Moat House moated site


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019174

Date first listed: 24-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moat House moated site
© 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 - 1019174 .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 18-Dec-2018 at 23:26:33.


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

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Weston Colville

National Grid Reference: TL 62131 53365


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 at Moat House survives well in the form of earthworks and buried deposits. The island remains largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for structures and other features relating to the development and character of the site throughout the medieval period. The buried silts in the base of the ditches will contain both artefacts relating to the period of occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the landscape in which the moated site was set.

Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving freshwater 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 an important source of information concerning the economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions. The fishpond to the south west of the moated site forms an integral part of the medieval manorial complex and provides further evidence for its economy and status.

Comparisons between Moat House moated site and further examples, both locally and more widely, will provide valuable insights into settlement developments in medieval England.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site and associated fishpond at Moat House, located immediately to the west of Great Coven's Wood and approximately 460m to the north east of the village of Weston Colville.

The moated site includes a roughly square shaped island which measures up to 76m north east- south west by 72m north west-south east. This is enclosed by a seasonally water-filled moat measuring up to 14m wide and at least 2m deep. Outer banks, thought to represent upcast from the construction of the moat, are visible along the south eastern and south western arms, measuring up to 13m wide and 2m high and 7m wide and 1.2m high respectively. There are now two causeways across the moat; that on the north western side is known to have been in use before 1828 and may represent the original access to the island, whilst that on the south east arm is believed to be modern. Approximately 10m from the southern corner of the moated site is a linear pond measuring 22m in length by approximately 6m wide, following the same alignment as the south east arm of the moat. This is believed to be a fishpond contemporary with the moated site.

The moat is thought to represent the original site of Colville Manor, named after William de Colville, who became the holder when he married Beatrice de Stutville in 1200; the manor had first been subinfeudated to the Stutvilles in about 1150. The manor remained in the Colville family until 1369. By 1560 the moated site was no longer the site of Colville Manor, which by 1612 had been replaced by a house to the south west on the site of the present Weston Colville Hall. The present Moat House, which now occupies the moated site, dates from the 19th century.

Partial excavations carried out on the island in 1991 and 1993 uncovered a series of internal ditches dated to the 14th/15th centuries. Buried building remains have also been identified.

Moat House, the garage and stable block, together with all fencing, walls, the patio and the oil tank 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. 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: 33267

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, (1978), 183-185
CRO: 124 P83a, John Hall Esq. Estate at Weston Colville, (1828)
CRO: 124/P83a, John Hall Estate at Weston Colville, (1828)
SMR, Cambridgeshire Archaeology Unit, An Arch. Evaluation at Moat House, Weston Colville, Cambs., (1993)

End of official listing