Moated site 130m west of Whittlesford Manor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019183

Date first listed: 03-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Moated site 130m west of Whittlesford Manor
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 15:46:27.


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

County: Cambridgeshire

District: South Cambridgeshire (District Authority)

Parish: Whittlesford

National Grid Reference: TL 46791 48495


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 130m west of Whittlesford Manor survives well. The island is largely undisturbed and will retain evidence for structures and other features relating to the construction and occupation of the site. 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.

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


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site situated 130m west of Whittlesford Manor and approximately 610m to the west of Whittlesford parish church.

The moated site includes a sub-square island which measures up to 30m in width and is raised approximately 0.5m above the surrounding ground surface. This is enclosed by a seasonally water-filled moat measuring up to 7m wide and approximately 1m deep. An extension to the northern arm of the moat, which extends for 12m to the east, is thought to represent an outflow channel and is included in the scheduling. The causeway, which crosses the south western corner of the moat, dates from the 19th century. A small rectangular building, which formerly stood near the south west corner of the island, is thought to have been of post-medieval date.

The moated site is believed to represent either the small sub-manor belonging to Barnwell Abbey, Cambridge, which was leased out to the Cheney family in the 13th century, or the home of Baldwin de Freville, an undertenant of the Cheneys from at least 1333 until after 1350. The present Whittlesford Manor, an 18th century house located outside the scheduling, 130m to the east, is believed to represent the successor to the house which formerly stood on the island.

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: 33281

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire267
Taylor, C C, 'The Rural Settlements of Medieval England' in Whittlesford: The Study of a River-edge Village, (1989), 218-219
Title: 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map Source Date: 1885 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: CRO: LIV:11
Title: Enclosure map of Whittlesford Source Date: 1809 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: CRO: R60/24/2/76
Title: Estate Map of Whittlesford Source Date: 1819 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: CRO: R58/5/9 P165

End of official listing