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Moated site immediately south east of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Brome and Oakley, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.3439 / 52°20'38"N

Longitude: 1.149 / 1°8'56"E

OS Eastings: 614595.90528

OS Northings: 276427.918954

OS Grid: TM145764

Mapcode National: GBR TJD.3B0

Mapcode Global: VHL9F.VCS0

Entry Name: Moated site immediately south east of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 15 April 1980

Last Amended: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019674

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30600

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Brome and Oakley

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Brome St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a moated site next to the south east boundary of St
Mary's churchyard. A second moated site about 25m to the north east was
excavated and levelled in 1967 and is not included.

The moat, which is wet and open to a depth of about 1m, ranges from
approximately 8m to 10m in width and surrounds a central island with internal
dimensions of about 54m NNW-SSE by 27m. From the south east corner an outlet
approximately 6m wide and 20m in length extends eastwards to connect with a
field drain. The northern arm of the moat is bordered by an external bank
about 1.3m high and 8m wide at the eastern end, spreading to 14m in width at
the lower, western end. The northern end of the western arm has been enlarged
externally to a width of up to 14m to create what was probably a horse pond,
and a causeway to the south of this, giving access to the central island, is
also a post-medieval feature.

An external pond approximately 49m in length and up to 18m wide adjoins the
eastern arm of the moat. It is connected to the eastern arm by a channel about
5m long and 6m wide, and a partly silted outlet channel issues from the
southern end into the outlet from the south east corner of the moat. The pond
was probably constructed originally for the conservation of a stock of fish
for domestic consumption.

The excavation of the moated site to the north east revealed evidence for a
timber aisled hall occupied from the late 12th to the early 14th century and
probably contemporary in its origins with the moat which surrounded it. This
was identified as the probable site of Davillers manor, an interpretation
supported by the evidence of a map made in 1726 which records the name of a
field to the east of the two moats as Davellers. The manor was held by Hugh de
Avilers in the time of William the Conqueror and remained in the family until
the death of Bartholomew Davillers, the last in the male line, in 1331, after
which it passed to his daughters and their heirs. The date fits that of the
evidence for the abandonment of the north western moated site. It is probable
that the surviving moated site was part of the same manor and may have been
occupied by bailiffs of the lord of the manor up to the mid-16th century, when
the manor passed to Sir Thomas Cornwallis. No house remained on it in 1664,
however, when the field which contained both moated sites was described as a
`meadow' and `grove'.

Modern fence posts and a beam which serves as a bridge across the northern arm
of the moat are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them
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 immediately south east of St Mary's Church survives well and
the moat, external bank and deposits on the central island will contain
archaeological information concerning its original construction and occupation
during the medieval period. Organic materials, including evidence for the
local environment in the past, are also likely to be preserved in waterlogged
deposits in the moat and external pond. The association with an adjacent
moated site which has been demonstrated by excavation to have been the site of
a medieval hall gives the monument additional interest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
West, S E, 'J Brit Archaeol Assoc' in Brome, Suffolk: The Excavation of a Moated Site, 1967, , Vol. 33, (1970), 89-121

Source: Historic England

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