Otter Pond: moated site 200m west of Dewemede Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017882

Date first listed: 14-Jun-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Otter Pond: moated site 200m west of Dewemede Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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 - 1017882 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 13:48:32.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cambridgeshire

District: Huntingdonshire (District Authority)

Parish: Folksworth and Washingley

National Grid Reference: TL 14229 89887


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 known as Otter Pond is a well preserved example of its type and is largely undisturbed. The relative simplicity of the layout implies a functional rather than a prestigious lifestyle for the occupants. Artefactural evidence contained within the interior of the island and the fills of the surrounding ditch will illustrate the duration of occupation, the character of which may be further determined from the buried remains of buildings and other features such as yard surfaces, wells and refuse pits on the island and at the entrance. The ditch will also retain environmental evidence to illustrate the landscape in which the monument was set. Ridge and furrow cultivation, created to provide drainage and equal division of land, is a distinctive and characteristic feature of the medieval period and, where the earthworks survive, they provide a valuable insight into the apportionment of land and of the agricultural practices of the time. The area of ridge and furrow cultivation to the south east of Otter Pond contributes to an understanding of the economy of the moated site and preserves a valuable remnant of its contemporary setting.


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


Otter Pond, a medieval moated site, lies 200m west of Dewemede Farm, on a slight slope to the east of, and partly within, Biglins Wood. The monument includes the moated island together with the remains of an outer enclosure on the western side. Immediately to the south is an area of medieval cultivation earthworks which is thought to be associated with the moated site, and a sample of these earthworks is included in the scheduling. The central island is roughly oval in shape, measuring about 60m long by a maximum of 35m wide. There are traces of banks to the south and north west, and slight undulations in the centre suggest the location of former structures. The island is enclosed by a partly infilled moat some 3m wide and 0.8m deep, and an outer bank approximately 1m high. The moat is generally dry but parts to the north east and west are seasonally damp. A causeway approximately 8m wide through the bank and ditch to the east provides access to the island. At the south eastern corner of the moat a shallow ditch extends in a north easterly direction for about 20m. This extension is thought to be a leat constructed to drain off surplus water, preventing flooding of the island during wet periods. A second, less substantial enclosure ditch runs west from the south western corner of the moat, curving gently to the north west. The southern portion of the ditch is clearly visible. However, it is less evident where it passes through Biglins Wood except at its northerly extent, where it joins a field ditch, and may have been modified in recent times to form part of a modern drainage system. This northerly extent is, therefore, not included in the scheduling. There is no clear documentary evidence to connect the moated site with manorial holdings in Folksworth. However, the Domesday Survey of 1086 lists only one manor here, held before that date by Walter Giffard, a cousin of William the Conqueror. Walter's son, who was created Earl of Buckingham, held the manor from 1085 and it subsequently passed to the Earl of Pembroke. In 1086 the manor was sub-enfoeffed to Hugh de Bolebec whose son founded Woburn Abbey. All fences, fence posts, gates, feed and water troughs and pheasant rearing equipment 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: 29705

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Page, W, Proby, G , The Victoria History of the County of Huntingdon, (1936), 173

End of official listing