Moated site immediately north west of Moat Farm
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1016773
Date first listed: 02-Dec-1998
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Aylesbury Vale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SP 88470 12636
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 immediately north west of Moat Farm survives well. Excepting the concrete building platform on the north east side, the island is largely undisturbed and will, as mentioned by Sheahan, retain buried evidence for structures and other features relating to the period of occupation. The buried silts in the base of the ditch will contain both artefacts relating to the period of occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the monument was set.
Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving fresh water constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish in order to provide a constant and sustainable food supply. The tradition of constructing and using fishponds began in the medieval period and reached a peak of popularity in the 12th century. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors of medieval society, and are considered important as a source of information concerning the economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions. The two extensions to the moat are thought to have been utilised as fishponds, and to have formed an integral part of the settlement. Despite some recent infilling the features survive well, providing further evidence for the site's economy and status.
The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, and is situated in close proximity to two such sites; one at Vatches Farm in Aston Clinton, and the other south west of Upper Farm in Drayton Beauchamp. Comparisons between these sites will provide valuable insights into the nature of settlement and society in the medieval period.
The monument includes a medieval moated site to the north of Aston Clinton and
immediately west of the village of Buckland.
The island is rectangular, surrounded by a water-filled ditch measuring on average 8m in width and some 2m deep. The interior measures some 76m from north east to south west by 34m north west to south east and its level surface stands about 0.5m above its immediate surroundings, no doubt through the use of material originally excavated to form the moat. Nothing now remains of the principal dwelling or ancillary buildings which would have stood upon the island, although the antiquarian, J J Sheahan reported in 1862 that the `foundations of ancient buildings have frequently been found upon the moat'. Access to the island is provided by a causeway across the southern arm of the moat near the eastern corner.
The northern corner of the moat is connected to a water-filled extension, similar in width, which continues to the north west for approximately 40m. This is thought to have originated as a fishpond in which stocks of fish could be raised, perhaps separated by a hurdle or a sluice, before being transferred to the moat itself. Buckland's Tithe Map of 1843 shows a second extension, attached to the eastern corner of the moat and running to the south east for approximately 70m. This feature, also considered to be a fishpond, has been partly infilled in more recent years leaving only the most westerly section (some 45m in length) visible as an isolated pond.
The foundations of the modern buildings on the north east side of the island, the stiles, ceramic sink and all fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 32104
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Sheahan, J, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, (1862), 109
Farley, M E, Field visit, (1971)
Title: Buckland Tithe Map Source Date: 1843 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Bucks Record Office
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