Ancient Monuments

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Moated site in Gelham's Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Kimberley, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.6055 / 52°36'19"N

Longitude: 1.0856 / 1°5'8"E

OS Eastings: 609031.560312

OS Northings: 305328.028087

OS Grid: TG090053

Mapcode National: GBR TF0.R7Z

Mapcode Global: WHLSD.NR4X

Entry Name: Moated site in Gelham's Wood

Scheduled Date: 13 October 1954

Last Amended: 12 March 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020857

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30623

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Kimberley

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Carlton Forehoe St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a medieval moated site with inner and outer enclosures,
located on the north side of Kimberley Park alongside the River Tiffey, which
runs some 10m to the south east. It is identified as the site of Gelham's
manor which, at the time of the Conquest, was held by St Benet's Abbey.
The abbey granted it to the Gelham family for the service of 30 shillings
a year, and the Gelhams held it until the late 15th century. Around 1521
it was sold to Sir Thomas Wodehouse and was joined with the Wodehouse
estate in the adjoining township of Kimberley.

The inner moat, which is now dry, is open to a depth of around 1m and is
between 10m and 13m in width. It surrounds a rectangular central platform
measuring approximately 40m north west-south east by 34m, and a fragment of
upstanding flint masonry, about 0.6m high, marks the northern corner of a
building which occupied the centre of the platform. Further evidence for this
building will survive below the ground surface. Access to the interior is
provided by a wide causeway across the south western arm of the moat.

The inner moat is located roughly centrally within a much larger, sub-
rectangular enclosure with internal dimensions of approximately 230m north
east-south west by 73m. This outer enclosure is surrounded by a second moat
open to a depth of up to 1.3m and ranging from 7m to 10m in width, with a
smaller enclosure adjoining it to the south west. The smaller enclosure is
defined on the south east and south west sides by an extension of the south
eastern arm of the moat from the southern corner of the larger enclosure, and
has internal dimensions of about 80m north west-south east by 60m. Within
the main outer enclosure, about 17m to the south west of the inner moat
and opposite the causeway entrance, there is a sub-rectangular depression
about 1m deep, 10m wide and 30m in length, which extends north westwards from
the south eastern arm of the outer moat. This was probably a pond, perhaps
constructed for the conservation of fish.

Two linear depressions running south eastwards and south westwards from the
eastern angle of the outer moat appear to be the remains respectively of an
inlet channel to carry water from springs to the north east, and an outlet
channel to the river, both probably controlled by sluices.

All modern fences and a brick wall running along the outer lip of the north
western arm of the outer moat are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath 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 in Gelham's Wood survives well, with a variety of associated
features including evidence for a substantial masonry building. The
identification of the monument as the site of a medieval manor, supported by
documentary evidence, gives it additional interest. The lower fills of the
moats and buried deposits within the enclosures will contain archaeological
information concerning the construction of the manorial site, the buildings
within it and its occupation during the medieval period. It is one of several
surviving manorial sites in the vicinity which became incorporated into the
Wodehouse estate and, as a group, these will contribute to an understanding of
the social and economic history of the medieval period in this area of

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, (1805)

Source: Historic England

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