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Scadbury Manor moated site and fishponds

A Scheduled Monument in Chislehurst, Bromley

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Latitude: 51.4109 / 51°24'39"N

Longitude: 0.0974 / 0°5'50"E

OS Eastings: 545962.028232

OS Northings: 170073.027255

OS Grid: TQ459700

Mapcode National: GBR PJ.Z33

Mapcode Global: VHHNY.MSVS

Entry Name: Scadbury Manor moated site and fishponds

Scheduled Date: 22 November 2013

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1409786

County: Bromley

Electoral Ward/Division: Chislehurst

Built-Up Area: Bromley

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Chislehurst St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


The monument includes Scadbury Manor moated site including its island, moat, fishponds and the land enclosed by the eastern embankment.

Source: Historic England


The scheduled area includes the moated site with evidence of C13 occupation and the remains of a Tudor manor house on its island, the earthwork and moat inlet on the outer west side of the moat, the earthwork which leads around the northern edge of the moat with a return on its east side, the eastern embankment and two fish ponds to the east of the moated site.

Moated site
The moated site lies on the west side of the Cray valley, about 1,500m west of the River Cray. The island of the moated site slopes gently from west to east, and excavation has shown that this slope was levelled into three terraces some time after the C12 or C13.

The moated site, including the moat, measures about 76m east-west by about 50m north-south. The moat is not a regular shape; it is between 7m and 8m wide with its east arm extended to 17m wide. The moat is 2m deep on the east side and about 0.5m elsewhere. The outer side of the moat is clad in brick and cement with an outer bank some 1.5m high on its west side. There is a cylindrical moat inlet, composed of chalk blocks and about 2m deep, which abuts the western side of the bridge position. The island, which is about 51m x 37m, contains the brick remains of a Tudor manor house which was demolished in the C18. Much of the remaining Tudor brickwork is capped by brick added in the 1920s or 1930s as a partial reconstruction and conservation measure. The brickwork stands to various heights with original fabric mixed with the 1920s or 1930s additions. Upstanding brickwork including a chimney and pillars/piers mark the position of the hall. On the north side of the island is a barrel-roofed cellar and the foundations of the parlour. On the south side of the island the outer wall of the mansion stands to between 1 and 2m high mostly capped by later brickwork. At the western side of the island the outer brick wall, composed of Tudor and modern brick, stands to about 0.8m with original internal buttresses. Here the position of the former drawbridge and the brick foundations of the gatehouse are visible. In the centre of the island are the foundations of the hall, a ruined brick cellar and the kitchen area. To the north-east side of the island is a gabled timber building which is a modern apple store thought to date from c1928; it is excluded from the scheduled area, although the ground beneath is included.

A slight earthwork up to 0.5m high leads from the north of the moat outer edge with a return on the east side. There is an extensive eastern embankment, about 20m wide west-east with a level top, composed of made ground, which slopes down to the east for about another 15m.

The two lozenge-shaped fishponds lie about 90m to the east of the centre of the moated site. They are aligned north-south. The northern pond is 45m long and that to the south is 32m long, both are 12m wide at their widest point. Although their edges are overgrown with dense vegetation, the ponds are quite regular, and are consistent with a flight of medieval fishponds. There is a slight return to the west at the south end of the southern pond which is shown on the 1894 Ordnance Survey map. Both this and the subsequent 1897 map show that the ponds extended further west from their present-day extent, with the 1897 map also showing the ponds to have been embanked.

Excavation results
The first excavations on the island were carried out by Hugh Marsham-Townshend between 1925 and 1930. He cleared the island of vegetation, excavated some areas and laid courses of bricks on insecure earlier brickwork. There are no detailed records of his work except a plan of the foundations and it is thought that much archaeological information has been lost.

Excavations have been carried out from 1986 to 2007 by the Orpington and District Archaeological Society with the co-operation of the London Borough of Bromley. About 18% of the archaeology of the island has been sampled. This work has been carried out in three main areas; (i) on the west side of the island behind the western buttressed wall (ii) in the centre of the island between the kitchen and ruined cellar and (iii) to the east of the kitchen.

