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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 74 SE 1
Type of record:Monument
Name:Castle Bank,Staplehurst


Remains of a medieval moot and its surrounding quarry ditch located near Knox Bridge. The mound has a deep bowl-shaped depression in the interior which served as the arena for debate and decision-making. Previously interpreted as the site of a Norman motte castle.

Grid Reference:TQ 7842 4067
Map Sheet:TQ74SE

Monument Types

  • MOOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1013147: MOOT MOUND 400M WEST OF KNOX BRIDGE

Full description

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[TQ 7843 4067] Castle Bank [NR] (1) Castle Bank near Knox Bridge otherwise known as Knocks or Nocks Bridge Castle, consists of a fosse with the ballast thrown inward to form a ramparted keep, the fosse being supplied with water via a channel from the nearby stream. There is no trace of a bailey or further enclosure. (2) When the moat was drained some time prior to 1873, many stumps were discovered which appeared to be the remains of a palisade. (3) Scheduled as Castle. No 116. (4) Castle Bank, a ring motte, heavily overgrown, otherwise in fairly good condition, and as described above. It is placed in a significantposition at an old river crossing. (5) Checked and correct. (6) Additional bibliography. (7-9) Reinterpreted as a moot or meeting place by the Monuments Protection Programme. (10)


The monument near Knox Bridge, formerly interpreted as the site of a Norman motte castle, includes a moot mound and its surrounding quarry ditch. The mound is circular in plan and measures some 50m in diameter. In height it stands 2.8m above the level of the surrounding ground. A berm of 3m separates the mound from the surrounding ditch, which is some 5m across and now less than 1m deep, although this is largely the result of silting and the ditch must formerly have been considerably deeper in order to provide sufficient material for the construction of the mound. The most characteristic feature of the moot mound is the deep, bowl-shaped depression in the interior which served as the arena for debate and decision- making. This depression is 2m deep and 27m in diameter. The moot mound lies near the present boundaries between the parishes of Frittenden, Staplehurst and Cranbrook which formed the Hundred of Cranbrooke and over which the moot court had jurisdiction.

Reasons for Designation

Moots were open-air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other bodies who were responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the area under jurisdiction, usually a hundred, wapentake, or shire. The meeting place could take several forms: a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or rock; existing man-made features such as prehistoric standing stones, barrows or hillforts; or a purpose-built monument such as a mound. Moots appear to have been first established during the early medieval period between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Examples are recorded in the Domesday Book and other broadly contemporary documents. Initially, moots were situated in open countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. The normal form of purpose-built moot was the moot mound. These take the form of large, squat, turf-covered mounds with a flat or concave top, usually surrounded by a ditch. Occasionally, prehistoric barrows were remodelled to provide suitable sites. It is estimated that there were between 250 and 1000 moots in medieval England, although only a limited number of these were man- made mounds and only a proportion of these survive today. Moots are generally a poorly understood class of monument with considerable potential to provide information on the organisation and administration of land units in the Middle Ages. They are a comparatively rare and long-lived type of monument and the earliest examples will be amongst a very small range of sites predating the Norman Conquest which survive as monumental earthworks and readily appreciable landscape features. On this basis, all well preserved or historically well documented moot mounds are identified as nationally important.

The example near Knox Bridge survives extremely well and is of high archaeological potential. It is associated with a range of other types of monument, including the moated site of the head manor of Lovehurst, and is well-documented both archaeologically and historically. (13)

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<2> VCH Kent 1 (1908) 408 (Illust) I C Gould (OS Card Reference). SKE50818.

<3> Arch Cant 13 (1880) 492-3 (? C Roach Smith) (OS Card Reference). SKE34676.

<4> MOW List of Anc Mon in Eng & Wales 1958 46 ANG 8.9.61 (OS Card Reference). SKE47356.

<5> F1 ASP 01-DEC-61 (OS Card Reference). SKE41865.

<6> F2 GA 06-FEB-64 (OS Card Reference). SKE43338.

<7> Moated Site Research Group 6 1979 (ed C J Bond) 47 (OS Card Reference). SKE47243.

<8> Arch Cant 93 1977 222 (T Tatton-Brown) (OS Card Reference). SKE36151.

<9> DOE (IAM) AMs Eng 2 1978 112 (OS Card Reference). SKE40688.

<10> Field report for monument TQ 74 SE 1 - December, 1961 (Bibliographic reference). SKE3755.

<11> Field report for monument TQ 74 SE 1 - February, 1964 (Bibliographic reference). SKE3756.

<12> English Heritage Schedule copy MPP AA 51053/1 30-JUL-1991 (OS Card Reference). SKE41639.

<13> English Heritage, Register of Scheduled Monuments (Scheduling record). SKE16191.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: VCH Kent 1 (1908) 408 (Illust) I C Gould.
<3>XYOS Card Reference: Arch Cant 13 (1880) 492-3 (? C Roach Smith). [Mapped feature: #262 Castle bank, ]
<4>OS Card Reference: MOW List of Anc Mon in Eng & Wales 1958 46 ANG 8.9.61.
<5>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 01-DEC-61.
<6>OS Card Reference: F2 GA 06-FEB-64.
<7>OS Card Reference: Moated Site Research Group 6 1979 (ed C J Bond) 47.
<8>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 93 1977 222 (T Tatton-Brown).
<9>OS Card Reference: DOE (IAM) AMs Eng 2 1978 112.
<10>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 74 SE 1 - December, 1961.
<11>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 74 SE 1 - February, 1964.
<12>OS Card Reference: English Heritage Schedule copy MPP AA 51053/1 30-JUL-1991.
<13>Scheduling record: English Heritage. Register of Scheduled Monuments.