Apsley Bury moated site and fishpond, south of Apsley End


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 11848 32358

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 at Apsley Bury Farm is a well preserved example of a type of smaller rectangular moat retaining a high archaeological potential with building remains on the interior of the moat and silt deposits in the moat ditch and fishpond from which environmental evidence may be recovered. The monument also lies in an area where smaller moated sites are particularly numerous and therefore chronological and social variations between sites may be explored.


Apsley Bury is a small rectangular moat with a large fishpond adjoining it to the east. The moat ditch is about 10m wide and varies in depth between 1.5m on the eastern arm to 4m on the western arm. The southern arm holds some water. An outer bank, some 4m wide by nearly 0.5m high, runs parallel to the northern arm. Enclosed by the moat is an island roughly 60m square on which the below ground remains of buildings are attested by fragments of tile and stone found at the west side. Although the north-east corner of the moat is partially infilled and landscaped, the eastern edge of the moat is preserved as a scarp in front of the existing farm house. The scarp also marks the west side of a depression about 1.5m deep and roughly 40m square, which is considered to be a large fishpond originally fed by water draining from the moat. The northern edge of the pond is marked by a steep scarp in the adjacent paddock but the southern and eastern limits lie beneath agricultural buildings. The pond is now drained but the bottom of the depression is boggy. Documentary evidence shows that the moat existed before 1777. The farmhouse and two brick and timber outbuildings within the moat, the agricultural buildings on the pond, the fence of the paddock to the north, and the metalled surface of the driveway are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Howlitson, M, Moated Sites Survey, (1980)
Dyer, J F, 'Bedfordshire Magazine' in Beds. Mag. 1961-3, , Vol. 8, (1961)
Beds CRO L 33/13/4, (1777)
Mrs Cole,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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