Ancient Monuments

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Greensbury Farm moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Bolnhurst and Keysoe, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.2188 / 52°13'7"N

Longitude: -0.43 / 0°25'47"W

OS Eastings: 507353.687955

OS Northings: 259009.262235

OS Grid: TL073590

Mapcode National: GBR G12.S4C

Mapcode Global: VHFPW.HHKD

Entry Name: Greensbury Farm moated site

Scheduled Date: 18 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009577

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11540

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Bolnhurst and Keysoe

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Bolnhurst

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument is a large moated site, over 1ha in area, lying adjacent to
Greensbury Farm. The moat is situated above the 70m contour on the top of a
plateau which is drained by streams flowing south to the River Ouse. The moat
ditch is generally 5m wide by 2.5m deep and encloses an island measuring 150m
east-west by 80m north-south. The moat ditch holds standing water on its
western arm and the remaining arms are partially waterlogged and deeply
silted. The western arm forms a pond which has recently been re-excavated and
is now roughly rectangular, measuring about 15m x 10m. Access to the island
is via a causeway in the north west corner. Traces of an outer bank can be
seen, especially on the north side of the site where it is about 5m wide and
0.5m high. The surface of the island is slightly raised above the surrounding
land. The material used to create the bank and to level the interior will
include spoil generated during the digging of the ditch in medieval times.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Greensbury Farm moat is one of the largest in Bedfordshire and is located in a
particularly dense area of medieval rural settlement. The waterlogged silts
of the moat arms provide ideal conditions for the survival of organic remains
while the buildup of the interior will preserve the contemporary medieval

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1912)
Field, K., 2527/2 + 4; 2715/17 + 18, (1984)
J R L, (1974)
Sale Catalogue, Clapham Park Estate, (1831)

Source: Historic England

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