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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 85 NW 15
Type of record:Monument
Name:Mott hall (Nott Hall, moat hall, Stonehouse)


Site of medieval Manor House with moat. Archaeological investigations begun in 1975 revealed evidence of occupation up to the 17th century, including the remains of both stone and wooden buildings and fragments of 14th century pottery. Evidence of occupation was found only on the islanded housing platform.

Grid Reference:TQ 8032 5550
Map Sheet:TQ85NW

Monument Types

Protected Status:Selected Heritage Inventory for Natural England: MOTT HALL. Medieval manor house with moat. The remains comprise a rectangular homestead moat, now dry and in poor condition.

Full description

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[TQ 80335551] NOTT HALL. [GT] (site of). (1) Site of the ancient mansion of Nott Hall. Estate Map in Kent Arch. Soc. Collection. [But could not be found] (2) Moat Hall, the mansion which was called Stonehouse, belonged to Leeds Priory. After the Dissolution, it was settled on the Dean and Chapter of Rochester. (a) It was also known as Mott Hall (b). The remains comprise a rectangular homestead moat, now dry and in poor condition. No building material was found in the enclosed area. 100.0m to the NE is a pond bay for a supply pond or fishpond. Published 1:1250 survey correct. (3) (TQ 80345551) Moat (NR). (4) In 1975 the Maidstone Area Archaeological Group, under the direction of Mr P E Oldham, began an investigation of the suspected medieval moated manor-house site of Mott Hall, Bearsted. They discovered the remains of a stone building and some 14th century pottery. Documentary evidence suggested that the site was occupied until the mid-17th century. In 1977 signs of a wooden building were discovered. (5,6) The medieval moated site of "Mott Hall" manor house is beside the river Lilk in a narrow valley with steep sides of ragstone outcrop, an area called 'The Bogs' on the Tithe map. At the narrowest point a dam was constructed to form a lake within which the house platform was islanded. There is no sign of an original approach route Upstream there is a more substantial dam, probably for a fishpond. In 1975 and 1976 Maidstone Archaeological Group dug trial trenches over an extensive area but occupation evidence was found only on the 'island'. Excavations in the northern half disclosed a layer with 14th. century sherds and a scatter of stone. In the southern half was found the stone walls of a building about 4m. square, which had been roofed with peg tiles. The walls had been built in two sections, probably at different times. Within the structure a rubbish pit contained an iron knife, tiling nails and larger timber nails. Adjoining the building were the remains of a flint paved yard and, in the S.W. corner of the platform an area of compacted stones with some large ones on edge may have represented the site of an entrance bridge. In the make up of the platform some Mesolithic scrapers were found and, near the surface, the bowl of a 17th century latten spoon, dropped after the site was abandoned. (7) The site of Mott Hall is on the NW side of a narrow flat bottomed and much silted valley through which meandered a small stream, the Tiver Lilk. The house was on a level rectangular platform oriented NE to SW with the valley and measuring 22m long and 11m wide and from 0.7m to 1.6m high. It would seem to have been moated by digging a ditch around three sides, the S.E being protected by an artificial lake created by damming the river 12m below the platform, a dam now appears not as a bank but a scraping of slightly rising ground and is no more than 0.7m high. The scrap is broken by the passage of the stream and presumably would have had a controlled sluice. The NW end of the dam in effect forms an 0.7m deep ditch at one end of the platform. At the opposite, NE end of the platform there is a well formed ditch 7m. wide and 0.6m deep which continues for a short distance around the NW side and then fades, perhaps as a result of hillwash from the valley side. The whole area is slightly marshy and much overgrown with bushes and some mature hornbeam and ash. (One felled oak) At TQ 8045563, 150m NE of the platform, there is an extensive shallow depression 120m. long and 30m. wide, which occupies the valley floor, with a large dam at the SW end. The area is now dry since the River Lilk has been canalised to flow outside the eastern boundary. The NE end and the nw side of the pond are both well defined by scarps 0.5m to 1.3m high. The SE side has two successive scarps both only about 0.3 m high. From their conformation they could indicate a single pond averaging 30 m wide, or two narrow elongated ponds 15 m wide extending down the valley.
Whatever the form, water was retained by a pond bay 50 m long and 10 m. to 15 m. wide overall, with a flat top 4 m. to 8 m. across. On the inner, pond side it is now 1 m. high and on the outer face 1.5 m. high. The eastern end has been truncated for the new stream course but it is probable that the original outflow was more central; a number of large stone blocks within the bank at TQ 80435558 may indicate the position of the original sluice. It is likely that the pond was associated with the manorial site of Mott Hall and created as a fishpond rather than for industrial purposes. It is now an area of pasture. (8)

A Desk-based assessment ahead of proposed development at Cross Keys, Bearsted assessed the impact of the development on the setting of this monument. (18)

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

<2> Maidstone Mus 6" (Anon Undated) (OS Card Reference). SKE46271.

<3> Hist of Kent 5 1798 509 (E Hasted) (OS Card Reference). SKE43992.

<4> Inf: Dr F Hull Archivist County Records Office Maidstone (OS Card Reference). SKE44413.

<5> F1 ASP 24-Jun-63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42264.

<6> OS 1:10000 1970 (OS Card Reference). SKE48155.

<7> Arch Cant 91 1975 210 (P E Oldham) (OS Card Reference). SKE36056.

<8> Arch Cant 93 1977 224 (OS Card Reference). SKE36153.

<9> R3 NVQ 16-Oct-86 (OS Card Reference). SKE48946.

<10> F2 NVQ 16-Oct-86 (OS Card Reference). SKE43356.

<11> Arch Cant 93 1977 24 (P E Oldham) (OS Card Reference). SKE36156.

<12> Arch Cant 92 1976 252 (P E Oldham) (OS Card Reference). SKE36101.

<13> Arch Cant 94 1978 284 (P E Oldham) (OS Card Reference). SKE36200.

<14> KAR 49 1977 223 (L Grisdale) (OS Card Reference). SKE45354.

<15> Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 15 - June, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4433.

<16> Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 15 - October, 1986 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4434.

<17> Mott Hall, Kent/survey (Graphic material). SKE6369.

<18> Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 2013, Cross Keys, Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent: Desk-based Archaeological Assessment (updated) (Unpublished document). SKE31319.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: Maidstone Mus 6" (Anon Undated).
<3>OS Card Reference: Hist of Kent 5 1798 509 (E Hasted).
<4>OS Card Reference: Inf: Dr F Hull Archivist County Records Office Maidstone.
<5>OS Card Reference: F1 ASP 24-Jun-63.
<6>OS Card Reference: OS 1:10000 1970.
<7>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 91 1975 210 (P E Oldham).
<8>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 93 1977 224.
<9>OS Card Reference: R3 NVQ 16-Oct-86.
<10>OS Card Reference: F2 NVQ 16-Oct-86.
<11>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 93 1977 24 (P E Oldham).
<12>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 92 1976 252 (P E Oldham).
<13>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 94 1978 284 (P E Oldham).
<14>OS Card Reference: KAR 49 1977 223 (L Grisdale).
<15>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 15 - June, 1963.
<16>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 85 NW 15 - October, 1986.
<17>Graphic material: Mott Hall, Kent/survey. PER. PEN.
<18>XYUnpublished document: Canterbury Archaeological Trust. 2013. Cross Keys, Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent: Desk-based Archaeological Assessment (updated). [Mapped feature: #28296 moated site, ]