Moated site 200m north west of Chalfont Lodge

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014602

Date first listed: 25-Jul-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Moated site 200m north west of Chalfont Lodge
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Location

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

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Chiltern (District Authority)

Parish: Chalfont St. Peter

National Grid Reference: TQ 01240 90085

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.

The moated site 200m north west of Chalfont Lodge is a well preserved example of a single island type. Its size and simplicity of design suggests a specialised use, also implied by the manorial history and local topography. The island will retain archaeological evidence for the building which the moat was designed to enhance, its status and period of occupation reflected by artefacts buried both here and within the silts of the surrounding ditch. Environmental evidence illustrating the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set, which would be a highly significant factor in determining the function of the site, will survive both in the old ground surface sealed beneath the raised level of the island and in material in the lower fills of the ditch.

History

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

Details

The moated site lies within the Gerrards Cross Golf Course, situated on the edge of a broad plateau above the western slopes of the Misbourne Valley, to the south east of the village of Chalfont St Peter.

The moated enclosure is square in plan and relatively small, measuring only c.34m along the outer edges of the surrounding ditch. The ditch itself varies between 0.7m and 1.1m in depth and has steep sloping sides leading to a level base which varies between 6m and 12m in width. The base is seasonally wet and contains deep deposits of accumulated humus and silt. A circular depression, c.2m in diameter, in the western corner of the ditch may have originally tapped the water table and served as a well during dry conditions, perhaps flooding the moat at other times. The island measures some 15m across and is also square, although set slightly north east of centre in respect of the area of the moat, thereby accounting for the variations in the width of the surrounding ditch. The surface of the island is raised by some 0.5m above the level of its surroundings, presumably using the upcast from the excavation of the moat, and slight undulations on this surface indicate the position of buried structural remains. There is no evidence for a causeway, and access to the island is believed to have been provided by a timber bridge, probably spanning the narrowest, north eastern arm of the moat.

The site has not been excavated, and precise details of date and function remain to be established. It is too small for any sizeable dwelling and therefore probably acted as a subsidiary holding of one of the medieval manors in the parish, probably one of the two larger manors (Chalfont Manor and Bulstrode Manor), or a small estate held by the Knights Templar in the 13th century from their manor of Temple Bulstrode in Hedgeley. The site's size and position, on the other hand, suggest that it could have been used as a small and conveniently placed hunting lodge, perhaps related to the rights of free warren successively held by Chalfont Manor between the 13th and 15th centuries. Certainly this area was a favoured hunting territory by the late 18th century, when an obelisk known as Gott's Monument was erected some 2km to the north commemorating a stag hunt attended by George III.

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: 27153

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Mansfield, M, The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire - Burnham Hundred: Chalfont St. Peter, (1925), 193-97
Bennell, J E G, 'Records of Bucks' in The Manor of the Vicarage of Chalfont St. Peter, , Vol. 17, (1965), 392-401
Cantor, L M, Hatherly, J, 'Records of Bucks' in The Medieval Parks of Buckinghamshire, , Vol. 20, (1977), 449
Other
Notes on construction of Chalfont Ho, 0851 Brudenells or Bulstrode Manor,
Ordnance Survey Record Card (Bucks Museums), Geary, E, TQ 09 SW 7: Homestead Moat north west of Chalfont Lodge, (1959)

End of official listing