Exploring Kent's Past

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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 73 NW 2
Type of record:Monument
Name:Homestead moat, Share Farm, Horsmonden

Summary

A very well preserved example of a double concentric homestead moat located in a natural defensive position within the fork of two streams. The moat has a causeway entrance on its west side and is scheduled as an ancient monument. Previously thought to be Saxon, it is now thought there is little evidence to confirm this. Some cottages reportedly stood within the moat in the 18th century. During a watching brief on the laying of a pipeline in 1995 glazed brick wasters and iron slag were found: this was seen as indicative of a possible post-medieval brickworks and wealden iron site elsewhere in the area.


Grid Reference:TQ 7156 3927
Map Sheet:TQ73NW
Parish:HORSMONDEN, TUNBRIDGE WELLS, KENT

Monument Types

  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1017546: MEDIEVAL MOATED SITE AT SHARE FARM

Full description

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[TQ 71563924] Moats [NR] (1) Double concentric moats at Share Farm, Horsmonden. The site is further strengthened by its being placed within the fork of two streams which almost enclose it. The stongly defensive nature of the site suggests a possible late-Saxon date, Scheduled. (2,3,4) A homestead moat, as described above, now dry, but well preserved. It can be compared in plan, though it is smaller, with the 14th c. fortified manor house site of La Mote near Iden, Rye [Sussex 32 SW 1] There seems to be nothing to suggest that it is Saxon. Resurveyed at 1:2500. (5) TQ 715393. A moat at Share Farm, Horsmonden is listed in the County checklist of moated sites in Kent - December 1979. (6) General listing. (7) An exceptionally good example of a medieval homestead most, with two complete concentric moats, (with entrance causeway on the west) and the streams forming a third, for which the western back water has clearly been deliberately widened. The inner ditches are now dry. Situated on an open meadow and perfectly preserved. Some cottages stood within the moat in the 18th centuy. (8) TQ 715392 Scheduled listing Kent 138. (9) Watching Brief during pipe laying 1.5m S of the site on 31/3/95. Trench cut through filled inlet ditch to moat still visible as slight earthwork depression curving accross the field to S of the moat. Ditch 1.3m deep and 2.5m wide at top, tapering down. Local resident recalled ditch having been backfilled some 35 years before (12). 75m from the moat the infilled ditch joins a meandering stream stillcarrying water. Glazed brick wasters and iron slag also found in trench indicating a possible post-med brickworks and wealden iron site elsewhere in the area. (10)

From the National Heritage List for England
Details
On flat ground to the east of Share Farm is a square double-moated enclosure with further natural barriers in the form of watercourses on both east and west sides. The moats are now almost dry, but would originally have formed wide slow-moving water courses. The monument includes the entire area between the outer water courses. Moated sites are generally seen as prestigious residences of the Lords of the Manor. The moat marked the high status of the occupier of the site, but also served to deter casual raiders and wild animals. Most moats were constructed between 1250 and 1350, and it is to this period that the example at Share Farm is likely to date. The position of bridges which provided access onto the moat island is indicated by embankments at the mid-point of the western moat arms. The water in the inner and outer moats appears to have been kept separate, perhaps so that the outer moat could act as a fishpond without risk of contamination from the rubbish and sewage which was probably thrown into the inner moat. With a relatively small central island on which to build, it is considered likely that the area to the north of the artificial moats was also used for stables and other purposes. For these buildings the water channels on both sides and formerly to the south as well would have acted as a natural moat.

Reasons for Designation
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 Share Farm is a particularly informative example. It is in an excellent state of preservation, with many of the slight earthworks which illustrate the manner of water management at the site still visible, and hence displays a considerable diversity of individual components. The archaeological potential of the site is great, since the continued waterlogging of the moat provides excellent conditions for the preservation of normally perishable artefacts, and also of evidence from seeds and pollen of the environment and economy of the site while it was in use.


<1> OS Card / NAR index entry, OS 6" 1961 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<2> OS Card / NAR index entry, Earthwork of England 1908 85-6 (A H Allcroft) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<3> OS Card / NAR index entry, VCH Kent 1 1908 427-8 plan (I Gould) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<4> OS Card / NAR index entry, AMs England and Wales 1958 47 (MOW) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<5> OS Card / NAR index entry, F1 ASP 25-OCT-62 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<6> OS Card / NAR index entry, Moated Sites Res Group Rep no 6 1979 47 (ed C J Bond) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<7> OS Card / NAR index entry, Arch Cant 93 1977 221 (T Tatton Brown) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<8> OS Card / NAR index entry, DOE (IAM) 1986 Record Form (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<9> OS Card / NAR index entry, DOE (IAM) SAMS 1988 Kent 25 (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<10> Field report for monument TQ 73 NW 2 - October, 1962 (Bibliographic reference). SKE3707.


<11> OS Card / NAR index entry, Allen, T 'Watching Brief Report for English Heritage' (31/3/95) Canterbury Arch Trust (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<12> Tim Allen, 1995, Pipe laying works at the moated site at Shore Farm, Brick Kilm Lane, Horsemonden, Kent (Unpublished document). SKE6642.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. OS 6" 1961.
<2>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Earthwork of England 1908 85-6 (A H Allcroft).
<3>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. VCH Kent 1 1908 427-8 plan (I Gould).
<4>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. AMs England and Wales 1958 47 (MOW).
<5>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. F1 ASP 25-OCT-62.
<6>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Moated Sites Res Group Rep no 6 1979 47 (ed C J Bond).
<7>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Arch Cant 93 1977 221 (T Tatton Brown).
<8>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. DOE (IAM) 1986 Record Form.
<9>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. DOE (IAM) SAMS 1988 Kent 25.
<10>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 73 NW 2 - October, 1962.
<11>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. Allen, T 'Watching Brief Report for English Heritage' (31/3/95) Canterbury Arch Trust.
<12>Unpublished document: Tim Allen. 1995. Pipe laying works at the moated site at Shore Farm, Brick Kilm Lane, Horsemonden, Kent.
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