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Moated site at Grove Farm, Ashley Green

A Scheduled Monument in Ashley Green, Buckinghamshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7283 / 51°43'41"N

Longitude: -0.5734 / 0°34'24"W

OS Eastings: 498624.424926

OS Northings: 204244.072585

OS Grid: SP986042

Mapcode National: GBR F5J.RTB

Mapcode Global: VHFS4.0TQH

Entry Name: Moated site at Grove Farm, Ashley Green

Scheduled Date: 24 June 1938

Last Amended: 16 August 2017

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006946

English Heritage Legacy ID: BU 50

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Ashley Green

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Great Chesham

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

Summary

Medieval moated manor site.

Source: Historic England

Details

PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the site includes the earthworks, ruinous standing structures and buried archaeological deposits of a moated manor site, established probably by 1000 AD, located at NGR SP 9862 0424 (centre) located about 1.3km to the south-east of Ashley Green, near Chesham in Buckinghamshire. The land, on chalk bedrock, falls gently from north to south at approximately 155m above Ordnance Datum.

DESCRIPTION: the rectangular moated enclosure to the homestead measures overall about 190m east-west by 165m north-south. The north entrance to the site, approximately 10m in width, appears to be in its original position, as the terminal of the outer bank at the west side of the entrance appears complete, but the banks to the east are modified to accommodate a modern concrete track which overlays the earlier causeway. The entrance to the north-east quadrant is shown on historic mapping and may also be of an early date. The two entrances through the south arm are more recent serving as the main vehicular entrance into the site, and another to Grove Farm House and Chalkyfold.

The site is enclosed by a prominent outer bank or rampart to the north, south, east and west, measuring between 5 and 6m wide, with rounded corners, and a moat about 5m wide at the base with a lower inner bank to all sides. Secondary outer boundary banks, about 1m wide and high to the north, east and south sides survive as fragments. The north secondary boundary bank and the outer bank of the moat curve sharply at the north entrance to form a bulwark to an overgrown curvilinear feature, defined at its base by fragmentary flint walls covered with vegetation, with an opening, possibly an entrance, to the west. At the time of the inspection in April 2017 the outer moat retained water at the south-east and was waterlogged at the north-west quadrant, but it is understood that the moat circuit is periodically watered. On the north side, where the land is higher, the outer bank is 3.75m high, the inner bank approximately 3m high, and the moat approximately 5-6m deep. This varies throughout the monument’s circuit where the height of the banks are either lightly eroded or obscured by vegetation and the depth of the moat is uncertain owing to the presence of water or sediment.

An inner enclosure defines the north-west quadrant, within which the buried remains of the medieval manor and its associated buildings, probably including the chapel of St Mary Magdalene, and the barn converted into Grove Farm (listed and not included in the monument) are located. The inner enclosure measures approximately 55m east-west by 65m north-south. It has a secondary moat at the south and east, approximately 5m wide but widening considerably towards the south-east corner, which is connected to the main moat at the north and west. The eastern moat arm of the inner enclosure is partially infilled. The building platform is defined and retained to the south and east by the flint rubble, inner-core of a curtain wall about 2-3m high and approximately 40m long to the south and approximately 55m long to the east, with a central gap for the current access drive to Grove Farm. The ruins of two gate-towers standing 0.5m high at the south and 2m high to the north, also constructed from flint rubble, are set on either side of a causeway at the centre of the east side over the moat’s eastern arm, suggesting that the existing drive is the location of the medieval entrance to the inner enclosure. The curtain wall masonry wraps around the north-east corner of the inner enclosure, but appears to stop at this point, the central platform retained by the moat’s inner bank on the north and west sides. There is some debate as to the date of the curtain wall and gate-towers, the earliest suggested date being C12, but they could be as late as C15. There are no other standing historic features in the inner enclosure, apart from the house, and the later brick and flint walls of the garden to the south-east. A small swimming pool lies to the west of the house. The modern OS map shows a bridge over the inner south moat, but this is not extant. To the east of the north gate-tower is a late-C19 building, possibly agricultural in origin, but converted into a residence, and not included in the monument.

Grove Farm House and Chalkyfold in the south-west quadrant of the site are surrounded by gardens and have separate modern drives from the track immediately to the south of the monument. A small stretch of moat and bank approximately 12 m wide lies to the south of Chalkyfold. The garden to Grove Farm House is defined to the south and west by the moat and bank, and by the south arm of inner enclosure’s moat to the north. Apart from the listed buildings, no historic structures appear to be standing here. The east half of the site comprises post-war agricultural buildings and concrete-covered trackways and bases.

EXTENT OF SCHEDULING: the scheduled area takes in the entire moated site, as defined by the outer earthworks of the banks as shown on the map, including the interior of the site where upstanding and buried archaeological deposits are known to remain, and where there is the potential for further important archaeological features to survive below ground. A 1m buffer zone is included for the preservation and protection of the monument.

There are a number of important exclusions as follows: all domestic buildings whether listed or not: all upstanding or ruinous C19 and C20 buildings or structures, including walls and ancillary buildings associated with the residences, industries or agricultural functions on the site: all modern gates, fences and fence posts, hedges, verges, drive and track coverings and building slabs. The ground beneath these aforementioned structures is included in the scheduled monument, however.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The moated site at Grove Farm, Grove Lane, Ashley Green, Chesham, Buckinghamshire is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: the earthworks of the outer and inner moat banks and ditches survive very well and the medieval structures, particularly the curtain wall and gate-towers, are rare and significant survivals;
* Potential: there is considerable potential for important archaeological information on the arrangement of this medieval manor complex, and other buildings which formed part of it, and artefacts and ecofacts which will inform on its economy and social context;
* Documentation: a good level of documentary research informs our understanding of the site’s development and the nationally and locally important historic figures associated with it;
* Group value: with the listed buildings on the site, including Grove Farm which is directly associated with the medieval occupation of the site;
* Diversity: in addition to the earthworks of the moat and bank, buildings and structures associated with the manor survive above and below ground;
* Rarity: moats are not rare site types, but the monument probably dates to the C12 or earlier, the initial phase in the development of moats, and thus has a greater rarity and historic importance.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Aberg, FA (Editor), Le Patourel, HE Jean, Roberts, BK, CBA Research Report no 17 Medieval Moated Sites, (1978), 46-56
Harman et al, Tony , A Thousand Years on a Chiltern Farm: the Story of Grove Farm, Chesham, (1999)
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, (1994), 144
Websites
'Ashley Green', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 1, South (London, 1912), accessed 24/4/17 from http://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/bucks/vol1/pp16-18
Information on Dendro analysis of Grove Farm roof, accessed 24th April 2017 from http://www.oxford-dendrolab.com/buckinghamshire.asp
Summary of site history, accessed 1st June 2017 from http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/English%20sites/83.html

Source: Historic England

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