MOULTON: KING'S HALL
Situated a kilometre to the south of Moulton on the boundary of the vill with Whaplode, the almost D-shaped moated enclosure (Fig 42) which once lay within King's Hall Park, or Hall Grounds, can almost certainly be identified as the castle or house of the de Moulton family, Lords of Egremont (1). In 1086 Moulton was divided between Ivo Taillebois and Guy de Craon with ten carucates and one bovate and one carucate and seven bovates respectively (2). Both fees retained their identity into the thirteenth century, but by 1212 much of the land had passed to Thomas de Multon as tenant of Guy de Craon and of the Prior of Spalding who himself held in alms of the honour of Bolingbroke (3). The first specific reference to a residence occurs in a notification to the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk in 1216 that the castle of Moulton (castrum de Muleton') and the lands of the same Thomas, then a rebel, had been entrusted to the custody of William de Albini (4). It is likely that the structure only owed its fortification to a degree which merited it the title of castle to the civil war of 1216/7 (5). But the Moulton family had probably had an establishment in the vill from the early twelfth century, and this may well have occupied the King's Hall site. However, a reference to a garden called 'le Northalle' in 1334 probably points to an earlier manor house, possibly that of the Craon fee, in Moulton itself and thereby implies that the present site, built on newland reclained from the fen in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries, dates from the later twelfth century (6).
Subsequently there are but few references to the structure. It was restored to Thomas in 1217, but was then described as a house (domus), and Matthew Paris employs the same term in 1246 (7). However, the change of usage does not necessarily imply demilitarisation, although the status of the residence may have changed, and, indeed, a reference is made in an account roll of the manor of Moulton Dominorum to 'Repairs to the Castle' in 1461 (8). By this time the de Moulton manor had been divided following the failure of the male line in the fourteenth century, and the capital messuage was jointly held (9). It was not a principal residence of its lords, however, and probably slipped into decay. In the 1530's part was still upstanding, for Leland reported that 'Thomas Muleton knight had his castel in the fenne halfe a mile from Quapelode; wherof some smaul parte yet standith. The Lord Fitzwalter hath it now, and Lorde Marquis hath another parte of it. Lord Richard hath for lif the Marquis parte' (10). Stukeley noted the ruins in the early eighteenth century, but thereafter only earthworks seem to have been visible (11).
The small moated area (scheduled site no.62) is clearly only the central part of a more extensive site and is now totally isolated without very obvious access (Pl IX). It can be seen as a substantial low mound of unusual form, with the surrounding ditch an average of 15m wide at the rim (Fig 43). Medieval pottery ranging from late thirteenth to the early fourteenth century, and a thick 'charred' layer were recorded in the 1940s (12) and further finds of pottery from the fourteenth to sixteenth century were collected from the ploughed fields around the site in the 1960s (13)
1. The name 'King's Hall' may merely be a popular attempt to explain an impressive feature of the landscape, but it is possible that it reflects a memory of when the manor was in the king's hands in the early sixteenth century (CI HVII ii, 15-6, 408).
2. Lincs DB, 14/99; 57/53.
3. BF, 193.
4. Rot Lit Claus i, 313b. In the previous year reference is made to Thomas de Moulton's castle, but its location is not specified (Rot Lit Pat, 164b).
5. R. A. Brown, 'A List of Castles, 1154-1216', Economic History Review 74, (1959), 273n.
6. CI vii, 430.
7. Patent Rolls 1216-1225, 85; Marrat iii, addition sc 'Moulton'.
8. D. J. Cathcart King, Castellarium Anglicanum, London 1983, 267 n25; W.E.Foster', Lord Boston's Muniments', Lincolnshire Notes and Queries (1914) 46.
9. Marrat ii, 118.
10. The Itinerary of John Leland in or about the Years 1535-1543 ii, ed. L. Toulmin Smith, London 1908, 147.
11. Marrat ii, 118.
12. Excavations by the Home Guard, Ordnance Survey records.
13. Archaeological Notes for 1967, 1969, LHA 3, (1968), 33; 4, (1970), 13.