Chawston Manor moated site and associated fishpond


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010114

Date first listed: 19-Oct-1990

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Nov-1994


Ordnance survey map of Chawston Manor moated site and associated fishpond
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden

National Grid Reference: TL 15121 56125


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 and landscaping, Chawston Manor remains a well-preserved example of a small rectangular moated site, with surviving features relating to water-management and evidence of a subsidiary enclosure. The silts within the ditches and the water-logged deposits in the fishpond will contain environmental and artefactual evidence related to the occupation of the site; and, despite some disturbance caused by later constructions, the island will retain the buried remains of earlier buildings. The major part of the western enclosure is undisturbed and will also retain buried archaeological features. Chawston Manor forms one of a pair of moated sites in the vicinity of Wyboston. This proximity will allow chronological and social comparisons between the two sites. Documentary evidence concerning the history of Chawston Manor moated site further enhances its importance.


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


Chawston Manor lies to the east of the Great North Road approximately 1km to the north of the village of Roxton. The site is in a valley floor location just to the north of the South Brook close to its confluence with the River Great Ouse. The monument includes the remains of a medieval moated enclosure, and an associated fishpond and supply channel forming the south and west sides of a subsidiary enclosure. The principal moated enclosure in the eastern part of the monument is rectangular measuring some 56m north to south by 75m east to west, inclusive of the 8m wide dry surrounding moat. The inner edge of the moat has been the subject of recent garden landscaping along its southern and south eastern sides. Entrance to the island is provided by modern footbridges over the eastern and western arms of the moat. The surface of the island is raised 1m- 2m higher than the surrounding area. The interior is occupied by Chawston Manor, a Grade II Listed Building. The upstanding structure is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included as it is thought likely to preserve remains of earlier buildings and features. The name Chawston Manor is identified with the site in records dating back to 1302, and early medieval pottery, including green-glazed Stamford Ware, has been found within the island to the north west of the manor building. A 0.2m high outer bank is visible along the northern arm of the moat extending some 2m from the ditch edge. On the south side of the moated enclosure a series of undulations between the moat and the road are thought to mark associated cultivation earthworks (ridge and furrow). A water-filled pond immediately south west of the moat is considered to be a related fishpond. The fishpond was connected to the south west corner of the moat by a leat visible as a slight hollow connecting the two features. The supply channel runs roughly north from the western end of the fishpond, on the same alignment as the western arm of the moated enclosure. A slight 2m wide bank is visible extending from midway along the eastern side of the supply channel to align with the external bank on the northern arm of the moat. The surface within the enclosure formed by this bank, the channel, the fishpond and the moat, is about 0.7m lower than the ground to the north. Chawston Manor, both bridges leading to the island, all fences, fence posts and the surfaces of paths are 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. 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: 11555

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Kennett, , Roxton: Chawston Manor, (1972)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1908)
Aldsworth, F G, Ordnance Survey Record, (1968)
Notes with Map extract (SMR 475), Tebutt, C.F., Ordnance Survey, (1969)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 revision Source Date: 1968 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing