Moated site at Old Moat Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Old Moat Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Milton Keynes (Unitary Authority)
North Crawley
National Grid Reference:
SP 92171 45056

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 at Old Moat Farm survives well. 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 house, which is excluded from the scheduling, is a good example of a 16th century timber framed domestic building. It is likely that evidence of earlier structures, along with associated features relating to the period of occupation such as wells, yard surfaces and refuse pits will survive as buried features on the island and these may shed light on the development of the manor.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, and is situated in close proximity to two such sites; one at East End, North Crawley and the other at the Manor House, Sherington. Comparisons between these sites will provide valuable insights into developments in the nature of settlement and society in the medieval period.


The monument includes a small moated site at Old Moat Farm situated to the west of the Chichlely Road at the northern end of the village of North Crawley.

The moated site includes a roughly rectangular island, which measures approximately 48m north east-south west by 26m north west-south east. The surface of the island is raised by about 1m and the northern quarter occupied by a 16th century, Grade II Listed house. The house is approached by a modern brick bridge across the north western arm of the moat and is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included. The island is surrounded by a ditch with a maximum width of 8m and a depth of approximately 2m which contains flowing water, reaching a depth of approximately 0.9m and emanating mainly from a spring at the eastern corner. The south west arm of the ditch extends about 4m beyond the corner of the moat in a north west direction. An outer bank, approximately 3m wide and thought to be the upcast from the ditch, is visible on the north east and south east sides.

The moated site is said to have been the original location of the Manor House of Pateshull or Little Crawley Manor, identified with the four hides of land belonging to William Fitz Ansculf in 1086. It has, however, also been tentatively identified as the site of Broughton Manor, one of two subordinate fees created along the boundary between Great Crawley and Cranfield by either Walter I de Bolebec or his son Hugh, in the early years of `The Anarchy'- in the middle of the 12th century. It is thought that the present house was built by John Broughton between 1519 and 1530 and extended by Thomas Gregory in 1661.

In addition to the house, the outbuilding and oil tank on the island, the concrete surface of the farmyard and the farm buildings to the north and the pipes, fence, corrugated iron and piles of rubble around the moated site are all excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire - North Crawley, (1927), 327
Chibnall, A C, Beyond Sherington, (1979), 98-101


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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