Moated site and fishponds at Great Woolstone


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.

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
Campbell Park
National Grid Reference:
SP 87615 38602

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 Woolstone moated site survives reasonably well and is associated with a well defined fishpond and water management system. Considered as a whole the complex provides archaeological information on this important aspect of medieval manorial life.


The monument includes a moated site and fishponds situated between the River Ouzel and Holy Trinity Church, Great Woolstone. The rectangular moat lies to the south of Holy Trinity Church. It remains visible on its west and south sides only, where it is represented by a shallow ditch averaging 6m wide and 0.2m deep. The fishpond complex lies to the east of the church running along the west bank of the River Ouzel. It includes two well defined dry hollows, averaging 0.9m deep, identified as fishponds. One is L-shaped with arms some 30m long by 14m wide. The second lies adjoining the first, parallel to its southern side and at right angles to the river; it is orientated south-west to north-east and has dimensions of 52m long by 19m. These ponds appear to have been divided internally to create areas of different water depth. To the immediate north of these large ponds is a series of lesser ponds; they are arranged in a linear pattern along the west bank of the river and average some 10m wide and 0.4m deep. These also show evidence for internal division and the size of these may indicate that they were designed as breeding ponds. In general all the lesser ponds appear to be positioned to allow drainage into the larger. The whole complex including the remains of the moat forms an integrated manorial complex and is accordingly regarded as a single monument. Holy Trinity Church itself is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included. The former churchyard is also 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:


On site interpretive notice, Milton Keynes Archaeological Unit,
SMR NO: 3656, Bucks SMR,


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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