Tilsworth Manor moated site

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013452

Date first listed: 17-Oct-1990

Map

Ordnance survey map of Tilsworth Manor moated site
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Location

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

District: Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Tilsworth

National Grid Reference: SP 97623 24170

Summary

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.

Tilsworth Manor moated site is important in terms of both the survival of upstanding buildings, including the very fine 15th century stone gatehouse, and the presence of historical documentation concerning the earlier phases of the manorial site's construction and development.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a Medieval moated enclosure surrounding the upstanding remains of Tilsworth Manor. The enclosure is rectangular in shape measuring some 70m by 90m inclusive of the 10m wide surrounding water-filled moat. The interior edge of the moat has been revetted by sheet piling supporting the inner edge of the island. The outer edge of the moat has been lined with concrete at the south-west corner and is partially revetted in wood elsewhere. Entrance to the island was originally across a drawbridge guarded by a 15th century stone gatehouse. The drawbridge has subsequently been replaced by a brick bridge which is excluded from the scheduling. The gatehouse is suitably protected as a grade II* listed building and is excluded from the scheduling. The moated island is also occupied by the upstanding remains of Tilsworth Manor, a grade II listed building. The present house has been extensively altered in the 19th and 20th centuries, with other parts dating from at least as early as the 17th century. The foundations of the building and stone-lined cellar of the house are considered to date to the 15th century. The walls and out-houses between the house and gatehouse are relatively modern. A modern footbridge (excluded from the scheduling) crosses the east arm of the moat. All the upstanding structures on the island and courtyard surfaces are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath the structures is included as it thought likely to preserve the remains of earlier buildings and features (these include the remains of a stone oven and malthouse recorded in 1483-4). The remainder of the island is level and under grass.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 11554

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Rickards, V, Thunder, C, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1912), 432-3
Other
Schneider, J, The Manor of Tilsworth, unpublished local history text

End of official listing