Two moated sites 150m east of College Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017884

Date first listed: 13-Apr-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Two moated sites 150m east of College 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 - 1017884 .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 16-Jan-2019 at 10:04:04.


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

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Pampisford

National Grid Reference: TL 50240 48473


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 two moated sites east of College Farm are well preserved examples of this monument class. The islands will retain buried evidence for the structures which they formerly contained, including dwellings, ancillary buildings and associated features such as yard surfaces, refuse pits, drainage channels and internal boundaries. Artefacts found in association with these features will provide evidence for the date of construction, the duration of occupation and the period of abandonment, as well as providing insights into the lifestyles and status of the inhabitants. The fills of the partly buried moats and enclosure ditches will contain environmental evidence which may illustrate the landscape in which the monument was set and the character of the agricultural regime. A comparison of the evidence from the two sites will provide a sequence of occupation and use which, when considered with the documentary sources, will contribute to the knowledge of settlement and land use in the area during and after the medieval period. The survival of a series of paddocks and ponds associated with the moated sites is unusual, and will provide information about animal husbandry and the economy of the site.


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


The monument includes two adjacent medieval moated sites, situated 150m east of College Farm. The ground between the moats contains evidence for a series of partly infilled ditches and hollows which are thought to represent a system of paddock enclosures and beast ponds which are also included in the scheduling. The northern island is roughly rectangular in plan, measuring about 61m east to west and 46m north to south. It is defined by a moat some 4m wide and up to 1.5m deep. The island is raised approximately 0.3m above the level of the surrounding land, probably by upcast from the construction of the moat. The surface is generally level except on its western side. Here there is a shallow oblong depression about 2.5m wide and 15m long. This is set at right angles to the centre of the moat's western arm and is thought to be modern. The southern moated island lies some 100m to the SSE. It is square in plan, set on a north-south diagonal and measuring overall 54m north east to south west and 52m north west to south east. A large raised area, thought to represent a building platform, occupies the western half of the island, and extends into the eastern half. The moat averages 4m in width and is about 0.9m deep except at the eastern angle. Here, the depth reduces to approximately 0.3m, corresponding with the lower part of the island, and suggesting the possible location of an entrance. At the northern corner there is a short extension from the north eastern arm of the moat. Both moats are seasonally wet and are thought to be fed by springs and surface water. The area between the two moats contains a number of hollows and partly buried ditches which combine to form a series of enclosures. The largest enclosure lies to the immediate east of the northern moat. It is triangular in plan, bounded to the west by the moat's eastern arm, with the remaining sides defined by two shallow ditches running from the moat's north eastern and south eastern corners and converging at a point 35m to the east. A series of six lesser ditches run southwards from the southern arm of the enclosure and the southern arm of the northern moat compartmentalising the area between the two moats in a row of narrow closes or paddocks, some of which contain evidence of shallow ponds attached to the ditches. Irregularities in the adjacent ground may indicate the buried remains of further ponds. This system of ditches and ponds, as well as providing paddocks and water supplies for animals, may have served to provide drainage in a low-lying area which would have been prone to flooding. The close proximity of two similar moated sites is intriguing. It is possible that one succeeded the other, it being easier to construct a second moat and buildings before abandoning the first, than to rebuild on the same site. Such an explanation may, perhaps, be deduced from what is known of land tenure in the area during the medieval and post medieval periods. Although the documentary evidence is not entirely clear, it does indicate that there were two estates in Pampisford which were attached to the manor of Hinxton. Initially both estates were small but, over the years were augmented by further acquisitions. In 1279 one of these estates was held by John Martin and the other by Robert Saffrey. By 1428 John Martin's holding had passed from his descendants to Catherine Cloville and subsequently to the Hamonds. Meanwhile, the other estate remained with the Saffrey family, and it is recorded that William Saffrey had a capital messuage in 1324. By 1395 the male Saffrey line was extinct and the estate was owned by one Adam Cove. Nevertheless, by about this time and for at least another two centuries, the estate was known as Saffreys. In 1402 Saffreys was acquired by Queens' College, Cambridge and in 1530 there is a reference to a tenement (land holding with or without a building) with Saffreys. About 40 years later a further reference to the tenement places it next to Saffrey's Grove which was said to be surrounded by a hedge and ditch. Although it is not possible to identify Saffrey's Grove with either of the moated sites, this reference to a grove and an adjacent tenement may suggest a first moated site abandoned and given over to woodland, with a later, similar site close by. By 1873 the estate was no longer in the possession of Queens' College. Twenty years later all the College's former holdings were sold, along with the Hamond lands, to the Binney family. The two original medieval estates, with their later accruements, were thus finally amalgamated.

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: 29709

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, (1978), 105
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, (1978), 105

End of official listing