Moated site and associated earthworks in Bray's Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015545

Date first listed: 08-Jun-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Mar-1997


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and associated earthworks in Bray's Wood
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 14:22:45.


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

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Chiltern (District Authority)

Parish: The Lee

National Grid Reference: SP 91525 04909


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 and associated enclosure at Bray's Wood survive well, representing a good example of a medieval moated farm. Occasional surface finds indicate that the monument will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, occupation and the earlier Romano- British landscape from which it developed.


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


The monument includes a roughly square moated enclosure set within a larger banked and ditched enclosure and situated on a north facing slope in Bray's Wood. The site is immediately north of the Lee to Chesham road, 500m north west of Cherry Tree Farm. The moat is roughly square in plan and is aligned east to west with a single entrance in the centre of its east side. It encloses an area which measures 43m from east to west and 40m from north to south, with the remains of an east to west aligned building in the south west corner. This building measures c.20m long and 9m wide and there is stone rubble showing wall lines around its edge. Medieval pottery and tile fragments have been found in and around the building. The earthworks of the moated site include an internal bank c.1.2m wide and up to 0.7m above the level interior. Beyond this lies a ditch which has become partly infilled by leaf litter but is still open to a depth of 0.9m in places and measures as much as 5m across. Beyond this, although no longer present around the whole of the circuit, is a slight outer bank c.0.3m high and as much as 3.7m wide, although most of the visible sections are nearer to 1m wide. The larger enclosure, which originally extended beyond the moat to the east and west, was believed during the last century to be earlier than the moat. However, this is unlikely because the outer enclosure ditch turns south east to avoid it. The enclosure has a much slighter ditch and bank than that of the moat and the ditch measures an average of 2m wide and is nowhere more than 0.8m deep from the top of the bank which, where visible at ground level, measures c.1.5m wide and 0.5m high. The south east side of the enclosure is open, but a sketch plan drawn in 1856 suggests that it may have been part of a wider division of fields which were enclosed and ploughed level by the turn of this century. The enclosure measures c.80m wide at its north west end and extends c.100m north west of the moated site. Finds from the area have been mainly medieval and post-medieval in date, but earlier Romano-British pottery fragments suggest that the site was occupied in the Roman period. The site represents a moated house and a later associated enclosure related to the surrounding field system. The late history of the site shows that by 1815 the house was in ruins and cart loads of flint were taken away to be used in the construction of the nearby road. A plan of the site, published in 1855, shows what is likely to have been the site's original extent.

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: 28115

Legacy System: RSM


CASS 00175, C.A.O., Card 0175, (1990)
CASS 00175, C.A.O., CARD NO 0175, (1990)

End of official listing