Ancient Monuments

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Moated site in Pegsdon Belt

A Scheduled Monument in Hexton, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9609 / 51°57'39"N

Longitude: -0.3772 / 0°22'38"W

OS Eastings: 511596.021796

OS Northings: 230404.573831

OS Grid: TL115304

Mapcode National: GBR H5R.1F9

Mapcode Global: VHFR2.DZX4

Entry Name: Moated site in Pegsdon Belt

Scheduled Date: 21 December 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009587

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20427

County: Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Hexton

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Hexton

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes a sub-rectangular moated site situated at the foot of
the north-facing scarp of the Chilterns. The northern and eastern arms of the
moat or ditch are at right-angles to each other and are each about 60m in
length. The western arm is 65m long and the southern arm is only about 25m
long. The eastern arm is up to 10m wide but elsewhere the width is about 7m.
The depth of the ditch varies between about 1m at the north-west corner to 2m
at the south-east. The moat contains water which drains via a stream in the
north-east corner and is supplied by a natural spring (this ready source of
water would have been an important factor determining the original choice of
the site). Along the western arm there is an outer bank which is roughly 7m
wide and 0.5m high. Contained within the moat is an island which measures
some 45m by 38m and is raised by about 0.5m above the surrounding ground, at
least on the north side. Although no buildings are visible, sherds of
pottery, tile fragments and traces of domestic refuse around the edges of the
island attest to their survival as buried remains.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 moat in Pegsdon Belt is a good example of a type of small rectangular
moat. Despite being heavily overgrown, the monument is well preserved
retaining environmental evidence in the waterlogged silt of the ditch and
building remains on the island. Also the monument is located in an area
where there are numerous well-preserved moats, potentially enabling
chronological and social variations between sites to be examined.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Howlitson, M, Moated Sites Survey, (1980)
Mr P. Ashley-Cooper, (1991)
P.A.S., Ordnance Survey Record, (1973)
Title: Beds. CRO: MA43 Enclosure map
Source Date: 1817

Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Series TL 13 SW
Source Date:

Source: Historic England

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