Gannocks Castle moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013419

Date first listed: 13-Dec-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Mar-1991


Ordnance survey map of Gannocks Castle moated site
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1013419 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 03:11:05.


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

District: Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Tempsford

National Grid Reference: TL 16045 52935


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.

Gannocks Castle is a well-preserved example of a defensive moated enclosure with important earlier historical connections. The substantial inner earthworks indicate the defensive nature of the site and are evidence of its overall good surviving condition.


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


The monument includes the remains of the Medieval moated enclosure of Gannocks Castle. The moated site is rectangular in form measuring some 65m by 55m including the 10m wide surrounding moat. The moat is some 2.5m deep and water-filled along its northern arm. Entrance to the interior is provided by a slight causeway at the north-east corner. A substantial inner bank or rampart is visible around the edge of the island on all but the east side. A small mound measuring 7m across is located at the north-east corner of the island and may be the location of a defensive building or structure opposite the entrance. A low bank is evident along the outer eastern edge of the moat although its central section is only barely visible. The site is believed to be built on the same spot as an earlier Danish Fortress referred to in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle as being constructed in 921 AD and captured later that year by Edward the Elder.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 11533

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1908)
Cambridge AP index (RT 82-4 TL 160 529),
SMR Record sheet,

End of official listing