Palaceyard Wood medieval moated enclosure and associated enclosures, woodland bank and cultivation earthworks

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010948

Date first listed: 12-Apr-1991

Map

Ordnance survey map of Palaceyard Wood medieval moated enclosure and associated enclosures, woodland bank and cultivation earthworks
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Great Barford

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden

National Grid Reference: TL 13050 54449

Summary

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.

Palaceyard Wood preserves an exceptional and rare medieval complex, comprising a well-preserved moated enclosure of unusual circular form and its associated field-systems, closes and enclosures.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval moat and associated enclosures, woodland bank and cultivation earthworks. The moated site is located in the centre of the Palaceyard Wood and is a roughly circular in shape measuring about 70m in maximum diameter including the surrounding water-filled moat which is between 6m and 12m wide. The island is slightly raised above the surrounding area, with the remains of prominent outer ramparts visible on the western edge of the ditch. An outflow channel runs to the north with a further channel and an embanked ditch to the west leading away from the moat. The moated enclosure is the focal point of a complex of some 14 associated enclosures defined by banks, ditches and scarps. Some of the enclosures have been sub-divided to form smaller closes or fields. The interior of one of them at the north-east corner of the site is also covered by low narrow ridge and furrows, thought to be relict cultivation earthworks. The largest enclosure covers the whole of the southern part of the wood and probably marks the original boundary of the medieval woodland and may pre-date the moated site. This woodland enclosure is itself enclosed by a small copse bank marking the edge of the post 1813 enclosured woodlands.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 11536

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of : Volume III, (1912), 221
'JBAA' in Brixworth and its Monastery Church, (1979), 178-9
Wadmore, B, 'Earthworks of Beds.' in Palaceyard Wood, Roxton, (1920), 170
Other
CRO: MA 44, Enclosure Map (1813),
SMR 816, Taylor, C C, Palaceyard Wood, Roxton, Beds., (1987)
SMR note on Domesday records, Simco A, SMR note on Domesday records, (1985)
SMR ref 11, Simco A, SMR ref 11, (1986)
SMR report, Taylor, C C, Palaceyard, Roxton, Beds, (1981)

End of official listing