Moated site at Balsdon Farm
- 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.
- West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SU 36254 65468
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.
Although a large number of moated sites are known, relatively few survive in Berkshire. This example is particularly important as it survives well and has high potential for the survival of archaeological or palaeoenvironmental evidence. This is demonstrated by the recovery of fragmentary brick and tile as well as quantities of medieval pottery.
The monument includes a circular water-filled moat immediately north-east of
Balsdon Farm. The moat has an external diameter of 75m with a causeway on the
south-west side. The moat survives to a width of between 8 and 12m and
encloses an area c.50m across. Originally the earthwork surrounded the 13th
century manor house of Balsdon. A deep well, formerly within the house, was
recognisable in 1870 but has since been filled in. Much medieval pottery was
found on the interior in 1958. A quantity of fragmentary brick and tile can
still be seen.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Berkshire: Volume IV, (1924), 206
'Transactions of the Newbury and District Field Club' in Trans Newbury and District FC, (1870), 132-4
Dennison, E and Darvill, T, HBMC Monument Class Description - Moats, 1988,
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