Moated site in Pegsdon Belt


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009587

Date first listed: 21-Dec-1992


Ordnance survey map of Moated site in Pegsdon Belt
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 17:56:53.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Shillington

National Grid Reference: TL 11593 30402


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 moat in Pegsdon Belt is a good example of a type of small rectangular moat. Despite being heavily overgrown, the monument is well preserved retaining environmental evidence in the waterlogged silt of the ditch and building remains on the island. Also the monument is located in an area where there are numerous well-preserved moats, potentially enabling chronological and social variations between sites to be examined.


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


The monument includes a sub-rectangular moated site situated at the foot of the north-facing scarp of the Chilterns. The northern and eastern arms of the moat or ditch are at right-angles to each other and are each about 60m in length. The western arm is 65m long and the southern arm is only about 25m long. The eastern arm is up to 10m wide but elsewhere the width is about 7m. The depth of the ditch varies between about 1m at the north-west corner to 2m at the south-east. The moat contains water which drains via a stream in the north-east corner and is supplied by a natural spring (this ready source of water would have been an important factor determining the original choice of the site). Along the western arm there is an outer bank which is roughly 7m wide and 0.5m high. Contained within the moat is an island which measures some 45m by 38m and is raised by about 0.5m above the surrounding ground, at least on the north side. Although no buildings are visible, sherds of pottery, tile fragments and traces of domestic refuse around the edges of the island attest to their survival as buried remains.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number: 20427

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Howlitson, M, Moated Sites Survey, (1980)
Mr P. Ashley-Cooper, (1991)
P.A.S., Ordnance Survey Record, (1973)
Title: Beds. CRO: MA43 Enclosure map Source Date: 1817 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Series TL 13 SW Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing