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Bradwell Bury: a moated site and associated manor house remains at Moat House

A Scheduled Monument in Bradwell, Milton Keynes

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Latitude: 52.0488 / 52°2'55"N

Longitude: -0.791 / 0°47'27"W

OS Eastings: 483003.474958

OS Northings: 239618.179177

OS Grid: SP830396

Mapcode National: GBR D01.JTZ

Mapcode Global: VHDT0.7RPS

Entry Name: Bradwell Bury: a moated site and associated manor house remains at Moat House

Scheduled Date: 4 November 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011298

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19079

County: Milton Keynes

Civil Parish: Bradwell

Built-Up Area: Milton Keynes

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Stantonbury and Willen

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a moated site and the remains of an associated manor
house which once formed part of a more extensive monument, some of which has
been removed by excavation and subsequent landscaping. It lies at the top of
the gentle east facing slope of the valley of the Bradwell Brook.
The surviving moated enclosure is 60m square and surrounds Moat House. The
moat ditch has been disturbed by garden landscaping but remains visible as an
earthwork around the north, west and south sides, where its outside slope
survives largely intact and portions of its inside slope can be recognised.
From this surviving evidence it appears to have averaged 7m wide and in excess
of 1.3m deep. The southern arm of the moat extends for some 12m beyond its
junction with the western arm. This may be original or may be the result of
later landscaping. The eastern arm of the moat can no longer be recognised as
a surface feature, having been infilled within living memory; it does however
survive as a buried feature. The central moat platform, the central area of
which is occupied by Moat House, has been reduced in area on the south side by
garden landscaping but elsewhere survives intact and largely undisturbed. It
measures some 40m east to west by 23m north to south, is level, and is raised
slightly above the surrounding land surfaces. Finds made during gardening
activity on the platform have included a medieval pilgrim flask and
substantial wall footings.
Rescue excavations in 1975, in advance of a landscaping development of the
area adjacent to the northern arm of the moat, and outside the boundary of
Moat House garden, revealed the existence of an associated complex of medieval
buildings and structures spanning in time from the 11th century to the 17th
century. The excavations demonstrated that the existing moated enclosure had
once been larger, extending to the north to enclose an area roughly double its
size. The extent of the present moated enclosure is believed to represent a
contraction in size during a late phase of occupation. Most of the works to
the north were destroyed by landscaping following the archaeological
investigation. However the remains of a substantial building of some
importance, interpreted as the early manor house, survive as a buried feature.
This building was of limestone construction, measured 22m east to west, and
had a roughly central cross wall dividing it into two. The west room had
dimensions of 4.2m by 8.7m, with a doorway in the south wall, a hearth east of
centre, and a garderobe at its south-west corner. The larger east room was
11.7m long but of uncertain width, the south wall having been destroyed by the
north arm of the surviving moat. Finds from within the building were of 13th
to 14th century date. The building was re-buried after excavation and lies
immediately outside the northern boundary of Moat House.
The Moat House itself is listed as a Grade II building and is of 17th century
origin. There is a date stone over the main doorway bearing the inscription
T M 1784. This is believed to relate to Thomas Mercer who acquired the Manor
of Bradwell in the mid-18th century and re-built or restored the house.
Excluded from the scheduling is the listed building, all modern buildings and
structures, all boundary features and metalled surfaces, although 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 moated site at Moat House, Old Bradwell, despite being disturbed by later
garden landscaping, survives well with the position and extent of the later
phase moat recognisable and its central platform comparatively well preserved.
There is evidence for the survival of buried structures in this central area,
wall foundations having been revealed during gardening activity. Cultural
artefacts are also likely to survive, evidenced by a chance find of a medieval
pilgrim flask. The location is a proven focus of medieval occupation with
excavation of the area to the immediate north of the site having established a
period of occupation from the 11th to the 17th century, including a 13th-14th
century manor house. The moat lies midway between two other surviving medieval
monuments, Bradwell Priory to the west and Bradwell motte and bailey to the
east. Considered as a group these three sites offer the possibility of a
detailed insight into an area intensively settled in the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Card no 3623,
Conversation with owner,
Filed with SMR 3623, Mynard, D, Bradwell Bury, (1975)

Source: Historic England

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