Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Down Barns Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Northolt West End, Ealing

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Latitude: 51.5419 / 51°32'30"N

Longitude: -0.4013 / 0°24'4"W

OS Eastings: 510967.130103

OS Northings: 183766.825739

OS Grid: TQ109837

Mapcode National: GBR 3N.KJ7

Mapcode Global: VHFT6.0H7T

Entry Name: Moated site at Down Barns Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 June 1952

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005552

English Heritage Legacy ID: LO 78

County: Ealing

Electoral Ward/Division: Northolt West End

Built-Up Area: Ealing

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Joseph the Worker Northolt

Church of England Diocese: London


Medieval moated site at Down Barns Farm, 712m NNE of Northolt Grange Baptist Church

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 June 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a medieval moated site situated on gently sloping low-lying ground, a short distance east of Yeading Brook and Ten Acres nature reserve. The moated site is sub-rectangular in shape and orientated north-south. The island or platform is up to 86m long and 47m wide with rounded corners. It stands up to about 3m above the level of the water in the moat. The moat varies from 13m at the corners to 3m wide on the western side, where it has probably become partly infilled and survives as a buried feature. On the eastern side is a causeway giving access to the platform. There is a slight irregular projection, where the moat widens, to the south of the entrance.

The origin of the manor of Down or Down Barns, in the west of Northolt parish, is uncertain. Roger de la Downe held freehold land in Northolt in 1212, which is mentioned several times during the 1230s, but the descent of the holding during the later 13th century is obscure. In 1293 Down was in the possession of William de Scaccario and by 1326 it was acquired by Ralph Basset of Drayton. He shortly afterwards sold what was henceforth called the manor of Down to John de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex. In about 1354 it was sold to Simon Francis, who owned Northolt manor, and thereafter until 1616 it was held together with Northolt manor. The early manor-house, which was probably in existence before 1388, is thought to have been abandoned during the 16th century when a new house was built east of the moated site. The moated site is shown on OS Maps (1:2500) of 1894, 1895, 1914 and 1935. Partial excavation was undertaken in 1951-3, and during the cleaning of the moat in 1966, but results of the excavations are not known.

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.

The medieval moated site at Down Barns Farm is a good example of its type, which survives well. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and history of the site and the landscape in which it was built.

Source: Historic England


'Northolt: Manors and other estates', A History of the County of Middlesex, Vol 4 (1971), 113-116, accessed from
NMR TQ18SW2. PastScape 398178.,

Source: Historic England

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