Greensbury Farm moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009577

Date first listed: 18-Feb-1992


Ordnance survey map of Greensbury Farm moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bolnhurst and Keysoe

National Grid Reference: TL 07356 59014

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.

Greensbury Farm moat is one of the largest in Bedfordshire and is located in a particularly dense area of medieval rural settlement. The waterlogged silts of the moat arms provide ideal conditions for the survival of organic remains while the buildup of the interior will preserve the contemporary medieval landsurface.


The monument is a large moated site, over 1ha in area, lying adjacent to Greensbury Farm. The moat is situated above the 70m contour on the top of a plateau which is drained by streams flowing south to the River Ouse. The moat ditch is generally 5m wide by 2.5m deep and encloses an island measuring 150m east-west by 80m north-south. The moat ditch holds standing water on its western arm and the remaining arms are partially waterlogged and deeply silted. The western arm forms a pond which has recently been re-excavated and is now roughly rectangular, measuring about 15m x 10m. Access to the island is via a causeway in the north west corner. Traces of an outer bank can be seen, especially on the north side of the site where it is about 5m wide and 0.5m high. The surface of the island is slightly raised above the surrounding land. The material used to create the bank and to level the interior will include spoil generated during the digging of the ditch in medieval times.

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: 11540

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1912)
Field, K., 2527/2 + 4; 2715/17 + 18, (1984)
J R L, (1974)
Sale Catalogue, Clapham Park Estate, (1831)

End of official listing