Moated site at Church Panel


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009591

Date first listed: 11-Jan-1965

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jul-1992


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Church Panel
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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 11869 35001


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.

Although partially damaged by drainage activity, the moat at Church Panel retains a high potential for the recovery of environmental and archaeological evidence from silts of the ditches and the material of the banks. Despite some quarrying on the interior, a major part of the island is undisturbed and will retain the remains of any buildings. The monument lies in an area where moated sites are particularly numerous, potentially enabling chronological and social variations between sites to be explored; the considered Danish origin of the site further enhances its importance.


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


The monument at Church Panel is a `D'-shaped moated site about 160m by 120m in size and situated on the south-western end of a low promontory. The southern and western arms of the moat follow the natural contours so that the interior of the moat is 0.5m or so higher than the exterior. The ditch is between 8m and 15m wide and is strengthened by a 0.7m high outer bank which is up to 8m wide. A slight inner bank is also apparent on the western arm. The north-eastern arm runs straight across the promontory; here the ditch is deeper, carrying a diverted stream, and there are no banks. The eastern half of the island is artificially raised by about 2m and on top of this plateau is a rectangular building platform, measuring about 12m by 15m. A 2m deep pit on the lower western half of the island is an old quarry. An infilled ditch, about 10m wide, runs adjacent to the western arm of the moat on a north-south alignment. This was essentially a drain but also afforded a further strengthening of the moat. The monument is considered to be the site of a later medieval moated manor house, probably associated with a medieval village whose remains lie at Lower Gravenhurst, but it also potentially has earlier origins as a Danish earthwork, established for the defence of the Danelaw frontier.

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: 20423

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire: Volume I, (1904)
Wadmore, B, The Earthworks of Bedfordshire, (1920)
Dyer, J, 'Archaeology and the Landscape' in Earthworks of the Danelaw Frontier, (1972)
Clarke, A., Ordnance Survey Record, (1963)
N.K.B., Ordnance Survey Record, (1972)
Simco, A, (1991)

End of official listing