Monument record BAT 001 - St John's Manor House, Manor House Farm

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Site of Preceptory of Knights of St John (Hospitallers) within moated site.


Grid reference Centred TM 046 543 (251m by 181m)
Map sheet TM05SW


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Site of Preceptory of Knights of St John (Hospitallers). In existence by the reign of Henry II. The Order in England was suppressed 1540. After the dissolution the preceptory was granted to Andrew Judde, Alderman of London 1544 and regranted 1544 to Sir Richard Gresham (S1).
Square moated site - N and E sides only surviving. House centrally placed within the moated area - this house is late C16 timber framed, refaced in brick in C19, undergoing renovation 1984. Possibly some reused beams from the Med house. House listed Grade II.
A terracotta plaque depicting the head of St John was built into the base of the chimney stack (removed in 1984 - now over mantlepiece in sitting room). Another damaged plaque is built into the wall of the cellar - this depicts the coat- of-arms of Sir Giles Russell, Preceptor of Battisford circa 1530. Presumably both plaques were commissioned by Russell circa 1530 (S2). A visit was made on 25 September 1984 to examine features uncovered during alterations to the house. The staircase wing at the rear of the main chimney is in process of alteration, exposing a free-standing post supporting part of the first floor roof structure. It may have been in the S external wall of the wing when it was first built, because there is some evidence that the wing was extended southwards at a later date, but it is now internal. The post has a deep diagonal trench in one face, at about mid-height. The trench was designed to house a large diagonal brace which passed the post and was fixed with a large peg. The post appears to have been part of a closed truss, probably with only one exposed face, the concealed face being wavy-edged and of poor quality. If as seems likely, this is a reused arcade post from an aisled building, its presence in the C16 house confirms the evidence of the rafters that a C13 or early C14 aisled house was demolished at that time and its timber components reused.
It is unfortunate that the lower part of the post is damaged, because this has removed jointing which would have made identification more positive (S5). 1966: Moat complete except for W arm and water-filled, encloses a now dry fish pond. Published CSL 1/2500 revised (S6)(S8).
1988 & 1989: Small scale excavations on interior of moated area by SAFG.
1987: 4 small holes excavated by a group of amateur archaeologists (no further details).
1988: expansion of area in form of trench (3m by 8.5m) along S side of present house by S.A.F.G supervised by Bob Carr) Report (plus plan & section) in file - see (source 8). Located brick built cellar (extending from existing) with infill containing sherd of 16th or early 17th centry. Also other walls and robbery trenches with other 'dump' ;ayers which contained Thetford walls, early medieval & medieval pottery (detail in source 8). The Earliest deposits would appear to contain C12 and C13 pottery. (Also 1 photo in file).
Excavation (S9)
1989: Further excavation - details unknown.
1990: Further excavation-see S10 for details.

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <R1> (No record type): Knowles, D. & Hadcock, R.N.. 1953. Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales (1st ed). Knowles and Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses, 1953, 241.
  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Victoria County History of Suffolk (Vol I 1911; Vol II 1907). VCH, Suffolk, II, 1907, 120-121.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: correspondence, copy of (S2), map.
  • <R2> (No record type): Monastic Remains, 1934, 107 (Messent J W).
  • <S2> (No record type): SAU, Martin E, 1984.
  • <M2> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Basil Brown archive: volumes.
  • <S3> (No record type): Morley C, 'Suffolk Hospitallers 1338' East Anglian Miscellany 1919, 78, 82, 85, 89.
  • <M3> (No record type): Excavation archive:.
  • <S4> (No record type): Morley C, 'The Military Monks of Suffolk - VII Battisford' East Anglian Miscellany 1925, 76, 78.
  • <S5> (No record type): Aitkens, P.. Aitkens P, September 1984.
  • <S6> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TM05SW6, 1966.
  • <S7> Bibliographic reference: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Archaeology in Suffolk 1984, PSIA, 36, 1985, (1), 43(S8) Brown B, XX, 3,113,123-125; XXI, 94; XXII,.
  • <S8> Excavation archive: Excavation Archive. Carr R (SAU), Battisford St Johns Manor excavation 1988, report.
  • <S9> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 37(1) 1989 p70.
  • <S10> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH 37 Part 2 1990 p. 158.

Finds (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Sep 17 2014 4:00PM

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