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Knoxbridge

Hasted refers to Knoxbridge as “Nook Bridge”.   The oldest recorded area of Frittenden is Tolhurst, Knoxbridge, which was recorded in a charter of 804.  Pre-dating even this is a Moot, also situated in Knoxbridge.  Moots were open-air meeting places set aside for use by courts and other bodies who were responsible for the administration and organisation of the countryside in Anglo-Saxon and medieval England. They were located at convenient, conspicuous or well-known sites, often centrally placed within the area under jurisdiction, usually a hundred, wapentake, or shire. The meeting place could take several forms: a natural feature such as a hilltop, tree or rock; existing man-made features such as prehistoric standing stones, barrows or hillforts; or a purpose-built monument such as a mound. Moots appear to have been first established during the early medieval period between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Examples are recorded in the Domesday Book and other broadly contemporary documents. Initially, moots were situated in open countryside but, over time, they were relocated in villages or towns. The construction and use of rural moots declined after the 13th century. The normal form of purpose-built moot was the moot mound. These take the form of large, squat, turf-covered mounds with a flat or concave top, usually surrounded by a ditch. It is estimated that there were between 250 and 1,000 moots in medieval England, although only a limited number of these were man- made mounds and only a proportion of these survive today.  On this basis, all well preserved or historically well documented moot mounds are identified as nationally important.

Moot at Knox bridge
Moot at Knox bridge from The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Kent (1974 Reprint), p.408

The example near Knox Bridge survives extremely well and is of high archaeological potential. It is associated with a range of other types of monument, including the moated site of the head manor of Lovehurst, and is well-documented both archaeologically and historically.

The monument near Knox Bridge, formerly interpreted as the site of a Norman motte castle and sometimes known as Castle Bank, includes a moot mound and its surrounding quarry ditch. The mound is circular in plan and measures some 50m in diameter. In height it stands 2.8m above the level of the surrounding ground. A berm, a narrow ledge, of 3m separates the mound from the surrounding ditch, which is some 5m across and now less than 1m deep, although this is largely the result of silting and the ditch must formerly have been considerably deeper in order to provide sufficient material for the construction of the mound. The most characteristic feature of the moot mound is the deep, bowl-shaped depression in the interior which served as the arena for debate and decision- making. This depression is 2m deep and 27m in diameter. The moot mound lies near the present boundaries between the parishes of Frittenden, Staplehurst and Cranbrook which formed the Hundred of Cranbrooke and over which the moot court had jurisdiction.
The site of the monument includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument’s support and preservation.