Blackford Manor House Moat


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sedgemoor (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 41022 47891


Moat 200m north-east of Blackford Church.

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains. Despite some infilling of the ditch and partial excavation, survey has revealed the moat 200m north east of Blackford Church will contain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social, political and religious significance, domestic arrangements, abandonment and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 27 August 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a moat situated on gently sloping ground just above the height of the surrounding Levels of Blackford Moor on the northern side of the current settlement of Blackford. The moat survives as a rectangular central platform measuring approximately 76m long by 67m wide surrounded by a partially buried ditch up to 9m wide and 1.5m deep. Surface undulations across the platform indicate underlying structures. Partial excavations in 1955-7 revealed parts of a stone floor, wall trenches, roofing materials and 13th -14th century pottery and showed the moat to have had two phases of construction. A resistivity survey in 2001 revealed a complex of buildings on the northern part of the platform measuring over 50m in length. The main approach was to the south via a gatehouse. The perimeter of the platform had a wall and a further possible gatehouse to the north joined to the other range of buildings. The largest room appeared to be the entrance hall with at least eight other rooms to the west. A room projecting from the hall to the east was interpreted as a chapel based on the findings at Banwell. To the north of the hall was another large room or courtyard. The moat has been identified from documentary sources as a 13th or 14th century Episcopal manor house, which was demolished by Bishop John Harewell in 1380-90


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
SO 456
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:-194130


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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