Braybrooke Castle: the remains of a medieval moated manor and medieval settlement remains


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016318

Date first listed: 09-Apr-1946

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Braybrooke Castle: the remains of a medieval moated manor and medieval settlement remains
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: Kettering (District Authority)

Parish: Braybrooke

National Grid Reference: SP 76887 84635, SP 76960 84361


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

Reasons for Designation

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers, gunports and crenellated parapets. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The earthwork remains at Braybrooke are well preserved and at least two major periods of activity are represented, the first by the settlement remains, the second by the moated manor and its associated features. Structural and artefactual evidence will survive within both moated sites providing evidence for the original layout of buildings, whilst the accumulated fill of the moat ditches and the fishponds will retain information about the economy and environment of the site's inhabitants. Our understanding of the moated manor and the settlement is enhanced by the survival of documentary sources which offer dates and descriptions of the activities which occurred at the site.


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


The monument, which is divided into two areas, is situated on the eastern outskirts of the village of Braybrooke and includes the earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated manor known as Braybrooke Castle and its associated enclosures and water control features. The monument also includes parts of a medieval settlement site and a second moated site which is situated to the south east.

In the early 14th century Thomas de Latimer was granted a licence to strengthen his manor house at Braybrooke and documentary sources indicate that the moated house was constructed at this time. The manor passed to the Griffin family in the early 15th century, but by the mid-16th century the buildings were in a poor condition. They were finally pulled down in 1633 and replaced by a farmhouse which was itself demolished in 1960.

The earthwork and buried remains of the moated site, which measures approximately 80m square, lie within a larger rectangular enclosure which is bounded by a ditch to the east, by a ditch and bank to the south and a pond to the west and north. These enclosure ditches form part of the water management system associated with the moated manor and include ponds, fish breeding tanks and further water channels, originally fed from a west-flowing brook situated to the north. To the north of the moated site is a large rectangular pond which is bounded along its west and north sides by a large retaining bank. It is now dry and the interior retains evidence of ridge and furrow cultivation. At its eastern end is a smaller pond, almost 3m deep, which is joined to the former by two channels which in turn form two sides of a small raised island. To the west of the moated site, and adjacent to the southern side of the large pond, are a series of inter-connecting fishponds that take the form of rectangular flat-topped mounds surrounded by ditches. Three have shallow depressions or ponds within them which have been interpreted as fish-breeding tanks where small fish were kept until they were large enough to be transferred into the main pond. A further dry, rectangular pond is visible immediately to the south. The area to the east of the moated site is divided into a number of small enclosures or paddocks by a sequence of ditches which also formed part of the manor's water control system.

To the north and south of the moated manor are the remains of a former settlement believed to have either been abandoned as result of shrinkage or deliberately cleared prior to the construction of the moated site. The earthworks to the north of the brook include hollow ways, one of which connects with an existing village lane at its west end, a number of linear crofts and several building platforms. Ridge and furrow is visible within some of the crofts and also to the north and east of the settlement earthworks. A sample area of these associated remains is included in the scheduling in order to preserve the relationship between the settlement and cultivation remains.

Approximately 100m to the south east of the moated manor site are the remains of a further, smaller, moated site represented by a rectangular mound surrounded by a shallow ditch. This feature is within a separate area of protection.

All standing buildings and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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.

Legacy System number: 21674

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Paley Baildon, W, Braybrooke, Its Castle, Manor and Lords, (1923)
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of Archaeological sites in central Northamptonshire, (1979)
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of Archaeological sites in central Northamptonshire, (1979)

End of official listing