Ancient Monuments

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Moated site 530m north east of Manor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Colkirk, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7963 / 52°47'46"N

Longitude: 0.8637 / 0°51'49"E

OS Eastings: 593164.672199

OS Northings: 325930.166718

OS Grid: TF931259

Mapcode National: GBR R7R.P61

Mapcode Global: WHLRB.7ZJ4

Entry Name: Moated site 530m north east of Manor Farm

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020790

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35067

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Colkirk

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Colkirk with Oxwick with Pattesley St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a medieval moated site located approximately 530m
north east of Manor Farm. In 1086 land at Colkirk was in the possession of
Bishop of Thetford, William de Beaufoe, and from an early stage was held
by the de Colkirk family. In the 12th century it passed by marriage to
Roger de St Denys and subsequently to the de la Rokeles. In the 14th
century it was held by the Baynards and descended, by marriage, through
the Tilney and Bourchier families to the Knevets in the 16th century. The
site is said to have been occupied by a hall which was abandoned in the
mid-16th century.
The moated platform, or island, is sub-circular in plan, measuring
approximately 62m north-south by 50m, and the northern end is raised up to
1m above the surrounding ground level. It is surrounded by a moat which
measures up to 10m wide and open to a depth of 2m and is partly
water-filled. A low earthen causeway, measuring about 3m in width, crosses
the western arm of the moat and is thought to indicate the position of an
original access point. An east-west linear cropmark, visible on aerial
photographs, is believed to mark the line of a former road leading towards
the causeway. The cropmark feature is not included in the scheduling.
Two sub-rectangular external ponds, interpreted as adjacent fishponds,
are connected to the moat at the north east corner. The northern of the
two is linked to the moat by a short channel which perhaps contained a
sluice to control the flow of water, and the second, to the south of this,
opens directly into the moat. The two ponds are separated by a low
east-west baulk about 1.5m wide, and together occupy an area measuring
approximately 30m north-south by 20m.
A dry hollow and associated inlet channels, thought to be the remains of
another fishpond and water management system, lie adjacent to the north
west corner of the moat. The hollow is rhomboidal in plan, measuring 5m by
3m and up to 2m deep. Its longest side lies parallel to the moat,
separated from it by a 1.5m wide earthen bank. The two inlet channels,
separated by a mound, issue into the north east and north west corners of
the hollow.
All fence posts 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.

Fishponds are an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater
constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to
provide a constant and sustainable food supply. Groups of up to twelve
ponds variously arranged in a single line or in a cluster joined by leats
have been recorded. Fishponds were maintained by a water management system
which included inlet and outlet channels. The tradition of constructing
and using fishponds in England began during the medieval period and peaked
in the 12th century and they were largely built by the wealthy sectors of
The moated site and associated ponds 530m north east of Manor Farm survive
well as a series of earthwork and buried deposits. The buried remains will
include archaeological information concerning the construction of the
moat, the layout and construction of buildings which stood on the island
and activities relating to its occupation. Waterlogged deposits in the
moat and ponds will preserve organic remains (such as timber, leather and
seeds) which will give an insight into the domestic and economic activity
on the site and the local environment in the past. Evidence for earlier
land use is also likely to be preserved in soils buried beneath the
artificially raised platform.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk , (1808)
Norfolk SMR, NF11373, (2001)
Norfolk SMR, NF7122, (2001)

Source: Historic England

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