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Moated site 320m north west of St Leonard's Church

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Moated site 320m north west of St Leonard's Church

List entry Number: 1017511


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Aylesbury Vale

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Grendon Underwood

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 08-Dec-1997

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29404

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 320m north west of St Leonard's Church survives largely undisturbed and remains one of the best preserved monuments of its kind in Buckinghamshire. The island will contain evidence of buildings in the form of buried foundations and the impressions of timber structures, as well as other buried features related to the period of occupation such as wells, yard surfaces and refuse pits. The ditches will provide detailed information concerning the water management system, and contain waterlogged deposits from which both artefacts and environmental evidence can be retrieved, illustrating the development of the site and the landscape in which it was set.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous and is in particularly close proximity to a similar moated site some 400m to the north east. Comparisons between these sites will enable valuable insights into the development of medieval settlement in the region.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site located to the west of the village of Grendon Underwood, at the foot of a broad slope descending from the parish church toward a narrow brook known as the River Ray.

The brook runs alongside and to the north of the north west arm of the moat which, at about 130m, is the longest arm in a trapezoidal circuit. The island enclosed by this circuit has a maximum length of 100m and is some 40m in width to the south west and 20m to the north east. The surface of the island is quite level, although it is surrounded by a broad internal bank incorporating slightly raised mounds at the northern and eastern corners. The moat, which averages 7m in width and 1.2m in depth, is thought to have been fed by surface water. It is now dry, apart from a single pond created within the south eastern arm. The western arms of the moat are flanked by a low external bank, which may have resulted from the periodic cleaning of the ditch during the period of occupation.

Access to the island was provided by a narrow causeway near the centre of the south eastern arm of the moat and a corresponding gap in the inner bank. The entrance is orientated towards the village on the hillside above, and the parish church which is thought to have originated in the 12th century.

The feed bin and the standing remains of a brick and timber barn on the island are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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.

Selected Sources

Antiquity Model (and 1:2500 Map), BHS, SP 62 SE 1 Homestead Moat, (1973)
Field visit notes, Farley, M, 0425 Moated Site, Grendon Underwood, (1971)
Oblique monochrome photographs, Farley, M, BCM A/P A20/8/25-30, (1994)

National Grid Reference: SP 67407 21105


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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1017511 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 16-Aug-2018 at 01:31:41.

End of official listing