Castle Dyke moated site


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Castle Dyke moated site
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Kesteven (District Authority)
Careby Aunby and Holywell
National Grid Reference:
TF 00801 14255

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.

Castle Dyke moated site survives well as a series of earthworks and buried deposits. It has been little altered since medieval times, indicating that archaeological remains are likely to survive intact. The buried deposits will preserve organic remains, such as timber, leather and seeds, which will give an insight into the domestic and economic activity on the site. In addition, the banks lining the moat and ditches will preserve evidence of the land use prior to their construction. As a whole, the site will contribute to our understanding of the way in which components of the medieval landscape developed and interrelated.


The monument includes a medieval moated site known as Castle Dyke, located in Castledike Wood, approximately 1.5km south west of the hamlet of Aunby. Aunby originally formed part of the manor of Bytham which, together with other parts of the manor, passed to the earls of Albemarle shortly after the Conquest. The manor of Bytham then came into the possession of the de Colville family, thought to have been resident in Aunby during the 12th century. It is believed that Aunby was established during a period of population growth in the late 12th to early 13th centuries; a documentary reference to assarting (woodland clearance) taking place at Aunby dates to the early 13th century. The monument takes the form of a moated island, lying on fairly level ground, which is in turn enclosed by an embanked ditch to create an outer enclosure with a smaller subrectangular enclosure extending from its south western corner. The moated site and surrounding enclosures cover an area measuring approximately 170m by 95m and are thought to represent a manorial complex of medieval origin. The island is subrectangular in plan, measuring approximately 50m by 45m, and is enclosed by a moat measuring up to 6m in width and 1m deep. The moat is lined by an internal bank measuring 4m to 5m in width and up to 0.5m high. Access to the island is via a causeway which crosses the southern moat arm, close to the south east corner. The island would have been occupied by buildings such as a manor house and domestic or ancillary buildings, the buried remains of which are thought to survive below ground level. The moated island is in turn enclosed by a second, outer, ditch on three sides, to the north, east and south, lying at a distance of 12m to 35m from the moat. The ditch measures up to 6m wide and 1m deep and is lined by an internal bank 3m wide and up to 0.5m high along the eastern arm and part of the northern and southern arms. On the western side of the monument there are no visible remains of the western arm of the ditch, although the curve of the ditch at the north west corner indicates that the ditch formerly continued to the south and will survive as an infilled feature. The southern arm of the outer ditch is crossed by a causeway, positioned opposite the entrance to the moated island. The outer enclosure thus created would have been occupied by ancillary buildings or would have provided accommodation for stock. At its south western corner the outer ditch curves to the south and leads into a narrower ditch which forms a subrectangular enclosure measuring 30m by 20m. The ditch, measuring 4m in width and up to 0.5m deep, feeds back into the larger outer ditch at its north western corner. This smaller enclosure would have provided a paddock for stock. All fence posts and hides 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Wild, J, The History of Castle Bytham, (1871)
Platts, G, 'History of Lincolnshire' in Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire, (1985)
Li 30058, (1999)


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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