Moat Hills moated site, Bentley


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.

Doncaster (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SE 57241 06064

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.

Moat Hills, Bentley, with its well preserved earthworks, is a good example of this type of monument. As a site with two islands, it is atypical and unusual for this area of England. The size of the site, along with the indications of substantial stone buildings, revetment walling and a gatehouse, combine to indicate this was a site of considerable importance, probably the site of a manor house. In addition to the extensive surviving remains on the enclosed islands, organic and palaeoenvironmental remains will be well preserved in the waterlogged moat.


The monument comprises two islands surrounded by a substantial moat and divided by a ditch running north west to south east. The eastern island measures c.70m x 70m and the western c.60m x 60m. The latter has a shallow, marshy depression in its western angle which represents a former fishpond and a low platform in the eastern angle. Grass- covered stone footings run in parallel banks, west to east across the north corner. A causeway crosses the central ditch, linking the two islands, and grass-covered rubble piled nearby is believed to be the remains of a gatehouse. The eastern island has a low bank along the line of the central ditch, suggesting a revetment wall which may also have continued round the north side, though here the bank does not survive so well. As on the western island, low banks of grass-covered stone run parallel west to east and a substantial E-shaped earthwork, with traces of a bank closing one section, exists in the east corner, indicating building foundations measuring c.30m x 25m. The moat is partially water-filled to the north, west and east but is largely buried beneath a tip to the south. Channels coming into the moat from the north west and east are inlet and outlet ditches. Earthworks within the northernmost of these, close to its confluence with the moat, are interpreted as the position of a dam or sluice. Excluded from the scheduling are the stays of a telegraph pole and sections of post and wire fencing, though the ground beneath is included.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Allen, T, History of Yorkshire, (1831)
Hunter, J, South Yorkshire , (1831)
Le Patourel, H E J, Moated site of Yorkshire, (1973)
Magilton, J, The Doncaster District, (1977)
Miller, E , The History and Antiquities of Doncaster, (1804)


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

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