Moated site, fishponds and deserted medieval village of Tattenhoe, 300m west of Home Park 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.

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
Shenley Brook End
National Grid Reference:
SP 82898 33939

Reasons for Designation

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the rural landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages provided some services to the local community and acted as the main focal point of ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many others declined in size or were abandoned throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. As a result over 2000 deserted medieval villages are recorded nationally. The reasons for desertion were varied but often reflected declining economic viability, changes in land use such as enclosure or emparkment, or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their abandonment these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Because they are a common and long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the regions and through time.

The Tattenhoe deserted medieval village includes an associated moated site and fishpond complex which survive as earthworks. The moat belongs to a significant class of medieval monument 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. Fishponds often occur in close association with a moated site and consist of one or more artificially constructed pools of slow moving or still fresh water for the purpose of managing stocks of fresh water fish. As with moats, they provide likely conditions for the survival of organic remains. When considered as a whole, this monument provides a well preserved example of a medieval rural settlement, with evidence relating to the wealth and economy of the community and the landscape in which it existed.


The monument includes a moated site, fishponds and the remains of the deserted medieval village of Tattenhoe. The rectangular moat lies to the north of St Giles Church, it has dimensions of 7Om south-west to north-east by 48m north-west to south-east and remains water filled. The arms of the moat average 10m wide and 2m deep with well defined and near vertical side walls which show evidence in places of stone and brick revetting. The level interior is raised slightly above the surrounding land surface and is linked to it by a causeway of dry stone construction, which crosses the moat midway along the south-east side. To the immediate north of the moat is a well defined rectilinear fishpond 80m long by 10m wide and up to 2m deep. This is linked to the north-east corner of the moat by a shallow channel 2m wide and 0.2m deep. A short length of water-filled ditch lies immediately adjacent to the north-east side of the church; it is 23m long, 9m wide and 2.3m deep and is constructed on the alignment of the southern arm of the moat and separated from the moat by the main access track, carried here across a second causeway. The ditch appears to be truncated at its south end where a dry stone blocking wall has been constructed. To the south-west of the moat are the remains of further possible fishponds in the form of a tri-armed system of narrow linear hollows. They are overall some 100m long and vary between 1m and 2m deep and between 6m and 18m wide. These are believed to have once linked with a second series of linear hollows which ran south from the north-east corner of the moat. There is today no surface trace of this linking, though trial excavation in this area has demonstrated its existence. The eastern linear earthworks are separated from the moat at its north-east corner by a third causeway carrying the main access track. They comprise two linked linear hollows orientated roughly north-south and are overall some 150m long, varying between 4m and 14m wide, with an average depth of 2m. They may represent further fishponds or may be the remains of a once more extensive system of hollow ways. Of the deserted medieval village of Tattenhoe little survives as visible earthworks, however some traces do survive in the vicinity of the moated site and the church. Disturbed and disjointed, they are today difficult to interpret appearing as rather amorphous surface undulations. The no-longer-active graveyard is included within the scheduling. The church, all boundary features, modern structures and metalled surfaces are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath each 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:


FMW Report, Gordon, C, Deserted Village (site of),
SMR NO: 3647, Bucks SMR, Medieval Village, Moated Site,


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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