Parham Moat Hall

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameParham Moat Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountrySuffolk
Modern AuthoritySuffolk
1974 AuthoritySuffolk
Civil ParishParham

Brick and timber house, built 1498-1527, on a moated site. The house was altered in the late C16/early C17. Possibly the site of C13 fortified house. There are a number of fishponds north of the moat. (PastScape)

The moat is waterfilled, with an internal revetment, and varies from 47.0 m to 12.0 m in width. Contiguous to the W arm is an enclosure, now under pasture, bounded on the S, W and part of the N side by a broad ditch and low inner bank. The ditch must always have been dry due to sloping ground. The enclosure may be contemporary with the house, possibly for stock. In Stewpond Wood, to the N of the moat at a higher level, are a number of fishponds of which only one is waterfilled. Originally water from the ponds fed the moat. (PastScape–Field Investigators Comments-F1 NKB 02-APR-73)

Parham, Moat Hall. Justly regarded as one of most romantic Suffolk moated halls. Large, roughly square, mated site of 2.8 acres; causeway on E. side leading to brick-edged island of 0.85 acre. Entry through brick arch (probably of second half of 16th century) with stone figures of wildmen in niches either side — supporters of Willoughby family, who inherited Parham manor from Uffords, Earls of Suffolk, early 15th century and continued in ownership to mid-17th century.

Another, free-standing, arch formerly stood on edge of lawn in front of house; dismantled, 1926, and shipped to America to become entrance to Wharton-Sinkler Conference Centre, Philadelphia. Heraldry on ornate limestone facing of this arch indicates erection by Sir Christopher Willoughby (d. 1498/9). Similarly carved shield in Parham church, part of dismantled table-tomb, also bear heraldry pointing to him. Another shield in same style, with arms of 4th Lord Willoughby (d. 1396), recently found amongst rubble at Moat Hall

Also built into various outbuildings there, numerous carved limestone fragments, including two bearing Willoughby motto, all derived from some demolished structure or structures on site. Also a number of rectangular brick objects (11in X 14in) with dished surfaces, probably reverses of moulded brick ornaments (possibly heads), early 16th-century.

House consists of relatively plain timber-framed range of 17th century with, at right angles, more substantial red brick range of early 16th. Latter not particularly impressive from S., but from N. a glorious sight — rising sheer from water of moat are two full-height canted bays with large brick windows and projecting chimney stack, all decorated with diaper pattern picked out in blue headers. Traces of another projecting structure, probably stair turret, to E. of bays, balancing stack on W. side. On E. corner, beginning of yet another projecting bay with windows, relating to something beyond existing building (which seems to be an original unit). In mass, height and positioning, great brick range has some resemblance to corner towers that provided suites of private apartments at courtyard-plan moated houses at Oxborough and Westhorpe. (Paine 1992)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceTM312599
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  • Ditchfield P.H., 1910, The manor houses of England p. 90-92


  • Paine, C., 1992, 'Excursions 1991, Report and notes on some findings' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. 37.4 p. 393-401 (plan) online copy
  • 1900, 'The annual excursion' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History Vol. 10.3 p. 375 online copy