Ancient Monuments

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Chawston Manor moated site and associated fishpond

A Scheduled Monument in Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.1914 / 52°11'29"N

Longitude: -0.3173 / 0°19'2"W

OS Eastings: 515117.972185

OS Northings: 256131.599474

OS Grid: TL151561

Mapcode National: GBR H2X.JLM

Mapcode Global: VHGML.G53W

Entry Name: Chawston Manor moated site and associated fishpond

Scheduled Date: 19 October 1990

Last Amended: 30 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010114

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11555

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Roxton

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


Chawston Manor lies to the east of the Great North Road approximately 1km to
the north of the village of Roxton. The site is in a valley floor location
just to the north of the South Brook close to its confluence with the River
Great Ouse. The monument includes the remains of a medieval moated enclosure,
and an associated fishpond and supply channel forming the south and west sides
of a subsidiary enclosure.
The principal moated enclosure in the eastern part of the monument is
rectangular measuring some 56m north to south by 75m east to west, inclusive
of the 8m wide dry surrounding moat. The inner edge of the moat has been the
subject of recent garden landscaping along its southern and south eastern
sides. Entrance to the island is provided by modern footbridges over the
eastern and western arms of the moat. The surface of the island is raised 1m-
2m higher than the surrounding area. The interior is occupied by Chawston
Manor, a Grade II Listed Building. The upstanding structure is excluded from
the scheduling although the ground beneath is included as it is thought likely
to preserve remains of earlier buildings and features. The name Chawston Manor
is identified with the site in records dating back to 1302, and early medieval
pottery, including green-glazed Stamford Ware, has been found within the
island to the north west of the manor building.
A 0.2m high outer bank is visible along the northern arm of the moat extending
some 2m from the ditch edge. On the south side of the moated enclosure a
series of undulations between the moat and the road are thought to mark
associated cultivation earthworks (ridge and furrow). A water-filled pond
immediately south west of the moat is considered to be a related fishpond.
The fishpond was connected to the south west corner of the moat by a leat
visible as a slight hollow connecting the two features. The supply channel
runs roughly north from the western end of the fishpond, on the same alignment
as the western arm of the moated enclosure. A slight 2m wide bank is visible
extending from midway along the eastern side of the supply channel to align
with the external bank on the northern arm of the moat. The surface within
the enclosure formed by this bank, the channel, the fishpond and the moat, is
about 0.7m lower than the ground to the north.
Chawston Manor, both bridges leading to the island, all fences, fence posts
and the surfaces of paths are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath all these features is included.

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.

Although partially damaged by drainage and landscaping, Chawston Manor remains
a well-preserved example of a small rectangular moated site, with surviving
features relating to water-management and evidence of a subsidiary enclosure.
The silts within the ditches and the water-logged deposits in the fishpond
will contain environmental and artefactual evidence related to the occupation
of the site; and, despite some disturbance caused by later constructions, the
island will retain the buried remains of earlier buildings. The major part of
the western enclosure is undisturbed and will also retain buried
archaeological features.
Chawston Manor forms one of a pair of moated sites in the vicinity of
Wyboston. This proximity will allow chronological and social comparisons
between the two sites. Documentary evidence concerning the history of
Chawston Manor moated site further enhances its importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Kennett, , Roxton: Chawston Manor, (1972)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1908)
Aldsworth, F G, Ordnance Survey Record, (1968)
Notes with Map extract (SMR 475), Tebutt, C.F., Ordnance Survey, (1969)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 revision
Source Date: 1968

Source: Historic England

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