Moated site at Fawns Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Fawns Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 05-Jun-2020 at 10:41:50.


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

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NZ 00723 85342

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 moated site at Fawns is exceptionally well preserved and is one of few surviving examples in Northumberland. The site displays a wide range of features including associated buildings on the internal island. The re-entrant of the ditch at the north-east corner indicates the existence of an earlier phase of settlement.


The monument includes a medieval moated site situated adjacent to the present farm. The moated site is roughly rectangular in shape with a rounded northern end, and is orientated north-west to south-east; it measures 120m by 95m within a broad flat bottomed ditch 6m wide. There is a large stoney external bank which stands to 1.8m above the bottom of the ditch and an internal bank standing to 1.2m above the bottom of the ditch. The internal bank has been faced with roughly coursed stonework. The interior of the moated site contains the remains of at least four slightly raised rectangular building platforms situated on the western side of the enclosure, and traces of several associated enclosure walls. The largest building platform is 25m by 10m and is thought to be the site of the bastle known to exist at Fawns in 1541. The entrance to the moated site is in the north-west corner where a deep hollow way enters the enclosure. An interesting feature of this monument is the curious bend or re-entrant in the surrounding ditch at the north-east corner of the moated site; this is suggestive of an earlier structure on the site. The earliest mention of Fawns in documentary sources is in a reference to John de Fawnes in 1303, and Fawns is again recorded in 1421 as a part of the manor of Wallington. At the southern end of the site are at least two rectangular hollowed out enclosures, one lies within the moated site at the south-west corner while the other is a later feature attached to the southern end of the site; these are thought to be the sites of fishponds.

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.

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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.

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