Ancient Monuments

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Palaceyard Wood medieval moated enclosure and associated enclosures, woodland bank and cultivation earthworks

A Scheduled Monument in Wyboston, Chawston and Colesden, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.1767 / 52°10'36"N

Longitude: -0.348 / 0°20'52"W

OS Eastings: 513055.732821

OS Northings: 254448.430687

OS Grid: TL130544

Mapcode National: GBR H32.GTW

Mapcode Global: VHFQ3.XKC5

Entry Name: Palaceyard Wood medieval moated enclosure and associated enclosures, woodland bank and cultivation earthworks

Scheduled Date: 12 April 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010948

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11536

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


The monument includes the remains of a medieval moat and associated
enclosures, woodland bank and cultivation earthworks. The moated site is
located in the centre of the Palaceyard Wood and is a roughly circular
in shape measuring about 70m in maximum diameter including the
surrounding water-filled moat which is between 6m and 12m wide. The
island is slightly raised above the surrounding area, with the remains
of prominent outer ramparts visible on the western edge of the ditch. An
outflow channel runs to the north with a further channel and an embanked
ditch to the west leading away from the moat.
The moated enclosure is the focal point of a complex of some 14
associated enclosures defined by banks, ditches and scarps. Some of the
enclosures have been sub-divided to form smaller closes or fields. The
interior of one of them at the north-east corner of the site is also
covered by low narrow ridge and furrows, thought to be relict
cultivation earthworks. The largest enclosure covers the whole of the
southern part of the wood and probably marks the original boundary of
the medieval woodland and may pre-date the moated site. This woodland
enclosure is itself enclosed by a small copse bank marking the edge of
the post 1813 enclosured woodlands.

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.

Palaceyard Wood preserves an exceptional and rare medieval complex,
comprising a well-preserved moated enclosure of unusual circular form
and its associated field-systems, closes and enclosures.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of : Volume III, (1912), 221
'JBAA' in Brixworth and its Monastery Church, (1979), 178-9
Wadmore, B, 'Earthworks of Beds.' in Palaceyard Wood, Roxton, (1920), 170
CRO: MA 44, Enclosure Map (1813),
SMR 816, Taylor, C C, Palaceyard Wood, Roxton, Beds., (1987)
SMR note on Domesday records, Simco A, SMR note on Domesday records, (1985)
SMR ref 11, Simco A, SMR ref 11, (1986)
SMR report, Taylor, C C, Palaceyard, Roxton, Beds, (1981)

Source: Historic England

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