Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Fairstead Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cowlinge, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.1601 / 52°9'36"N

Longitude: 0.5167 / 0°31'0"E

OS Eastings: 572245.086221

OS Northings: 254299.989893

OS Grid: TL722542

Mapcode National: GBR PDC.KG1

Mapcode Global: VHJGY.XY1Y

Entry Name: Moated site at Fairstead Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019802

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33305

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Cowlinge

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Cowlinge St Margaret of Antioch

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a medieval moated site at Fairstead Farm, approximately
750m to the south east of Cowlinge parish church.

The moated site includes a quadrangular island, measuring up to 94m north
west to south east by 68m north east to south west. The island is surrounded
by a partially water-filled moat measuring a maximum of 12m wide and up to 3m
deep. A small section of an inner bank, not more than 10m long and 4m wide, is
sited towards the south eastern end of the south western side of the island.
An outer bank along the north east side of the moat measures approximately 5m
wide and is thought to have been constructed with material dug from the moat.
A leat extends northwards for 10m from the north western corner of the moat
and a sluice across the leat controls the flow of water in and out of the
moat. Both the leat and sluice are included in the scheduling. A causeway
across the south west arm of the moat and a two-arched brick bridge across the
north arm are known to have been in use before 1846 and are believed to
represent the original access to the island. The causeway and the brick bridge
are both included in the scheduling. The western corner of the island is
revetted with modern brick. Immediately to the north of the causeway a stable
block and a brick outhouse abut the outer edge of the moat and concrete
revetting extends between these two buildings. The north west side of the
island is occupied by Fairstead Farm, a Listed Building Grade II dating to the
18th century or earlier.

Fairstead Farm is believed to have been named after a fair, granted at
Cowlinge in 1225. A rectangular open field on the west side of Fairstead Farm
is marked on Hodskinson's 1783 Map of Suffolk as `Fairstead' and recorded in
1846 as `Fair Green and Cow house hostery'.

Fairstead Farmhouse and its cellar, the garage, the stables and brick outhouse
on the outer edge of the south west arm of the moat and the interconnecting
revetting, all outhouses and sheds, the modern brick superstructure on the
bridge, other modern brick revetting, modern walls, fences, gates, together
with all modern man-made surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath all 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 at Fairstead Farm survives well. It remains largely
undisturbed by post-medieval and modern activity and will retain buried
evidence for structures and other features relating to the development and
character of the site throughout its periods of occupation. Buried soils
beneath the inner and outer banks are likely, also, to retain evidence for
earlier land use. The buried silts in the base of the moat will contain
artefacts relating to the period of occupation, and organic remains including
evidence for the local environment in the past are also likely to be present
in waterlogged deposits in the moat.

Comparisons between this site and further examples, both locally and more
widely, will provide valuable insights into the development and nature of
settlement in medieval England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Scarfe, N, 'An Historical Atlas of Suffolk' in Medieval and later fairs, (1988), 63
Title: Tithe Map of Cowlinge
Source Date: 1846

Source: Historic England

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