Moated site at Church Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016767

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Church Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Gloucestershire

District: Stroud (District Authority)

Parish: Moreton Valence

National Grid Reference: SO 77953 09780

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 at Church Farm survives well. The island and subsidiary enclosure will contain buried deposits which are likely to include the remains of medieval structures, and will contain archaeological information relating to the construction and subsequent occupation and use of the moated site. The deposition of material excavated from the moat onto the island in the 1980s will have served to further protect the buried remains of structures on the island. Within the moat and other ditches, waterlogged deposits will preserve archaeological remains relating to the occupation and use of the site, along with organic material which will provide information about the economy of the site and the local environment during the medieval period. The leats provide an indication of the methods used to regulate the flow of water through the moat. The existence of documentary references relating to the construction and later history of the moated site is unusual for moats of this period in Gloucestershire, and will provide information about the site and its role within the local community.


The monument includes a moated site with associated water management features set on low-lying ground in the Severn Vale. The site includes a roughly rectangular moat and island with a subsidiary enclosure to the north east and evidence for leats to the north and west. The main island measures 45m by 31m and is surrounded by a moat with a maximum width of 18m and a minimum width of 10m. The moat is between 2m and 3m deep. To the north east is a subsidiary enclosure, visible as a series of earthworks, measuring 45m by 18m, and which would also have been enclosed by a moat up to 8m wide. Leats for the regulation of the flow of water through the moat can be seen as earthworks running from the northern and western corners of the moat, and would have drawn water from the two streams which flow through Moreton Valance. Documentary sources indicate that in 1253 King Henry III gave ten oaks from the Forest of Dean for the building of the hall of William de Valance at Moreton, and this is thought to refer to the construction of this site. The house of Aymer de Valance at Moreton was recorded in 1324, but by 1372 the buildings were said to be `worth nothing beyond their expenses', and it is likely that they had already fallen out of use. There are no further references to the house or moat until 1674 when the site was deserted and recorded only as a close of one acre with a moat. Rudder, the 18th century Gloucestershire historian, described seeing `ancient foundations of hewn stone' within the moat, which were said to be the foundations of the mansion of the Valances. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the post and wire fences which surround the moat, the metal gates set in these fences, the wood and metal bridge which has been constructed to give access to the main island, and the modern stone sluice set into the eastern corner of the island and although the ground beneath and around all these features 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: 32335

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Elrington, C R, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucestershire: Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (1972), 210
'Trans. of the Bristol and Glos. Arch. Society' in Annual Spring Meeting at Standish, Moreton Valance....., , Vol. XXXII, (1909), 10

End of official listing