Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Great Wilsey Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Little Wratting, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.089 / 52°5'20"N

Longitude: 0.4618 / 0°27'42"E

OS Eastings: 568758.567268

OS Northings: 246269.995171

OS Grid: TL687462

Mapcode National: GBR PF2.X6D

Mapcode Global: VHJH9.YRJD

Entry Name: Moated site at Great Wilsey Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020175

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33287

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Little Wratting

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Little Wratting St Mary

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a medieval moated site at Great Wilsey Farm lying
approximately 370m north of a tributary of the River Stour. The moat is
thought to represent the site of Wilsey Hall Manor which was owned by Gilbert
de Clare in the first half of the 12th century. In the 16th century the manor
was held by amongst others, Robert Cornewall, Sir Giles Alington, Henry Turner
and family and John Skinner, who in 1601 sold it to William Smythe. It is
thought that a house on the island was replaced in the 17th century by a house
immediately to the east of the moated site and this in turn was demolished in
the 1960s and replaced by the present Great Wilsey Farmhouse.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island measuring up to 46m
north east-south west by 38m north west-south east which is raised up to 1m
above the surrounding ground surface. The island is enclosed by a water-filled
moat which measures up to 14m wide and is more than 1.5m deep. The island is
approached by a modern footbridge across the south east arm of the moat.

A number of the features are excluded from the scheduling, these are:
telephone and electricity poles, the made-up surface of the road, the bridge
across the south east arm of the moat and a modern brick feature cut into the
outer edge of the moat's southern corner. The ground beneath all these
features is, however, 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 Great Wilsey Farm survives well. The island remains largely
undisturbed by modern activity and will retain buried evidence for structures
and other features relating to its period of occupation. In addition, the
buried soils beneath the raised platform of the central island are likely to
retain evidence for earlier land use.

Comparison between this site and others, both locally and more widely, will
provide valuable insights into the nature of settlement and society in the
medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Copinger, W, 'The Manors of Suffolk' in Wilsey Hall Manor, , Vol. V, (1909), 319
Title: The Tithe Map and Apportionment of Little Wratting
Source Date: 1843
SRO(Bury): T101/1,2

Source: Historic England

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