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Moated site at the vicarage of St Peter and St Paul's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Hoxne, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.3526 / 52°21'9"N

Longitude: 1.2006 / 1°12'2"E

OS Eastings: 618067.93488

OS Northings: 277546.736211

OS Grid: TM180775

Mapcode National: GBR VKL.JCH

Mapcode Global: VHL9G.R4LB

Entry Name: Moated site at the vicarage of St Peter and St Paul's Church

Scheduled Date: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020448

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30603

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Hoxne

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Hoxne St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a moated site adjacent to St Peter and St Paul's Church
at the northern end of the village of Hoxne. It has been suggested that this
was originally the site of the palace of the Bishops of Norwich in Hoxne,
although by the 14th century the palace was located within the New Park, on
the opposite side of the road which runs past the western side of the moat.

The moat, which ranges from about 7.5m to 12m in width and contains water,
borders the north and west sides of a rectangular central platform measuring
approximately 88m north-south by 55m, and continues around the south western
corner and along the northern part of the east side. The southern end of the
eastern side of the platform abuts the western boundary of the churchyard, and
the moat may never have extended the full length of that side, but it is
likely that it originally extended along the whole of the southern side and
that the infilled eastern part of the southern arm survives as a buried

The Vicarage, which is a Listed Building Grade II, dated in parts to the 15th
century and to the early to mid-16th century, stands near the centre of the
moated site.

There was a church in Hoxne, dedicated to St Ethelbert, before the
Conquest, and an episcopal see was established here following the
disruption of the Danish incursion in the later 9th century. Both the
church and the episcopal see are documented in the will of Bishop Theodred
of East Anglia and London, dated to around AD 950, in which he refers to
his `bishopric' in Hoxne. It is clear from the will that the church was a
minster, or mother church for a large area, served by a community of
priests, and the community of priests is referred to again in the will of
Bishop Aelfric in 1035-1038. The Domesday survey of 1086 confirms the
existence of the episcopal see before 1066 and records that it was within
a manor held by Bishop Aelfric before 1066 and by William, Bishop of
Thetford thereafter. It is probable that the minster was on the site of
the present church and the community of priests would have lived adjacent
to it. Bishop Herbert de Losinga gave the church to the monks of the
priory he founded at Norwich and, according to Blomefield, the 18th
century historian, the monks of the priory, which was subsequently founded
in Hoxne in the 12th century, were housed at first at the bishop's palace,
before removing to the precinct constructed around the chapel of St Edmund
about 1km to the south of the church. The size of the moated site, which
is larger than those usually associated with rectories, suggests that it
was of some importance and is consistent with it having been at one time
the site of the bishop's palace.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: the
Vicarage, all garden walls, fences, inspection chambers, service poles,
paving, yard surfaces and the surface of the driveway; however 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 The Vicarage survives well and will retain
archaeological evidence for its construction and subsequent occupation
during the medieval period. The possibility that it was originally
occupied by a bishop's palace and the likelihood that it also contains
evidence relating to an earlier Saxon minster gives the monument
particular interest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Evans, M C, 'Proc Suffolk Inst Archaeol' in The Contribution of Hoxne to the Cult of St Edmund, , Vol. 36 Pt 3, (1987), 183

Source: Historic England

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