Ancient Monuments

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Apsley Bury moated site and fishpond, south of Apsley End

A Scheduled Monument in Shillington, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 51.9785 / 51°58'42"N

Longitude: -0.373 / 0°22'22"W

OS Eastings: 511844.536867

OS Northings: 232365.259356

OS Grid: TL118323

Mapcode National: GBR H5C.VY6

Mapcode Global: VHFR2.HJ5M

Entry Name: Apsley Bury moated site and fishpond, south of Apsley End

Scheduled Date: 21 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010927

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20426

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Shillington

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Shillington and Gravenhurst

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


Apsley Bury is a small rectangular moat with a large fishpond adjoining it to
the east. The moat ditch is about 10m wide and varies in depth between 1.5m
on the eastern arm to 4m on the western arm. The southern arm holds some
An outer bank, some 4m wide by nearly 0.5m high, runs parallel to the northern
arm. Enclosed by the moat is an island roughly 60m square on which the below
ground remains of buildings are attested by fragments of tile and stone found
at the west side. Although the north-east corner of the moat is partially
infilled and landscaped, the eastern edge of the moat is preserved as a scarp
in front of the existing farm house. The scarp also marks the west side of a
depression about 1.5m deep and roughly 40m square, which is considered to be a
large fishpond originally fed by water draining from the moat. The northern
edge of the pond is marked by a steep scarp in the adjacent paddock but the
southern and eastern limits lie beneath agricultural buildings. The pond is
now drained but the bottom of the depression is boggy.
Documentary evidence shows that the moat existed before 1777.
The farmhouse and two brick and timber outbuildings within the moat, the
agricultural buildings on the pond, the fence of the paddock to the north, and
the metalled surface of the driveway are excluded from the scheduling but the
ground beneath them is included.

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.

The moat at Apsley Bury Farm is a well preserved example of a type of smaller
rectangular moat retaining a high archaeological potential with building
remains on the interior of the moat and silt deposits in the moat ditch and
fishpond from which environmental evidence may be recovered. The monument
also lies in an area where smaller moated sites are particularly numerous and
therefore chronological and social variations between sites may be explored.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Howlitson, M, Moated Sites Survey, (1980)
Dyer, J F, 'Bedfordshire Magazine' in Beds. Mag. 1961-3, , Vol. 8, (1961)
Beds CRO L 33/13/4, (1777)
Mrs Cole,

Source: Historic England

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