Ancient Monuments

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Moat Yards moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Westhall, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.3787 / 52°22'43"N

Longitude: 1.5396 / 1°32'22"E

OS Eastings: 641007.100133

OS Northings: 281523.999545

OS Grid: TM410815

Mapcode National: GBR XNB.S2Z

Mapcode Global: VHM6X.MGTV

Entry Name: Moat Yards moated site

Scheduled Date: 12 February 1960

Last Amended: 24 April 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020712

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30573

County: Suffolk

Civil Parish: Westhall

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Westhall St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich


The monument includes a moated site and the buried remains of part of an
associated outer enclosure, located on the south side of Mill Common. The
inner moat, which is approximately 15m wide on the north and east sides,
narrowing to 10m on the south, remains open to a depth of about 1.6m and
is wet in the southern part. It surrounds a central platform raised up to
0.7m above the prevailing ground level and measuring approximately
53 sq m. A dished causeway about 7m wide which provides access to the
interior across the southern arm of the moat is probably not an original
The inner moat is partly surrounded by a second moat about 12m wide which
has been infilled but will survive as a buried feature. The northern arm
of this outer moat ran parallel to the northern arm of the inner moat and
about 15m from it, and the buried remains of the part of this feature
which lies opposite the inner moat, together with the ground between, are
included in the scheduling.
Moat Yards was probably the site of a medieval manor house. Four such
manors are recorded in Westhorpe, all of which were united under one
ownership in the 16th century.

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 inner moat of Moat Yards moated site survives well and, although the
surface of the central platform has been disturbed by cultivation, the
monument as a whole, including the fill of both the inner moat and the
section of the buried outer moat which is included in the scheduling, will
retain archaeological information concerning their construction and
subsequent occupation during the medieval period. Organic materials,
including evidence for the local environment in the past, are also likely
to be preserved in the waterlogged deposits of the moat. The location of
the moat and outer enclosure on the edge of a village green gives the monument
additional interest.

Source: Historic England

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