HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Cambridgeshire HER Result
Cambridgeshire HERPrintable version | About Cambridgeshire HER

CHER Number:01063
Type of record:Monument
Name:Manor House, Doddington

Summary

The earthworks of a medieval moated bishops' palace.

Grid Reference:TL 407 906
Parish:Doddington, Fenland, Cambridgeshire

Monument Type(s):

  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDMILL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE (19th century - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CHAPEL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BISHOPS PALACE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GRANGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STABLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GATEHOUSE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PARK PALE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GREAT HALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • GRANARY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BREWERY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOVECOTE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Events:

  • AP appraisal, Ingles Lane, Doddington, 2001
  • Fenland Survey Project, 1976-1989

Protected Status:

  • Scheduled Monument 1019547: Moated bishops' palace at Manor Farm

Full description

1. Manor House moat, close to the railway, half a mile E of the church. It is 350 feet square and has a slight moat averaging 10 feet in width except at the NW corner, where it has increased into a pond. The area is now occupied by a farm. The site is reminiscent of Croydon Wilds and is probably late in date. This manor belonged to Ely, and was a seat of the bishops, Bishop Balsham dying here in 1286.

3. Doddington was one of the Bishop's principal residences ...survey made for Bishop de Fontibus (1221) ... Like most ecclesiastical manors it passed through a period of depression in the C14. The decline in prosperity seems to have set in about 1300. A survey of 1356 shows some recovery. The manor house itself consisted of a hall, principal chamber, cloister (claustera), pantry, buttery and other chamber. Enclosed within the same encircling wall were a kitchen, brewhouse, chapel, a lodging for the Knights and Esquires, dovehouse, granary and stables. In the wall was a gatehouse. All these buildings were in good repair. The rest of the manorial buildings however, which consisted of a grange, ox-house, two windmills, (one dating from 1300), a newly erected grindery, the park wall, and the vaccary at Stonea, were all more or less ruinous. As in the other manors where the Bishop had an actual residence, the customary tenants of Doddington had the duty of ferrying him to his next manor. ... In the later Middle Ages, the bishops ceased to use the manor house as an official residence. In 1493, Bishop Alcock leased it. ... In the second half of the C16 the... bishop was allowed to Keep Doddington palace ... but the manor was finally alienated c 1600. The manor house had ceased to be used as such before 1808 and was converted into a farm, but the Courts Leet and Baron were still being held there in 1827. .... Letters Patent were dated at Benwick in 1314, presumably when Bishop Ketene was entertaining Edward II at Doddington Palace.

4. Electricity pylons set c 0.6m deep were laid across the site in 1986.

5. A medieval moated bishops' palace. The moated site includes a roughly square island measuring up to 104m by 106m. An inner bank, approx. 3m wide and 0.5m high and thought to represent upcast from the moat, is visible along the S side of the island. The moat is partly water-filled and measures between 6-12m in width and up to 2m in depth. The present house on the island dates from the C19th.

6. Site not visited by Fenland Survey, DOD S2.

7. LiDAR data from 2007 taken by the Environment Agency clearly show the surviving earthwork features.

8. Manor House moat (probably late in date) is 350ft square and about 10ft wide except at the NW corner where it is a pond.

This manor belonged to Ely and was a seat of the bishops, Bishop Balsham dying here in 1286. In 1356 the house and other buildings including a chapel were in good repair. It ceased to be used as a manor before 1808 and was converted into a farm (apparently modern).

Remains of Manor House moat.

The Manor House appears entirely of 19th/20th C brick construction and incorporates no earlier material according to the owner, who has no knowledge of an earlier house on the site. However, the owner states that during demolition of farm buildings at TL 4077 9072 in 1967 a stone gable end with blocked narrow pointed arches was uncovered. No action was taken, and the wall was demolished.

Surrounding the house is a moat about 120.0m square overall with waterfilled arms from about 4.0m to 12.0m in width. The arms have been greatly recut and shaped in recent years, and about 20.0m length of the W arm has been filled in. Further re-cutting is planned. The original entrance is probably that central to the W arm, causeways across the N arm and SE corner being modern.

To the immediate S and SE of the moat, in a ploughed field, is a medium scatter of Md/post Md tile and pottery.

Three regular cut ponds in series are shown on the OS 25" (1924) on the NW side of the moat at TL 4074 9081. They are suggestive of fishponds, but no trace now exists in a level pastured field and the owner states there was no trace of them when he took residence in 1960.


<1> Salzman, L.F (ed), 1948, The Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Volume 2, p .28 (Bibliographic reference). SCB14649.

<2> Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SCB3025.

<3> Pugh, R.B. (ed), 1953, The Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Volume 4, p. 112-3 (Bibliographic reference). SCB14655.

<4> AT, 1986, CCC fieldwork notes 1986 (Unpublished document). SCB16869.

<5> English Heritage, 2001, Scheduled Monument - 2001 (Scheduling record). SCB16866.

<6> Hall, D.N., 1992, The Fenland Project, Number 6: The South-Western Cambridgeshire Fenlands, DOD S2 (Bibliographic reference). SCB16698.

<7> Environment Agency, 2017, Environment Agency LIDAR data 1m DTM Model (Geospatial data). SCB58141.

<8> English Heritage, 2001, Scheduled Monument Notification - Manor House, Doddington (Unpublished document). SCB61243.

Sources and further reading

<1>Bibliographic reference: Salzman, L.F (ed). 1948. The Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Volume 2. p .28.
<2>Aerial Photograph:
<3>Bibliographic reference: Pugh, R.B. (ed). 1953. The Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. Volume 4. p. 112-3.
<4>Unpublished document: AT. 1986. CCC fieldwork notes 1986.
<5>Scheduling record: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduled Monument - 2001.
<6>Bibliographic reference: Hall, D.N.. 1992. The Fenland Project, Number 6: The South-Western Cambridgeshire Fenlands. DOD S2.
<7>Geospatial data: Environment Agency. 2017. Environment Agency LIDAR data 1m DTM Model. LIDAR.
<8>Unpublished document: English Heritage. 2001. Scheduled Monument Notification - Manor House, Doddington.