Moated site at Low Butterby Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Low Butterby Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County Durham (Unitary Authority)
Croxdale and Hett
National Grid Reference:
NZ 27557 39402

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 Low Butterby Farm is well preserved and is one of only a small number of moated sites identified in Durham.


The monument includes a moated site of medieval date, the site of the manor house of Butterby or Beautrove which passed to the Lumley family in AD 1240. The site has a flat platform or island, rectangular in shape measuring 65m north west to south east by 55m north east to south west. It is surrounded by a broad flat ditch, now dry, 8m wide and on average 3m deep. This is very well preserved on the north, east and west sides but has been partially infilled on the southern side. The edges of the ditch are revetted with a brick and stone wall with one course clearly projecting at the bottom. Access to the island was provided at the east side by a bridge across the ditch, which has now been replaced by a causeway. A late 16th or early 17th century gatehouse of two storeys was constructed at the eastern end of the bridge; this has subsequently been demolished but its foundations are still visible in the roadway approaching the moat. The moated site was originally the home of Roger d'Audre who was granted licence to build a chapel or chantry in his oratory at Beautrove in the 12th century. Low Butterby Farmhouse and the adjoining farm are Listed Grade II*, as are the moat walls, two bridges across the moat and the garden wall and gate piers. The following features are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included: the bridge across the ditch into the present farmhouse and the adjacent piers of another bridge, Low Butterby Farmhouse and all above ground structures situated upon the island including all fences, buildings and walls. The listed walls revetting the moat are 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
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: County Durham, (1983)
Surtees, R, The Victoria History of the County of Durham, (1905)
NZ 23 NE 04,


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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