Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Astwood Road, 200m east of Boxhedge Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cranfield, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.098 / 52°5'52"N

Longitude: -0.5957 / 0°35'44"W

OS Eastings: 496292.790289

OS Northings: 245336.095205

OS Grid: SP962453

Mapcode National: GBR F12.D6V

Mapcode Global: VHFQC.MJFJ

Entry Name: Moated site at Astwood Road, 200m east of Boxhedge Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009594

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20437

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Cranfield

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Cranfield

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes a moat which lies close to the top of a hill in an area
of undulating countryside. The moat is pentagonal, being bounded by partially
waterfilled ditches which are between 4m and 6m wide by about 1m deep. The
north-eastern arm of the ditch, perpendicular to the road, is 50m long and the
south-eastern arm, alongside the road is 30m long. The remaining three arms
are 40m long. There is a 10m long eastwards projection of the ditch in the
eastern corner where a gently sloping bottom forms a ramp down into the ditch.
A 12m length of the roadside arm has been infilled to give a causeway onto the
island. There is no visible causeway on the north-west arm. Contained within
the moat is an island which has maximum dimensions of 54m by 44m and is fairly
level with the surrounding fields. Any surviving surface features have been
covered over by rubble dumped on the site in recent years.
Although the present owner reports that the surface of the island and the
western arms of the moat have been slightly altered over the years this is not
thought to have been very extensive. The moat is shown in its present form on
the 1840 Enclosure map. The monument is interpreted as the site of a medieval
dwelling and it is one of three similar sites in the area.

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.

Although partially altered, the moat at Astwood Road is still relatively well-
preserved. Its close proximity to other similar moated sites in the area may
enable chronological and social variations between sites to be explored, thus
giving an indication of rural land management in the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Grimes, Mr T W , (1991)
N.K.B., Ordnance Survey Record, (1972)
Taylor, A, (1973)
Title: Beds CRO: MA77, Enclosure Award Map
Source Date: 1840

Title: Ordnance Survey Survey revision
Source Date: 1974

Source: Historic England

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