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.
The site at Moat Farm, Gayton survives well and represents a fine example of a
combined moat and fishpond water-management complex.
The monument includes the moated site and associated fishpond 60m south of St
Peter's Church, Gayton.
The moated site includes a slightly raised island which is oval in plan and
measures 70m west-east by 50m north-south. The northern part of the moat has
been partially infilled, although traces of the original moat edge remain as
shallow depressions. The south, east and west arms of the moat are
waterfilled and are up to 12m wide and 4m deep, although the east arm has some
silting. The moat is surrounded by an external enclosure bank which rises to
a height of 0.5m. The partially tree-lined outer bank is most evident at the
west and south sides of the moat. Original access to the island was probably
from the north-east, although whether by causeway or by bridge is not now
The fishpond is situated 90m to the west of the moated complex, connected to
the moat by a dry channel 4m wide. The southern part of the pond is
seasonally waterfilled. Rectangular in plan, the fishpond measures 175m by
60m. There are retaining banks surrounding the edge of the pond. The two
circular islands within the fishpond, both 10m in diameter, are likely to have
been provided for the nesting of waterfowl.
The manor is known to have been held by the Meverelle family until 1274 when
Nicholas de Nugent died leaving nine daughters as co-heiresses.
Excluded from the scheduling are the 18th-19th century brick farmhouse and the
associated agricultural buildings of Moat Farm, a telegraph pole and cable
support on the northern arm of the moat, all paths, driveways, fences, the
surface of the trackway at the north side of the fishpond but the ground
beneath these features is included.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.