Maidstone Mote House

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are no visible remains

NameMaidstone Mote House
Alternative NamesMaydenstan; Shoford Maideston
Historic CountryKent
Modern AuthorityKent
1974 AuthorityKent
Civil ParishMaidstone

The medieval moat was not identified. The present house was almost certainly the first building to occupy the high ground overlooking the large artificial lake. Presumably a moated site would lie on the lower slopes near the river but the banks of the River Len have become overgrown and the numerous small ponds are slowly silting up. The large lake created by damming the Len is used for recreational purposes. (PastScape)

THE MOTE was an antient seat in this parish, situated about a mile eastward from the town of Maidstone, and encircled with a pleasant park. It was formerly castellated, and in the reign of Henry III. was part of the possessions of the noted family of Leyborne. In the 51st year of which Roger de Leyborne obtained the grant of a market, to be held weekly at this place on a Tuesday, and a yearly fair for three days at the feast of St. Cross. After the Leybornes were extinct here, it was become the property of John de Shofford, from whom it acquired the name of the manor of Shofford, alias Le Mote. (Hasted)

William's involvement with the sheriff and the cathedral probably explains why his house was the target of popular vindictiveness. When it was all over he may, of course, have felt that a substantial stone-built, crenellated new house (perhaps with parapets to protect the roof) would reduce the risk of arson and afford him more security in the future. But such dwellings were frequently (in fact, normally) built without any licence to crenellate. Without doubt, the function of the licence to William was to reaffirm his status and his association with the great. It was an emphatic and demonstrative response to the menu peuple who had dared to resent and attack his standing. (Coulson 1982)

Gatehouse Comments

Mote House is a Country house built near the site of C14 castellated manor house which was demolished circa 1800. There are no remains at Mote Park other than the listed C19 house. 'Shoford', was granted a licence, to William Topclyve, in 1382, after it had been levelled by insurgents. Hasted clearly identifies Mote House as the same as Shoford manor but, despite giving a full tenurial history, does not identify William Topclyve as holding the manor or mention the licence to crenellate. However, it is possible Hasted is incorrect and that Shoford is not the same as Mote house. The identification of it as a 'small place' (minutam placeam)_in the licence enrollment adds to this possibility as Mote House was a large manor. Leland c1540 mentions a castle in good repair, but this most probably refers to the Archbishop's palace.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ781549
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  • Salter, Mike, 2000, The Castles of Kent (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 56
  • Newman, John, 1976, Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald p. 413-14
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 406 online copy
  • Hasted, Edward, 1798 (2edn), The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent Vol. 4 p. 260- online transcription


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 250
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1909, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 4 p. 47 online copy


  • Coulson, Charles, 2007-8, 'On Crenellating, in Kent and Beyond - A Retrospection' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 21 p. 189-201 esp p. 197-8
  • Coulson, C., 1982, 'Hierarchism in Conventual Crenellation: An Essay in the Sociology and Metaphysics of Medieval Fortification' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 85-6 download copy
  • 1977, 'Investigations and Excavations during the Year' Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 93 p. 222 online copy

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1897, Calendar of Patent Rolls Richard II (1381-85) Vol. 2 p. 132 online copy


  • Canterbury Archaeological Trust, 2006, Mote Park, Maidstone An Historic Building Survey of the House and its Outbuildings