Moated site, fishpond and associated earthworks 150m west of Loughton Manor


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


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

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 83859 37480

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 Loughton survives in an excellent state of preservation and is a fine example of its class. The attached fishpond, leats and surrounding early fields will allow a detailed understanding of the water management system employed and how it functioned as a part of the early field drainage system. The stock enclosure provides evidence for a changing emphasis of agricultural practices, while the later building platforms with their associated leats allow further understanding of how the same water supply was later used as a source of power. Archaeological material relating to a long period of occupation and a changing emphasis of land use will survive over an extensive part of the site. Environmental evidence relating to the changing landscape conditions in which various elements were constructed and functioned may also survive beneath the various banks and in ditch fills.


The monument includes a moated site, associated fishpond, a representative sample of a surrounding field system, later building platforms and a stock enclosure. The moated site is situated on the gentle north-facing slope of a small valley, orientated NNE to SSW, and measures overall 40m square with clearly defined ditches averaging 6m wide and 1.3m deep. The north and east sides of the moat are flanked by low outer banks up to 8m wide and 0.5m high. The top of the central platform lies at the same level as the surrounding natural land surface and is 20m square with a level and undisturbed surface. Attached to the south side of the moat and at a slightly lower level is a large dry fishpond; it measures overall 42m NNE to SSW by 30m transversely and is terraced into the hillslope 0.6m deep on its west side and 1.3m deep on its east side. Outer banks flank these west and east sides and are respectively 0.7m and 0.4m high. Running immediately along the western side is a shallow ditch 4m wide and 0.2m deep which appears to be a by-pass leat feeding into the moat; this was supplied by a small stream which was a flowing surface stream in 1975 but is now culverted at the south west corner of the fishpond. The main supply to the fishpond appears to have been from ditches draining the ridge and furrow to the south and east, feeding into the south east corner of the pond through a well defined channel. The fishpond appears to have been linked to the moat at their respective north west and south west corners where there are indications of a possible sluice. A second possible sluice site at the north west corner of the moat links it with a northern extension of the west arm of the moat. This runs for 34m and is 6m wide and 0.5m deep and functioned as an overflow channel for the moat. A narrow channel 1m wide, the possible position of a third sluice, lies at the north east corner of the pond linking the interior with a stream to the north of the site. Between the moat and fishpond in the west and Loughton Manor in the east, are a series of earthworks of medieval and post medieval date, comprising the remains of building platforms with associated crofts and linear field boundaries. Seven building platforms have been identified, all of which lie adjacent to the old course of the Loughton Brook, the brook having been re-routed to its current position in the 1930s. The platforms themselves are rectangular in shape and are of an average size of 12m by 10m. One has been positively identified by finds from its exposed surface as being of late medieval date. Each of the platforms is surrounded by a rectangular croft, the boundaries of which are formed by shallow ditches or leats often interlinked and discharging into the old Loughton Brook. These buildings have, as a result of the emphasis on water management, been interpreted as being associated with some industrial process based on water power. At the western extent of the site, there are north to south orientated earthworks representing ridge and furrow cultivation, extensive traces of which can be recognised to the south averaging 8m wide and 0.2m high. Overlying these are the remains of a similarly aligned later enclosure. It comprises two parallel linear banks some 60m long spaced at some 20m distance, closed at the north and south ends and partitioned by cross-banks. It has been interpreted as representing the remains of a medieval stock enclosure, possibly for lambing, constructed on an amalgamation of strip holdings. All modern structures and field boundary features are excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath 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:


Held in SMR, Woodfield, C, Loughton Earthworks report and survey,


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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