Moated site and medieval settlement remains 200m south west of Manor Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017513

Date first listed: 21-Oct-1971

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Moated site and medieval settlement remains 200m south west of Manor Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Wycombe (District Authority)

Parish: Great and Little Kimble

National Grid Reference: SP 82325 05853


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 and associated earthworks 200m south west of Manor Farm survive well. The moated island is undisturbed by excavation or later development and will retain buried structural remains as well as other features relating to the period of occupation. Artefacts found both here and in the silts of the surrounding ditches will provide evidence for the date of construction, the duration of the site's use and the date of abandonment; environmental evidence from the ditch silts will also provide insights into the appearance and management of the landscape in which the monument was set. The moated site is surrounded by evidence for an elaborate water management system required, it is thought, to drain the settlement and cultivation areas and to feed the moat and the adjacent fishpond. 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. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors of medieval society, and are considered highly significant as a source of information for the economy of various classes of secular and religious settlement. The direct association between the moated site and the adjacent settlement earthworks is of particular interest, the relationship between these two contrasting yet interdependent forms of settlement providing a significant indication of the economic operation and social structure of the site as a whole.


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


The monument is situated near the foot of the Chiltern escarpment below Chequers Knap, on the north west side of the Aylesbury Road and some 250m west of St Nicholas's Church. It includes a small medieval moated site, an area of adjacent settlement and cultivation earthworks to the south, a small fishpond to the east and, to the east of the complex, a series of ditches created to exploit the spring line at the foot of the scarp. The moated site covers an area approximately 70m square and is divided into two islands. The moat surrounding the larger trapezoidal island measures some 10m in width and 1m in depth and, although the south western arm extends 20m to the south west in order to take in a natural spring, the entire circuit of ditches is presently dry. This arm also extends some 30m to the north west before turning and running parallel with the north west arm to enclose the second, smaller island. A narrow causeway to the east provides access to the smaller island, although this was not shown on a plan of the earthworks in 1908 and may be a later addition. The 1908 plan does, however, show a second causeway, which may have been the original entrance, crossing the southern arm towards the larger island. There are no superficial indications of structures visible on the islands, although reports of stone removed from the site in the earlier part of this century imply the presence of buried foundations. The area of the associated settlement is marked by a series of rectangular enclosures immediately to the south of the moated site, aligned with the south eastern arm but separated by a modern field boundary ditch. These enclosures, or tofts, vary between 15m and 40m in width, each containing visible evidence of buildings and other features in the form of low undulations, platforms and hollows. The enclosures are divided by gullies and banks which are linked to a shallow hollow way running along the southern edge of the alignment. To the south of the hollow way are traces of an incomplete furlong of medieval ridge and furrow; the cultivated ridges, or lands, extend some 30m to 50m to the south east where they are contained within a post-medieval enclosure bank. Although the pasture extends beyond this bank (to the edge of the Aylesbury Road), the remainder of the furlong has been denuded by later episodes of ploughing and this area is not included in the scheduling. The eastern limit of the cultivation earthworks is marked by two parallel ditches, each with a contiguous bank. These ditches extend further to the east and although they are now dry, they are thought to have been designed to channel water down the slope from the spring line adjacent to the Aylesbury Road, in a similar manner to that employed for the later ornamental ponds within the ground of Manor Farm to the north east. A single medieval fishpond, measuring approximately 12m by 25m, is located near the eastern corner of the moat and may have been supplied by this system. The moated site has been tentatively identified with the original site of Great Kimble Manor, one of four medieval manors within the parish. In the reign of Edward the Confessor this manor was held by Sired, one of the Kings's thegns. After the Norman Conquest it formed part of the extensive lands granted to Walter Gifford, later Earl of Buckingham, and was held in feoff by the de Bolbec family. In 1133 the chief sub-tenant of Great Kimble Manor, Giffard Palefridus of Kimble, granted the parish church to the newly established Abbey of Missenden together with a virgate of land and meadow. The proximity of St Nicholas's Church to the moated site provides a measure of support to the identification of the site with the manor. All fences, fence posts and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these items 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: 29406

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Allcroft, A H, Earthworks of England, (1908), 465
Clinch, G, The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire, (1908), 298
Page, F (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire: Volume II, (1908), 298-9
Sheahan, J, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, (1862), 165
Sheahan, J, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, (1862), 164-5
Ancient Monuments Record Form, Saunders, A, BU 115 Moated Site and Earthworks S & W of manor Farm, (1971)
Field visit notes, Farley, M, 0948, (1973)
Ordnance Survey Surveyor's notes (Antiquity Model), HKB, SP 80 NW 20, (1971)
OS Antiquity Model & notes, NKB, TL 80 SW 21, (1971)
Pike, A, 0947, (1979)
RCHME, Inventory of the Historic Monuments in Buckinghamshire, (1912)
RCHME, Inventory of the Historic Monuments in Buckinghamshire, (1912)
Ref. to removal of stones from island, Farley, M, 0945 Moated site west of Gt Kimble Church, (1973)

End of official listing