Moated site at Pastures Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019177

Date first listed: 09-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Pastures Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Dec-2018 at 21:23:32.


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

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Caxton

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Eltisley

National Grid Reference: TL 29147 59911


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 Pastures Farm survives well. The island remains largely undisturbed by post-medieval and modern activity and will retain buried evidence for earlier structures, as well as other features relating to the development and character of the site throughout the periods of occupation. The buried silts in the base of the moat 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. The documentary sources provide further information regarding the site which helps us to understand its place in local society.

Comparisons between this site and with further examples, both locally and more widely, will provide valuable insights into the developments in the nature of settlement in medieval England.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site at Pastures Farm located approximately 2km to the NNW of the village of Caxton.

The moated site includes a roughly square shaped island which measures up to 150m wide. This is contained by a seasonally water-filled moat which is up to 9m wide and 1.5m deep. Near the western corner the moat has been enlarged to form a sub-circular pond, with a diameter of approximately 22m. Part of the moat immediately to the north east of this pond has been filled in and now survives as a buried feature. A leat which extends southwards from the south west arm connects with the Eastern Brook, 560m to the south. Of the seven causeways which cross the moat, the one across the east arm is thought to represent the original access to the island, whilst four may be post-medieval and two modern. The dovecote, a Listed Building Grade II, which is located towards the centre of the island and the farmhouse, also a Listed Building Grade II, which occupies the western part of the island, are thought to date from the 18th century.

The moated site, which is also known as Caxton Pastures, may be the site of the manor of Brockholt which is known to have been separated from the main manor of Caxton from 1154 until 1400. This ancient freehold estate was held in 1279 by John de Caxton, and consisted of a capital messuage, over 80 acres of land and 50 acres of meadow and pasture in `Kingesfeld', which is described as being to the north west of Caxton, bordering on Eltisley. A further moated complex known as Caxton Moats, which is the subject of a separate scheduling, is located 1.2km to the SSE.

The farmhouse, dovecote, bungalow, all farm buildings, gates, walls, fences, modern made surfaces are 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: 33275

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire29
RCHM: Cambs, (1968)
Title: Enclosure map of Caxton Source Date: 1834 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: CRO: Q/RDc 49

End of official listing