Manor Farm moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012360

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1992


Ordnance survey map of Manor Farm moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Bedford (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Cardington

National Grid Reference: TL 09952 45690


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 Cardington is one of the largest in Bedfordshire. The monument is very well preserved and displays a diversity of features, including the remains of internal buildings of the post-medieval period, causeways and fishponds. The island is essentially undisturbed and will retain evidence relating to the use of the site from the 16th century onwards.


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


The moat at Manor Farm, Cardington is situated in the valley of the Bedford Ouse on generally flat ground about 1km from the foot of the Greensand ridge. The moat consists of a ditch, about 10m wide by 2.5m deep, enclosing a sub- rectangular island of about 1.8ha. the moat does not hold any depth of water but the bottom is damp and waterlogged. The island measures 185m by up to 115m and a bank runs around the internal edge of the moat. The bank is most obvious at the north-western corner of the island where it is about 0.5m high, and 7m wide. An external bank, about 7m wide and in places 0.5m high, can be seen clearly on three arms of the moat but not on the north-east arm. Two causeways, crossing the moat on its north-eastern and south-eastern sides respectively, give access to the interior. The main crossing on the north- eastern side carries a trackway which runs from Southill Road and is made of red brick and limestone masonry. Within the island are two large ponds located close to the north-western arm of the moat. The ponds are of similar size, measuring about 25m across and at least 2m deep, and both contain standing water. The eastern pond is linked to the moat by means of a short leat; the western pond is completely separate. Foundations of large red-brick structures can be traced in the south-eastern corner of the island and documents record that timber frame and brick buildings, dating to the Tudor period (16th century), were standing in this area of the moated enclosure until their demolition in the 1950s. The metalled surface of the trackway leading across the main causeway is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it 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: 20401

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Bedfordshire Magazine' in Bedfordshire Magazine: Volume 5, (1957)
Hunting, 11/2539-40, (1974)
Hunting, 11/5988-90, (1968)
RAF, K/2169/3052; 41/148/3083-5,

End of official listing