Moated site 180m south west of St James's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018760

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1999


Ordnance survey map of Moated site 180m south west of St James's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1018760 .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 12-Dec-2018 at 21:28:32.


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

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Aylesbury Vale (District Authority)

Parish: Bierton with Broughton

National Grid Reference: SP 83520 15108


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 180m south west of St James's Church survives well. It is largely undisturbed and will retain 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. The fishpond and the ridge and furrow cultivation associated with the moated site provide further evidence for its economy and status.

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 fishpond adjacent to the moated site survives, albeit as a largely buried feature, and remains an integral part of the settlement evidence.

Part of the contemporary management of the surrounding landscape is clearly visible in the surviving pattern of medieval cultivation which abuts the moat to the west.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, and is situated in close proximity to two such sites; one to the east of Hulcott Church, 2.5km to the north east and the other at Manor Farm, Broughton, 1.7km to the south east. Comparisons between these sites will provide valuable insights into developments in the nature of settlement and society in the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site with associated fishpond and a sample of the surrounding medieval cultivation earthworks 180m south west of St James's Church. It is sited towards the south western edge of the village of Bierton and south east of the A418 Leighton Buzzard to Aylesbury road.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island with a dome shaped profile, which measures approximately 38m north east-south west by 22m north west-south east. This is surrounded by a ditch with a maximum width of 10m and a depth of approximately 2m which is water-filled to a depth of about 0.3m. An outer bank, about 4m wide and thought to be the upcast from the ditch, is visible on the south east, north east and south west sides. Extending southwards from the southern corner of the ditch are a channel and pond bay which are thought to represent part of the original outflow channel and which have now been altered to accommodate a modern drainage ditch. A causeway across the eastern arm of the moat may possibly mark the original access to the island.

About 3.5m to the south east of and parallel with the south eastern arm of the moat is a fishpond which was partly filled in the 1970s and now survives as a shallow depression, approximately 40m north east-south west by a maximum of 10m north west-south east with a wide outer bank on its southern side. It is thought that the fishpond was connected to the moat ditch by a leat which has also been infilled.

To the south and south west of the moated site are traces of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation, orientated with the moat and thought to be contemporary with it. A 10m wide sample of the ridge and furrow to the west of the moated site is included in the scheduling in order to protect the archaeological relationship between the cultivation earthworks and the moated site.

The moat is shown as `Dove House Close' on the inclosure map of 1718, and a small rectangular building is marked on the north western edge of the island. The local Antiquarian J J Sheahan, writing in 1862, mentions the existence of a `dwelling house' and of a drawbridge which was `still in tolerable condition in 1820'.

The wire fence around the base of the ditch, and the garden walls, steps and small bridge on the outer extent of the northern arm of the moat 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: 32102

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Page, W , The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire, (1925), 321-322
Sheahan, J, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, (1862), 97
RCHM, , 'History of Buckinghamshire' in Bierton with Broughton, , Vol. 1, (1912), 50
Miles, P.R, Bierton: Undergraduate Dissertation, 1981, Copy in SMR file
owner of site, Bell, B, (1998)
Title: Bierton and Hulcott Inclosure Map Source Date: 1718 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Bucks Record Office IR/IA.R

End of official listing