Moated site at Astwood Road, 200m east of Boxhedge Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009594

Date first listed: 03-Jul-1992


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Astwood Road, 200m east of Boxhedge Farm
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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: Cranfield

National Grid Reference: SP 96299 45339

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 altered, the moat at Astwood Road is still relatively well- preserved. Its close proximity to other similar moated sites in the area may enable chronological and social variations between sites to be explored, thus giving an indication of rural land management in the medieval period.


The monument includes a moat which lies close to the top of a hill in an area of undulating countryside. The moat is pentagonal, being bounded by partially waterfilled ditches which are between 4m and 6m wide by about 1m deep. The north-eastern arm of the ditch, perpendicular to the road, is 50m long and the south-eastern arm, alongside the road is 30m long. The remaining three arms are 40m long. There is a 10m long eastwards projection of the ditch in the eastern corner where a gently sloping bottom forms a ramp down into the ditch. A 12m length of the roadside arm has been infilled to give a causeway onto the island. There is no visible causeway on the north-west arm. Contained within the moat is an island which has maximum dimensions of 54m by 44m and is fairly level with the surrounding fields. Any surviving surface features have been covered over by rubble dumped on the site in recent years. Although the present owner reports that the surface of the island and the western arms of the moat have been slightly altered over the years this is not thought to have been very extensive. The moat is shown in its present form on the 1840 Enclosure map. The monument is interpreted as the site of a medieval dwelling and it is one of three similar sites in the area.

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: 20437

Legacy System: RSM


Grimes, Mr T W , (1991)
N.K.B., Ordnance Survey Record, (1972)
Taylor, A, (1973)
Title: Beds CRO: MA77, Enclosure Award Map Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey Survey revision Source Date: 1974 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing