Ancient Monuments

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Woodrising Hall moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Cranworth, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.5845 / 52°35'4"N

Longitude: 0.938 / 0°56'16"E

OS Eastings: 599137.549432

OS Northings: 302575.675062

OS Grid: TF991025

Mapcode National: GBR SCP.XNC

Mapcode Global: WHLSJ.C9XH

Entry Name: Woodrising Hall moated site

Scheduled Date: 3 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020644

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35058

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Cranworth

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Woodrising St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a late medieval moated site located at Woodrising
Hall. The moat lies at the western edge of the former Woodrising parish,
now part of Cranworth.

In 1086 land in Woodrising, previously in the possession of Alveva, was
held by William of Warenne. A family, taking the name de Rising, held the
land under Earl Warren and in the latter part of the 15th century it
passed to the Southwells. During the 16th century the Southwell family
established their seat at Woodrising Hall, said to have been constructed
with material from Letton church. The land passed to the Weylands in the
18th century when a house, replacing the 16th century hall, was built
adjacent to the moated site. The present Woodrising Hall, which was built
in the 1960s on the site of the 18th century house, is not included in the

The moated island is believed to be the site of the 16th century hall,
evidence for which, in the form of foundations or buried foundation
trenches, is likely to survive below the ground surface. The island is
square in plan, measuring approximately 50m in width, and is slightly
raised above the surrounding ground level. A water-filled moat, measuring
approximately 6m in width, encloses the island. An 18th century brick arched
bridge across the north arm of the moat provides access to the island and
probably incorporates remains of an earlier bridge associated with the
16th century hall, it is included in the scheduling.

Water is provided via an inlet, marked by a metal chute, on the east arm of
the moat, and an outlet, controlled by a sluice, is located close to the north
west corner of the moat.

The chute and sluice, together with a concrete mooring on the north 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.
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 Woodrising Hall survives well as a series of earthwork and
buried deposits, despite some superficial disturbance including
activities during World War II, when parts of the island may have been
used to conceal munitions. The buried remains will include archaeological
information concerning the construction of the moat, the layout and
construction of the building which stood on the island and activities
relating to its occupation. Evidence for earlier land use, predating the
construction of the 16th century hall, is also likely to be preserved in
soils buried beneath the artificially raised ground. Woodrising Hall was
associated with a late medieval deer park, and Elizabeth I is said to
have stopped at the hall, giving added interest to the monument.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, Essay Towards a Topographical History of Norfolk Volume 10, (1809)
Brown, P (ed), Doomsday Book: Norfolk, (1984)
Davison, A, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in Six Deserted Villages in Norfolk, , Vol. 44, (1988)
Norfolk SMR, NF8825, (2000)
Title: Woodrising Tithe Apportionment and Map, DN/TA 71
Source Date: 1839

Source: Historic England

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