(i) Excavation results from the construction trench of the west wall indicate that it was built in the middle or later C15. Towards the south end of the wall and forming part of it are the almost intact foundations of a gatehouse.

(ii) The cellar in the centre of the island adjoins the east side of the hall. The cellar has modern brick walls, built on the lower part of an earlier wall, a modern stairway and cement floor. Outside the modern brick east wall of the cellar the base of three brick pilaster buttresses were found resting against the lower part of an earlier wall. At the south side of the cellar was what appeared to be a pillar base and a mass of brickwork dating to the C15 or C16 and about 10 courses high, which is thought to have been the base of a staircase tower adjacent to the hall. Slight traces of a barrel vaulted roof were found which were thought to have been a feature of the cellar. A smaller barrel-roofed cellar was also found abutting this cellar to the northwest. No dateable material was found in association with the cellar, but the nature and style of the brickwork is thought to have been C15, the same date as the west wall. To the south of the cellar, at the east wall of the hall, a trench was excavated belonging to an earlier phase of building which produced C13 pottery in its secondary fill. This drainage trench emptied into the moat at the east side of the island. A cistern lay alongside the trench on the east side of the island. A pebbly surface, thought to be an out-door walk or courtyard, sealed the ditch and spread to other parts of the central area of the island. One complete well and an incomplete unlined well were also found on the island and thought to date to the C16.

The south side of the hall is composed of a brick wall, part of the 1920s or 1930s reconstruction, laid on a few courses of C15-C16 brick enclosing a probable passage way thought to have been constructed in the 1920s or 1930s. The kitchen walls to the east of the hall are of 1920s or 1930s construction restored on the foundations of C15-C16 brickwork.

(iii) To the east of the kitchen excavation produced a continuation of the C13 trench and the cistern.

Roof tile thought to date from the early C13 was recovered from all parts of the excavation. The early bricks are in English bond with lime-sand mortar. There are a few overfired grey bricks with surface glaze similar to those used in part of the walled garden for diaper work. The composition of the bricks appears to show local firing.

Of the animal remains found during excavation: cattle bones were predominant with sheep/goat, pig, horse and deer. Also present were bird and fish bones. Oyster shells were numerous suggesting that they were a significant part of the diet while mussel shells were less common and very few examples of cockle and whelks. A few bones of cat and dogs were also found.

The scheduling is intended to provide protection for the moat, its island and the standing brickwork on the island, the earthworks at the outer edge of the moat including the moat inlet, the eastern enclosure and the fishponds.

The scheduled area encloses the outer edge of the moat, including the outer banks, and then extends eastwards to encompass the full extent of the eastern enclosure and the fishponds. The monument has a maximum width east-west of 154m and a maximum length north-south of 100m including a 5m margin for maintenance and protection of the monument.

The apple store, all roads, paths and their make-up are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The moated site and fishponds at Scadbury Manor are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: the island and moat survive well; the island containing archaeological features and the moat containing water on four sides. The fishponds are water-filled and survive well with their archaeological deposits intact;
* Potential: although a small percentage of the features on the island have been excavated, this excavation has also shown the potential for more archaeological information to be recovered. The fishponds and moat retain silt deposits containing archaeological information and environmental evidence about the moated site and fishponds and the landscape in which they were constructed;
* Historical evidence: there is a considerable body of historical information relating to the site and to the Walsingham family who were its owners from the C15 to C17;
* Diversity: many components of a classic moated site are present and it is a good example of its type;
* Group value: the moated site and fishponds relate to each other and to contemporary buildings in the vicinity.

Source: Historic England


Alan Hart, Michael Meekums, Valerie Satterthwaite, Scadbury Moated Manor: an Interim Review.,
Excavations at Scadbury Parts 1-5 by Alan Hart published by the Orpington and District Archaeological Society,
Scadbury Manor and its History and Archaeology. Published by the Orpington and District Archaeologial Society,

Source: Historic England

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