Moated site at Ruxox Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TL 04784 35978
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 moated site at Ruxox Farm is a good example of a large Bedfordshire moat which is given added significance by its well documented 12th-century religious associations with the Dunstable Priory. Although partially excavated, the monument retains considerable archaeological evidence including stone buildings in the interior.
The monument at Ruxox Farm is a large, 'D'-shaped moated site enclosing
an island measuring at least 250m by 160m. The moat was constructed on a
natural promontory overlooking the River Flitt. The northern arm follows the
contour of the promontory so that the outer berm of the moat is a metre or so
lower than the interior. The straight arm of the moat runs over the crest of
the promontory on a north-westerly line, beneath the buildings and gardens of
Ruxox Farm. The moat ditch is dry and measures 10-15m wide and up to 3m deep.
In the fields to the north of the farm the moat has been backfilled, although
its line is discernible as slight linear hollows. The island is generally flat
but large fragments of stone scattered near the edges of the moat provide
visible evidence that stone buildings once occupied the island edge.
Excavations in the north-western corner of the site in 1959 uncovered medieval
stone walls, pottery, building materials and window glass, proving that there
was a substantial and wealthy residence on the site. Roman pottery and tile
fragments were also found and these demonstrate that the moat was constructed
on top of the remains of a much earlier settlement. The extent of the moat to
the north-west is clearly depicted on the 1881 Ordnance Survey 25-inch map.
The site is documented as being granted to the priory of Dunstable in the 12th
century and became the residence of priors who had resigned from the main
The farm buildings and the surface of the trackway leading to the river are
excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of : Volume III, (1912)
CKC 77-88, (1979)
Gardiner, T H, Some Notes on a Trial Excavation......at Ruxox, Flitwick, 1960, Luton Museum Library
LD 88-92, (1953)
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series Source Date: 1881 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
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