Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Moated Site and Associated Earthworks at Bury Farm, Sharpenhoe

A Scheduled Monument in Streatley, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 51.965 / 51°57'54"N

Longitude: -0.4509 / 0°27'3"W

OS Eastings: 506524.411932

OS Northings: 230751.212234

OS Grid: TL065307

Mapcode National: GBR G44.LV8

Mapcode Global: VHFR1.4VGZ

Entry Name: Moated Site and Associated Earthworks at Bury Farm, Sharpenhoe

Scheduled Date: 4 August 1950

Last Amended: 14 March 2019

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005404

English Heritage Legacy ID: BD 40

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Streatley

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Barton-le-Cley

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes a moated site dating to the medieval period, situated to the north east of Sharpenhoe village. The monument survives as a platform, approximately 122m square, surrounded by a wet moat fed from the south by a small stream. The moat measures between 7.3m and 12.2m wide and between 2m and 2.2m deep. The entrance was probably on the western side where there was formerly a footbridge. The platform is sub-divided into two smaller portions by a shallow hollow and in the north west corner is the site of a building marked by a scatter of tile and brick lying within an inner enclosure which is raised 0.6m above the rest of the interior.
NMR TL 03 SE 1; Pastscape Mon No 360052; Bed's HER 237

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 seigniorial 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 Bury Farm, is a well preserved example with a high potential for the preservation of waterlogged deposits and a good diversity of features. The moat at Bury Farm will enhance our knowledge and understanding of the social and economic structure of medieval communities both in Sharpenhoe and the wider landscape.

Source: Historic England

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