Bradwell Bury: a moated site and associated manor house remains at Moat House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011298

Date first listed: 04-Nov-1993


Ordnance survey map of Bradwell Bury: a moated site and associated manor house remains at Moat House
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 10:42:20.


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

District: Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bradwell

National Grid Reference: SP 83005 39619


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.

The moated site at Moat House, Old Bradwell, despite being disturbed by later garden landscaping, survives well with the position and extent of the later phase moat recognisable and its central platform comparatively well preserved. There is evidence for the survival of buried structures in this central area, wall foundations having been revealed during gardening activity. Cultural artefacts are also likely to survive, evidenced by a chance find of a medieval pilgrim flask. The location is a proven focus of medieval occupation with excavation of the area to the immediate north of the site having established a period of occupation from the 11th to the 17th century, including a 13th-14th century manor house. The moat lies midway between two other surviving medieval monuments, Bradwell Priory to the west and Bradwell motte and bailey to the east. Considered as a group these three sites offer the possibility of a detailed insight into an area intensively settled in the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a moated site and the remains of an associated manor house which once formed part of a more extensive monument, some of which has been removed by excavation and subsequent landscaping. It lies at the top of the gentle east facing slope of the valley of the Bradwell Brook. The surviving moated enclosure is 60m square and surrounds Moat House. The moat ditch has been disturbed by garden landscaping but remains visible as an earthwork around the north, west and south sides, where its outside slope survives largely intact and portions of its inside slope can be recognised. From this surviving evidence it appears to have averaged 7m wide and in excess of 1.3m deep. The southern arm of the moat extends for some 12m beyond its junction with the western arm. This may be original or may be the result of later landscaping. The eastern arm of the moat can no longer be recognised as a surface feature, having been infilled within living memory; it does however survive as a buried feature. The central moat platform, the central area of which is occupied by Moat House, has been reduced in area on the south side by garden landscaping but elsewhere survives intact and largely undisturbed. It measures some 40m east to west by 23m north to south, is level, and is raised slightly above the surrounding land surfaces. Finds made during gardening activity on the platform have included a medieval pilgrim flask and substantial wall footings. Rescue excavations in 1975, in advance of a landscaping development of the area adjacent to the northern arm of the moat, and outside the boundary of Moat House garden, revealed the existence of an associated complex of medieval buildings and structures spanning in time from the 11th century to the 17th century. The excavations demonstrated that the existing moated enclosure had once been larger, extending to the north to enclose an area roughly double its size. The extent of the present moated enclosure is believed to represent a contraction in size during a late phase of occupation. Most of the works to the north were destroyed by landscaping following the archaeological investigation. However the remains of a substantial building of some importance, interpreted as the early manor house, survive as a buried feature. This building was of limestone construction, measured 22m east to west, and had a roughly central cross wall dividing it into two. The west room had dimensions of 4.2m by 8.7m, with a doorway in the south wall, a hearth east of centre, and a garderobe at its south-west corner. The larger east room was 11.7m long but of uncertain width, the south wall having been destroyed by the north arm of the surviving moat. Finds from within the building were of 13th to 14th century date. The building was re-buried after excavation and lies immediately outside the northern boundary of Moat House. The Moat House itself is listed as a Grade II building and is of 17th century origin. There is a date stone over the main doorway bearing the inscription T M 1784. This is believed to relate to Thomas Mercer who acquired the Manor of Bradwell in the mid-18th century and re-built or restored the house. Excluded from the scheduling is the listed building, all modern buildings and structures, all boundary features and metalled surfaces, although 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: 19079

Legacy System: RSM


Card no 3623,
Conversation with owner,
Filed with SMR 3623, Mynard, D, Bradwell Bury, (1975)

End of official listing