Manor Farm Iron Age univallate hillfort and medieval moated enclosure.


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


Ordnance survey map of Manor Farm Iron Age univallate hillfort and medieval moated enclosure.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 26-May-2019 at 05:13:38.


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

Bedford (Unitary Authority)
Bolnhurst and Keysoe
National Grid Reference:
TL 08420 59694, TL 08491 59856

Reasons for Designation

Slight univallate hillforts are a rare class of monument with only c.150 examples surviving nationally. The majority were constructed and used in the latter Bronze Age and earliest Iron Age (12th-6th centuries BC). From the slight nature of these sites, with their ramparted enclosure and single ditch, it has been suggested that they functioned as stock enclosures or redistribution centres rather than as defended settlements, although they may have served both purposes in times of crisis. The overall scarcity of these sites, especially in lowland England, indicates that all examples, even where damaged, are of national importance. The Manor Farm site is a good surviving example with parts of the rampart still visible as a distinctive earthwork and most of the outline of the ditch circuit preserved. The interior, especially, in the Southern area unaffected by more recent building, shows high potential for the recovery of archaeological remains. The Manor Farm site is made more unusual by the existence of a medieval moat which occupies part of the earlier hillfort. The moat lies in the northern half of the hillfort and its wide water- filled ditch clearly exploits the former Iron Age enclosure ditch. Moats are often characterised by high status domestic or religious buildings. Around 6000 examples are scattered throughout England with most dating from the medieval period. They may exhibit a high diversity in their forms and sizes. As such they make up a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside.


The monument includes the remains of an Iron Age hillfort and medieval moated enclosure. The Iron Age hillfort (650 BC to AD 43) is delineated by an irregular shaped earthwork formed by a single ditch and bank. The ditch survives on the north, north-west and south sides having been largely infilled in other areas. The internal bank or rampart is visible on all but the east side as a 25 m. wide 1 m. high earthwork which has been reduced by cultivation in recent years. The interior is likely to contain buildings and associated occupation deposits. The medieval moated enclosure is located within the northern part of the hillfort, making use of the existing ditches north of Church Lane. The area enclosed measures some 110 m. east-west. The western part of the ditch is water filled and measures about 5 m. across, elsewhere it has been largely levelled. The triangular pond in the northern area is thought to be of medieval or post medieval type although the numerous low earthworks in this area may date from either the Iron Age or medieval Periods. The remains of a small rectangular moated outwork can be seen to the north of the main enclosure. This outwork is thought to form part of the medieval moated complex. The post medieval farmhouse, barns and modern bungalows within the moated enclosure are excluded from the scheduling. Church Lane is also excluded, dividing the monument into two separate scheduled areas.

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
Goddard, A R, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1904), 275-6
Goddard, A R, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1904), 275-6
Brown, A, 'Fieldwork for Archaeologists and Local Historians' in Bolnhurst, (1987)
Brown, A, 'Fieldwork for Archaeologists and Local Historians' in Bolnhurst, (1987), 72-3
CRO 5/2/74, Simco, A, The Camp, Bolnhurst, (1974)
CRO 5/2/74, Simco, A, The Camp, Bolnhurst, (1974)


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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