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.
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.
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.