Moated site at Church Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013356

Date first listed: 25-Jul-1990


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ashton Keynes

National Grid Reference: SU 04202 94261


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.

Although a large number of moated sites are known in England, relatively few survive in Wiltshire. This site is particularly important as it has good documentary sources illustrating the sites historic connections. The site survives well and is situated adjacent to what is considered a contemporary church building. The site has high potential for the continued recovery of archaeological remains. These should include not only surface finds but also structural remains and other archaeological features.


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


The monument includes a large rectangular moated site surrounding Church Farm. The site is orientated north-south and has maximum external dimensions of 175m north-south by 125m east-west. The island has dimensions of c.140m by 100m and is surrounded on all but the west side by a ditch 15-20m wide and between 1 and 1.5m deep. During summer the moat is partly dry (to the east and north) and partly damp (to the south) although it does fill up in winter. Parallel and external to the south side of the moat, but for only two-thirds the length, is a linear depression similar in construction to the ditch; this is considered to be a fishpond. Numerous casual finds, including pottery and metalwork, have come from the interior of the site confirming occupation during the medieval period. Sixteenth century documents suggest that the site was a possession of Tewkesbury Abbey. It is believed that the site was the head of the manor of Ashton, left by King Alfred to his daughter, from where it passed on to Tewkesbury Abbey. It has also been suggested that Church Farm was the site of a Nunnery, although except for the association with Tewkesbury Abbey, there is little to support this idea. Certainly, the remains of the monument are more typical of a manor than a nunnery. Church Farm and the listed farm buildings on the site are excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath these buildings 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: 12065

Legacy System: RSM


Bowley, AK, Location: Church Farm,
Dennison, E and Darvill, T, HBMC Monument Class Description - Moats, 1988,

End of official listing