Birchfield Farm moated site and associated fishponds and leats


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010864

Date first listed: 13-Dec-1978

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Mar-1991


Ordnance survey map of Birchfield Farm moated site and associated fishponds and leats
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010864 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 15:25:25.


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

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Great Barford

National Grid Reference: TL 12105 54061


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.

Birchfield Farm moated enclosure survives in fine condition and displays a diversity of features. The significance of the site is enhanced by the presence of well-preserved leats and ponds indicating carefully controlled water management strategies linked with the function of the moat.


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


The monument includes the remains of a Medieval moated enclosure and its associated ponds and leats. The moated enclosure is rectangular in shape with maximum dimensions of 100m by 85m inclusive of the 14m wide surrounding moat. A small stream connects with the north-west angle of the moat via a short inflow channel. Upstanding remains within the moated enclosure include a low internal bank around the edge of the island, a water-filled pond in the south-west corner and a rectangular platform on the south side of the island. The platform is interpreted as the site of the original 12th century manorial building. Immediately to the east of the moat are the remains of two ponds and their associated supply and outflow channels. The ponds are believed to have been constructed as fishponds to supply the manor with a convenient source of food. A series of slight cultivation earthworks not included in the scheduling can be seen in the field to the west.

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: 11532

Legacy System: RSM


Annotated map NAR records, (BHRS), (1964)
BHS survey, (1971)
NAR Record (1971), (1971)
Newnan Priory cartulery, (VCH III), (1912)

End of official listing