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Moated site and associated enclosure at Rectory Farm

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Moated site and associated enclosure at Rectory Farm

List entry Number: 1009451


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hertfordshire

District: North Hertfordshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Pirton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 03-Sep-1992

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 20648

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 monument at Rectory Farm is unusual in that it has a double island, one possibly having been for habitation, the other for horticulture. Despite some infilling of the ditches and the construction of the 17th century farmhouse, the monument survives well and evidence of the original medieval structure that occupied the site survives on the island. Additionally, the ditches will retain environmental evidence relating to the occupation of the site and the economy of its inhabitants.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a moated site at Rectory Farm, situated on the flood plain of the River Hiz, 2km north of the Icknield Way. The monument includes a square shaped moat measuring 80m NW-SE by 75m SW-NE. The moat arms vary between 3m and 10m in width and are all seasonally waterlogged except the north-western arm which is constantly waterfilled. The south-western corner of the moat has been infilled and the 17th century farmhouse, a Grade II* Listed Building, now occupies this area. An internal bank, c.0.5m in height and 3m in width, can be identified along the north-eastern and north-western arms of the moat. To the north-east, and adjoining this moat, is another moated enclosure which measures 70m NW-SE by 160m SW-NE. The moat arms are of similar dimensions to those of the adjoining enclosure and are all dry with the exception of the north-western arm. The south-east side of the moat abuts the road and there is no trace of the moat arm on this side. The moated system was once fed by a stream which runs into the north-western corner of the whole complex. The house, paths, drains and fences are all excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath all these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

2221, Information from SMR (2221),

National Grid Reference: TL 14181 32000


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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009451 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 20-Sep-2018 at 01:47:14.

End of official listing