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Moated site at Gayton Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Gayton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7405 / 52°44'25"N

Longitude: 0.5625 / 0°33'45"E

OS Eastings: 573085.730834

OS Northings: 318955.977352

OS Grid: TF730189

Mapcode National: GBR P5G.50Z

Mapcode Global: WHKQF.MC2W

Entry Name: Moated site at Gayton Hall

Scheduled Date: 18 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019329

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30581

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Gayton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk


The monument includes a moated site located approximately 21m to the south
west of Gayton Hall, at the south eastern end of Gayton village. The moat,
which is between 8m and 10m wide and water-filled, surrounds a roughly
rectangular central island measuring approximately 50m WSW-ENE by 40m. On a
map dated 1726 two rectangular fishponds are shown in line westwards from the
south west corner of the moat, with a stream named Gayton River which rises in
Springhead Plantation, about 280m to the south east, running some 12m to the
south of the southern arm of the moat and the ponds and roughly parallel to
them. The stream and ponds were landscaped at the beginning of the 19th
century to form a serpentine water feature, and the site of the ponds is not
included in the scheduling. The southern arm of the moat is joined to this
landscaped water feature at its south western and south eastern corners, but
much of the original strip of land which lay between the moat and adjacent
pond and the original stream to the south of them is preserved in the form of
two linear islands, one of which marks the outer edge of the southern arm of
the moat, and the moated site otherwise shows little alteration from its
appearance in the early 18th century.

It is probable that the moat was occupied by a medieval manor house. On the
early 18th century map and in an accompanying field book the moated site is
shown and described within an enclosure named as Abbots, which provides
evidence of a link between the moat and a manor known as Gayton Abbots,
Wendling Abbots or Wendlings. This manor was held by Wendling Abbey before the
Dissolution of the Monasteries, and after the Dissolution was vested in the
Crown. In 1572 it was granted by Elizabeth I to Thomas Jennyns and Edward
Forth, and in 1609 it was granted by James I to Sir Edmund Mundeford, who sold
it to Samson Hopes in 1619. Subsequently it was joined with Gayton or Egerton
manor, which in 1726 was in the ownership of Robert Iacomb. The manor house of
the combined manors at that time was Gayton Hall (now Hall Farm), which had
been built around 1587, about 66m to the north. The building now known as
Gayton Hall was built as a shooting box at the beginning of the 19th century.

A summer house on the central island, a rustic bridge supported on modern
concrete and brick abutments and a modern fence adjacent to the outer edge of
the northern arm of the moat 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 at Gayton Hall survives as a well preserved example of this
class of medieval monument. The moat itself has been altered very little by
the landscaping of the adjacent stream and ponds and will retain evidence of
its original construction. Buried deposits on the central island, which
remains largely undisturbed by modern activity, will contain archaeological
information concerning its occupation and use during the medieval period. The
monument has additional interest in relation to two other medieval sites which
survive in Gayton, the remains of a house and associated garden and an area of
medieval settlement, which are the subject of separate schedulings.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk , (1808), 432
Cutting, W A, Gleanings about Gayton in the Olden Time, (1889)
NRO Ref BIR 190 398x, Field book, (1726)
Title: Map of Gayton
Source Date: 1726
NRO Ref BL41/4

Source: Historic England

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