25'53"N

Longitude: 1.6965 / 1°41'47"E

OS Eastings: 651378.805348

OS Northings: 287944.13917

OS Grid: TM513879

Mapcode National: GBR YV3.HQR

Mapcode Global: VHM6T.C47R

Entry Name: Gisleham Manor moated site, 400m south west of White House Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018967

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30579

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Gisleham

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Gisleham Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the double moated site of Gisleham Manor, located about
550m south of Holy Trinity Church and adjoining what was at one time the
northern edge of Gisleham Common, enclosed in 1799. The two moats are roughly
concentric and surround rectangular enclosures, the overall dimensions being
approximately 175m WSW-ENE by 157m. The inner moat is water-filled and ranges
in width from 8m to 12m on the north, west and east sides and up to 18m on the
south side, where it has been enlarged externally to create a horse pond. It
surrounds a rectangular central platform measuring approximately 41m NNW-SSE
by 36m WSW-ENE internally which is understood to be the site of the medieval
manor house and is raised about 1m above the prevailing ground level. Rubble
from a building or buildings was recorded on the surface of the platform in
the 1970s when the area was under cultivation. A causeway across the south
eastern corner of the moat provides access to the interior but is probably not
an original feature. According to the local historian, Suckling, the
foundations of a drawbridge were removed around 1794 and two metal balls
engraved with coats of arms found beneath the timbers.

The outer enclosure which surrounds the inner moat has internal dimensions of
approximately 161m WSW by 144m and is bounded by a partly silted moat
measuring around 6m in width and open to a depth of up to 1.8m. Trenches
excavated across the southern end of the western arm and the eastern end of
the southern arm have demonstrated that the full depth is approximately 2.6m
and produced fragments of pottery which provide evidence for occupation during
the medieval period. The house and associated buildings of Manor Farm, now
demolished, occupied an area on the south side of this enclosure and extended
across the line of the southern arm of the outer moat where it is thought to
have been infilled. This infilled section will, however, survive as a buried
feature and is included in the scheduling. The farmhouse appeared externally
to be of late 18th or early 19th century date, but the rear wall incorporated
timbers of a 16th or 17th century building which may have replaced the central
medieval manor house. A short length of flint walling which adjoined the north
west corner of the house and is thought to be of early date still stands and
is included in the scheduling.

Gisleham Hall manor is recorded from the 13th century onwards and the lordship
was held by a number of families in succession. In 1282 it was held by William
de Gisleham and in 1311 by Sir Edmund de Hemegrave. By 1356 it was vested in
Sir John de Ulveston, and subsequently passed to Sir William Argentein (died
1418) and then to Thomas Latymer. From the early 16th to the mid-17th century
it was held by the Hobart family, and in 1749 came by marriage to Richmond
Garneys. Suckling recorded that the tenant in the early 19th century
remembered manorial courts being held on the site, though these were
subsequently adjourned to the Hall (now Hall Farm).

A barn which stands to the east of the inner moat, all fence and gateposts and
the surface of a track 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.

The moated site of Gisleham Manor, with its two concentric moats, is a good
example of a comparatively rare type within this class of monument and,
although it has undergone some superficial disturbance as a result of
cultivation in the past, it will retain archaeological information concerning
its construction and occupation during the medieval and post-medieval
periods, including details of the house which stood on the central platform.
Organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past,
are likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the outer moat, and it
is probable that buried soils beneath the raised surface of the central
platform will provide evidence, also, for land use predating the construction
of the moat.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Suckling, A, History and Antiquities of Suffolk, (1848), 243-245
Durbidge, P, 'Lowestoft Archaeol & Local Hist Soc Annual Report' in A Moated Site at Gisleham, Suffolk, , Vol. 19, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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