Moated site and enclosures at Redding Wick


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.

Buckinghamshire (Unitary Authority)
Great Missenden
National Grid Reference:
SP 91664 02027

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 monument at Redding Wick includes a well preserved example of a strongly defended, single island moated site. Artefactual evidence contained within the undisturbed interior of the island and the fills of the surrounding ditch will illustrate the duration of occupation, the character of which may be further determined from the buried remains of buildings on both the island and the entrance earthworks. The ditch will also contain environmental evidence for the appearance and management of the landscape in which the monument was set.

The surrounding enclosures are well defined and provide valuable evidence on the developing function of the settlement. The dovecote, in particular, is a specific indication of the high status of the site . The perimeter earthworks appear to have been designed to safeguard the enclosures from grazing animals, suggesting that evidence for cultivated areas, perhaps gardens, may exist in addition to the buried remains of ancillary buildings, yard surfaces and trackways.

The surrounding woodbank was similarly designed to prevent deer and other animals from damaging the cultivated woodland which superseded the settlement. The later boundary demonstrates a continuity with the earlier enclosures; a relationship which poses important questions about the date of its construction and the manner in which the settlement came to be abandoned.


The monument includes a medieval moated site surrounded by banked and ditched enclosures located within a small wood known as Redding Wick, which lies to the east of the village of South Heath on an elevated section of the Chiltern plateau between the Missenden valley and Herbert's Hole.

The moated site is roughly rectangular in plan. The island measures approximately 50m east to west and 35m north to south and is surrounded by a ditch averaging 8m across and 2m deep, the base of which is seasonally wet and contains deep deposits of humic silt. The interior of the island is slightly raised and encircled by a perimeter bank measuring c.3m in width and 0.8m high, which may have been strengthened by a timber palisade during the period of occupation. Flint foundations were noted on the island in the 1930s and the positions of former buildings remain visible as small raised areas adjacent to the bank. Fragments of medieval pottery, dating from around the 13th century, were discovered on the island in 1974. A large external bank, c.5m in width and 1m high, surrounds the moat on all but the western side, which is flanked by more elaborate earthworks defending the entrance. A narrow causeway spans the centre of the western arm of the moat leading to a gap in the internal bank. The other end of the causeway is linked to a narrow rectangular spur, 6m in width, running along the outer edge of the western ditch. The spur is surrounded to the north and west by extensions from the moat, allowing access only at the southern end where a low platform marks the probable location of a gatehouse. A second structure, perhaps a tower, may have stood on a second platform at the northern tip of the spur.

The moated site is surrounded by a series of enclosures defined by low banks and shallow external ditches. These are thought to have contained the buried remains of ancillary buildings such as barns and stables; the earthworks being designed to keep out deer and other grazing animals, rather than for defence. The earliest of these enclosures surrounds all but the southern side of the moated site. The northern boundary runs parallel to the northern arm of the moat at a distance of c.25m, and extends in an elongated arc some 80m to the west. To the east, the boundary curves around the north east corner of the moat and continues parallel to the eastern arm. This final section was later adapted to form part of the woodbank which encircles Redding Wick. The enclosure is sub-divided by a low bank linking the northern boundary to the north western end of the bank surrounding the moat; the western sub-division contains a shallow pond which may be an original feature of the site. A short section of bank extends between the south eastern corner of the moat and the eastern woodbank, separating the northern enclosure from a second enclosure to the south of the moated site. This enclosure is roughly rectangular, measuring some 120m east to west and 30m north to south; and is also defined to the south and east by the woodland boundary which superseded the earlier perimeter earthworks. The woodbank here, as elsewhere around the perimeter of the wood, is approximately 2.5m wide and 0.7m high and flanked by an external ditch, 3m wide and 0.6m deep. A small sub-rectangular pond, perhaps a medieval fishpond, lies within the south western corner of the enclosure, just inside the line of the bank. On the north side of this stands a small mound, c.6m in diameter and 0.6m high, supporting the flint foundations of a circular structure considered to be the remains of a dovecote. A low bank flanked by a shallow ditch to the west extends northwards from the woodbank towards the south western corner of the moat, dividing the southern enclosure from a third enclosure to the west. This western enclosure shares a short section of the southern woodbank, but is otherwise defined to the south and to the west by a low bank and shallow external ditch forming two sides of a square, each c.90m in length. Traces of a gap in the southern arm appear to mark the main entrance to the complex. The western arm is connected to the western end of the northern enclosure, and also forms a junction with a further bank, with ditches to either side, which extends between the northern enclosure and the western boundary of the wood. This latter feature appears to be a property boundary, contemporary with the northern enclosure, and is therefore included in the scheduling.

The charters of Missenden Abbey contain a number of references to the early history of the site, known in the medieval period as `la Rudinge' or `Rudingia'. A parcel of land of this name was owned in the late 12th century by Hugh de Nuier and tenanted by Robert del Broc. The abbey also held certain rights in the property which were relinquished in exchange for grants of land between 1190 and 1208. Ownership may have passed from Hugh de Nuier to Henry de Crokesle, and thereafter to Henry Scaccario, who granted the land to Missenden Abbey in the early 13th century. It appears to have been held briefly from the abbey by a priest named Radulfus; after which, and before 1217, it was granted to Thomas, son of William de Ibeston. By the early 1230s possession had almost certainly passed to Roger de Wymberville. The first reference to a dwelling on the site is contained in a charter dated 1233-38. This records Roger's oath to the abbey that its church would suffer no loss of tithes and obligations as a result of the establishment of a chantry at his chapel at `la Rudinge'. The chapel may have stood within one of the adjacent enclosures, but is more likely to have formed part of the buildings on the island.

All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these items 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.

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Books and journals
Jenkins, J C (ed), 'Buckinhamshire Records Society' in Cartulary of Missenden Abbey, , Vol. 2, (1938), 83
Jenkins, J C (ed), 'Buckinhamshire Records Society' in Cartulary of Missenden Abbey, , Vol. 2, (1938), 186
Jenkins, J C (ed), 'Buckinhamshire Records Society' in Cartulary of Missenden Abbey, , Vol. 2, (1938), 188
Jenkins, J C (ed), 'Buckinhamshire Records Society' in Cartulary of Missenden Abbey, , Vol. 2, (1938), 39
Jenkins, J C (ed), 'Buckinhamshire Records Society' in Cartulary of Missenden Abbey, , Vol. 2, (1938), 83
Jenkins, J C (ed), 'Buckinhamshire Records Society' in Cartulary of Missenden Abbey, , Vol. 2, (1938)
AM7 Schedule entry (Bucks 38), MoW, Redding Wick, moated site, Great Missenden, (1936)
Record of site visit, Farley, M E, 0100, (1974)
Title: Redding Wick Moat Source Date: 1982 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:200 survey by CMAG - Bucks Museums


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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