Brightley Barton moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016230

Date first listed: 03-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Brightley Barton moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: North Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Chittlehampton

National Grid Reference: SS 61273 22701


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.

Brightly Barton moated site survives well and contains archaeological information relating to its construction and occupation. Moated sites are relatively rare in Devon and this is one of the best preserved examples. Its stone walling is a particularly unusual feature.


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


The monument includes a rectangular moated site situated on a high ridge overlooking the valley of the River Taw. The monument survives as a three- sided, stone-faced moat with the fourth side surviving as a buried feature, defining an internal area now preserved within a garden. The southern ditch of the moat measures 37m long, 4m wide and is 0.7m to 1.1m deep; the western ditch is 52.2m long, 4.1m wide and is 0.8m to 1.4m deep; and the northern ditch 38.7m long, from 3.6m to 3.8m wide and 0.3m to 1m deep. All three sides are faced with drystone walling, the heights of the walls reflecting the depth of the moat. The walls are well built with strong quoins especially on the internal corners. Around the outside of the ditch is a surrounding bank. In the south west corner, where the external facing of the outer wall of the moat is visible, it measures 2.3m long, 0.9m wide and is 0.6m high. The outer bank on the southern side is 2.6m to 4.7m wide and up to 2m high, on the western side it is up to 4.3m wide and 2.3m high, with a tarmac road lying directly adjacent to the west, and to the north it is up to 3.6m wide and 2.1m high with a rear vehicular farm track lying directly to the north. The eastern side of the moat is preserved as a buried feature. In this area there is a slight lyncheted earthwork running from north to south which measures 3m wide and 0.4m high and is partly overlain by the yards connected to the present farm buildings which were built in the 16th century. The area enclosed by the moat shows some slight surface undulations, although these may be due to horticultural practice since this area has been a long established garden. However, the interior does survive as a raised platform, and retains old surfaces and structures as buried features. A bank survives around the outside of this enclosed area which measures up to 3m wide and 0.6m high. The moat retains water, especially in the winter months, when the standing water may be reasonably deep. The site belonged to the Fitzwarrens in about 1190. By the 1500s it was owned by the Giffords who built the present moat. The retaining walls to the north, west and south of the moat are Listed Grade II*.

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: 30307

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS62SW36, (1995)

End of official listing