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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 85 NW 3
Type of record:Monument
Name:Homestead moat site of medieval manor house


Medieval moated manor house, depicted on maps. Earthworks of the moat with a building platform within the interior survive. Earthworks of a deserted settlement, asssociated with the manor are also present.

Grid Reference:TQ 8187 5664
Map Sheet:TQ85NW

Monument Types

Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1017548: MEDIEVAL MOATED SITE, RIPPLE MANOR

Full description

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[TQ 8188 5665] Moat [GT] (1) On an estate map dated 1707, the site of the moat is described as the site of the old manor house of Ripple dated approximately to the thirteenth century. [See TQ 85 NW 2] (2). Homested moat in good condition and water-filled. (3) Survey of 23.11.61 revised. (4) TQ 819566. Ripple. Listed as a medieval moated site. (5,6) The Country Records Office has two estate maps, (7) (8), showing holdings adjacent to the Ripple estate. Both depict, in isolation, the position of the moat with the legend "Site of the Old Mansion House of Ripple". Additionally the Biss map relates the tradition that it was one of the "lurking places" of Jack Cade after the failure of the 1450 rebellion. (7,8) A moated enclosure originally about 80m. long and 50m. wide overall, formed by cutting into a slight S.W. slope, necessitating embanking on the lower S.W.side. The moat is now so heavily silted that the retaining bank, 7m. wide is merely 0.6m. high, whilst on the NE side the moat base is 1.3m. below field level outside. The moat is seasonally dry, but may be fed by a spring as well as modern land drains which protrude from the field to the N.E. An old concrete sluice is set into the bank on the S.E. side. The moat varies in width from 7m. to 15m. Cattle and erosion seem to have distorted the plan of the house platform which is now off-centre and of irregular out-line. Its maximum length (N.W. to S.E.) is 50m., and its width 30m; its height is from 0.5m to 0.7m. The platform is level and exhibits a series of excavations which were never backfilled, one long trench and three squarish patches. In one, at a depth of 0.5m the footings of a building have been exposed, 2.5m. long and 0.5m. wide, formed of roughly shaped stone blocks and mortared flints. A quantity of broken roofing tiles is in upcast debris. Both platform and moat are overgrown with oak,hazel and hornbeam, an extension of the coppiced wood to the S.W. As the site of the manor of Ripple, the earthwork seems well attested the name continuing in a 17th and 18th century house of some pretension, 200m. to the S.E., (TQ 85 NW 2). The old manor house was situated at the head of a broad shallow valley. On higher ground immediately S.W. of the present Ripple there are two ha. of pasture which, on a western slope, show a number of undulations, hollows and amorphous earthworks. These are mostly visible in low light and while not readily surveyable suggest the possibility of an area of minor desertion, centered at TQ 81955657, and probably associated with the medieval manor. (9).

From the National Heritage List of England:


The site at Ripple, situated in a tributary valley of the River Len, comprises a sub-rectangular moat measuring some 7-15m wide which encloses an island some 55m by 30m. The moat, terraced into the slope on the uphill side and embanked on the down slope side, has silted up to a large extent but remains waterlogged throughout the year. Moats are generally seen as prestigious residences of the Lords of the Manor. The moat not only marked the high status of the occupier 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 moat at Ripple is likely to date. Maps of 1746 and 1755 mark the site as that of "the old mansion house of Ripple". Some evidence of the buildings which once occupied the site survives on the island in the form of stone footings and roof tiles exposed during haphazard excavations. No definite trace of the fishponds etc. which are often associated with this class of site, can be found although the field on the north side contains a marked hollow which may represent the former emergence of the spring. A concrete culvert of early 1950s vintage marks the exit channel from the moat, which was fed by a spring as well as by recent land drains. This culvert, along with any modern fencing within the scheduled area, is excluded from the scheduling.

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 site of Ripple Manor, which tradition has as a hide-out of the rebel Jack Cade after the failed uprising of 1450, is of particular importance because the moat remains wet throughout the year so that the archaeological potential of the site, particularly for the recovery of climatic and economic evidence, is great. In addition, the small-scale excavations at the site have demonstrated that evidence of the buildings which stood there still survives. (15)

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

<2> C E Fisher Asst curator Maidstone Mus. (OS Card Reference). SKE38453.

<3> O N B May 1907 revised Aug 1939 3 & 48 (OS Card Reference). SKE47757.

<4> F1 CFW 25-NOV-61 (OS Card Reference). SKE42762.

<5> F2 ASP 27-JUN-63 (OS Card Reference). SKE43178.

<6> Arch Cant 93 1977 221 T Tatton-Brown (OS Card Reference). SKE36147.

<7> Moated Sites Res Gp No 6 1979 47 (OS Card Reference). SKE47263.

<8> Survey of Land of the Hon Wm Belford 1755 by Benjamin Biss (OS Card Reference). SKE49761.

<9> Survey of Land by John Cage 1707 John Watts with additions 1746 Thos Hogben (OS Card Reference). SKE49760.

<10> F3 NVQ 10-OCT-86 (OS Card Reference). SKE43402.

<11> Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 3 - November, 1961 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4415.

<12> Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 3 - June, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4416.

<13> Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 3 - October, 1986 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4417.

<14> Ripple, Hollingbourne, Kent/survey (Graphic material). SKE6368.

<15> 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: C E Fisher Asst curator Maidstone Mus..
<3>OS Card Reference: O N B May 1907 revised Aug 1939 3 & 48.
<4>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 25-NOV-61.
<5>OS Card Reference: F2 ASP 27-JUN-63.
<6>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 93 1977 221 T Tatton-Brown.
<7>OS Card Reference: Moated Sites Res Gp No 6 1979 47.
<8>OS Card Reference: Survey of Land of the Hon Wm Belford 1755 by Benjamin Biss.
<9>OS Card Reference: Survey of Land by John Cage 1707 John Watts with additions 1746 Thos Hogben.
<10>OS Card Reference: F3 NVQ 10-OCT-86.
<11>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 3 - November, 1961.
<12>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 3 - June, 1963.
<13>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 3 - October, 1986.
<14>Graphic material: Ripple, Hollingbourne, Kent/survey. PER. PEN.
<15>XYScheduling record: English Heritage. Register of Scheduled Monuments. [Mapped feature: #462 Moated site, ]