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Moated site 230m and 110m north of All Saints Church

A Scheduled Monument in Newton by Castle Acre, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7077 / 52°42'27"N

Longitude: 0.7084 / 0°42'30"E

OS Eastings: 583067.145885

OS Northings: 315663.611902

OS Grid: TF830156

Mapcode National: GBR Q7C.CWN

Mapcode Global: WHKQP.V6HK

Entry Name: Moated site 230m and 110m north of All Saints Church

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019668

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30592

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Newton by Castle Acre

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Newton-by-Castle Acre All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a double moated site and associated ditched enclosures
in two separate areas of protection to either side of the modern course of the
River Nar. The former course of the river, which is recorded on an 18th
century map, can be seen as a slightly sinuous depression up to 12m wide
curving around the north and west sides of the moated site. On the north west
side of the old river course the ground rises in a steep scarp about 2m high.

The moat, which is in the first area of protection, is between 8m and 11m
wide. It surrounds a rectangular platform measuring about 56m south west-north
east by 42m and raised over 1m above the level of the ground to the north west
and south west, and extends to the north east of this around an adjoining,
smaller and roughly triangular island with maximum dimensions of 45m south
west-north east by 40m. The modern river, which divides the two areas of
protection and is not included in the scheduling, was diverted along the
southern arm of the moat at some time before 1839 and is shown in its present
course on the tithe map of that date. The rest of the moat is normally dry,
having become largely infilled. The ground between the moated site and the old
course of the river is low lying and subject to flooding, and along the north
western and south western arms of the moat there is a low external bank about
8m wide at the base. The remains of a narrow outlet channel run south
westwards from the western corner of the moat to the river at the point where
the old and modern courses converge.

Slight irregularities in the surface of both moated islands suggest the
presence of buried features, and at the western corner and on the south
eastern side of the smaller enclosure respectively there are low,
sub-rectangular mounds which are thought to mark the sites of buildings.

The second area, between the modern course of the river and the road to the
east, contains at least three rectangular enclosures divided by partly
infilled ditches which are visible as linear depressions of varying depth and
width, some more clearly visible from the air than on the ground. The largest
enclosure, measuring about 127m south west-north east by 79m, adjoins the
larger moated platform. It is bounded on the north western side by the
southern arm of the moat and by an extension of the southern arm which
projects south westwards for a distance of about 47m beyond the southern
corner of the moated platform. Along the north western side of this extension
there is also a well defined bank.

Adjoining the north east side of this large enclosure is a smaller enclosure
measuring approximately 67m north west-south east by 46m and containing a
shallow depression which probably marks the site of a pond with an overflow
channel to the river. The area between these two enclosures and the road is
bounded to the south west by the churchyard and to the north east by a
continuation of the ditch which marks the boundary of the smaller enclosure on
that side. The road here has been straightened and widened, but the former
line, curving to the east, is still visible. Aerial photographs taken before
the road was straightened show two parallel ditches about 16m apart running
from the road towards the moat, perhaps marking the edges of a drive or

In the tithe apportionment of 1840 the field containing these earthworks to
either side of the river is named as Hall Meadow, and it is thought that the
moated site is that of a medieval manor house. The manor house itself would
have stood on the larger moated platform, and the smaller moated island and
other enclosures would have contained associated outbuildings, farm buildings,
yards and gardens. At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, the manor of
Newton was a royal domain, farmed by a man named Godric. In the reign of King
John (1199-1216) Henry de Burgh, the King's chamberlain, was lord of the
manor. It was later purchased from John de Burgh by Baldwin de Caudewell, and
in the early 14th century passed by marriage to the le Leche family in whose
possession it remained into the second quarter of the 15th century. The site
was probably abandoned because of its low lying situation, and the present
manor house is located some 287m to the south east.

Service poles and the supports of a modern footbridge 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.

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 230m and 110m north of All Saints Church and its associated
ditched enclosures survive well, undisturbed by later building, and will
contain archaeological information concerning their construction and
occupation during the medieval period. In the fill of the moat and adjacent
ditches in the lower lying parts of the site there are likely to be
waterlogged deposits in which organic materials, including evidence for the
local environment in the past will be preserved. Evidence for earlier land use
is also likely to be preserved in buried soils beneath the raised platform and
the banks associated with the moat. The proximity of the moated site to the
parish church, which is often a feature of manorial sites, gives the monument
additional interest, particularly as the church is of Saxon date.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk, (1807)
Edwards, D, NAU TF 8315/B, (1977)
Edwards, D, NAU TF 8315/P, (1984)
Edwards, D, NAU TF 8315/W, (1991)
RAF 3G TUD UK 100, (1946)
Title: Castle Acre Estate Map
Source Date: 1769
NRO ref. MS 20658 308x2 (photocopy)
Title: Newton by Castle Acre: Tithe Map
Source Date: 1839
NRO ref. DN/TA 238

Source: Historic England

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