Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Medieval moated site 382m south-east of Brackenbury Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Ickenham, Hillingdon

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Latitude: 51.5698 / 51°34'11"N

Longitude: -0.4542 / 0°27'15"W

OS Eastings: 507227.834782

OS Northings: 186788.167096

OS Grid: TQ072867

Mapcode National: GBR 1X.Q5G

Mapcode Global: VHFSZ.2SQZ

Entry Name: Medieval moated site 382m south-east of Brackenbury Farm

Scheduled Date: 8 July 1974

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002001

English Heritage Legacy ID: LO 126

County: Hillingdon

Electoral Ward/Division: Ickenham

Built-Up Area: Hillingdon

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Giles Ickenham

Church of England Diocese: London


The monument includes a medieval moated site surviving as earthworks together with upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated on low-lying ground within a bend on the west side of the River Pinn, near Copthall Farm. The moat is quadrangular in shape and has slightly rounded corners. It is orientated roughly north-east to south-west with an entrance about 3m wide on the south-west side. The four sides of the moat vary between about 40m and 45m long and from 2.5m to 4m wide. At the centre is a square island or platform about 35m long on each side, which rises up to 2m high above the bottom of the moat.
A deed of 1531 apparently records the name 'Pynchester Ferme', which has been associated with the site as it is now often referred to as Pynchester Moat.
Partial excavation in 1966-9 recorded the remains of a medieval building including flint walls and foundations, a floor constructed of roof tiles, a 3m square hearth, a key-hole oven and a curing-chamber. The medieval pottery recovered included Surrey Ware. A measured survey of the site was carried out in 1984.
The monument excludes all modern fences and fence posts, gates and gate posts but the ground beneath these features is included.

Sources: Greater London SMR 050497/00/00. NMR TQ08NE20. PastScape 394947.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.
Despite partial excavation and some disturbance in the past, the medieval moated site 68m east of No.78 Copthall Road West survives comparatively well. The site will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the moated site and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

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