Ancient Monuments

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Manor Farm Iron Age univallate hillfort and medieval moated enclosure.

A Scheduled Monument in Bolnhurst and Keysoe, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.2253 / 52°13'31"N

Longitude: -0.4137 / 0°24'49"W

OS Eastings: 508446.440739

OS Northings: 259750.038084

OS Grid: TL084597

Mapcode National: GBR G12.J6Z

Mapcode Global: VHFPW.SB4F

Entry Name: Manor Farm Iron Age univallate hillfort and medieval moated enclosure.

Scheduled Date: 12 April 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012066

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11529

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Bolnhurst and Keysoe

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Bolnhurst

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes the remains of an Iron Age hillfort and medieval
moated enclosure. The Iron Age hillfort (650 BC to AD 43) is delineated
by an irregular shaped earthwork formed by a single ditch and bank. The
ditch survives on the north, north-west and south sides having been
largely infilled in other areas. The internal bank or rampart is visible
on all but the east side as a 25 m. wide 1 m. high earthwork which has
been reduced by cultivation in recent years. The interior is likely to
contain buildings and associated occupation deposits. The medieval
moated enclosure is located within the northern part of the hillfort,
making use of the existing ditches north of Church Lane. The area
enclosed measures some 110 m. east-west. The western part of the ditch
is water filled and measures about 5 m. across, elsewhere it has been
largely levelled. The triangular pond in the northern area is thought to
be of medieval or post medieval type although the numerous low
earthworks in this area may date from either the Iron Age or medieval
Periods. The remains of a small rectangular moated outwork can be seen
to the north of the main enclosure. This outwork is thought to form part
of the medieval moated complex. The post medieval farmhouse, barns and
modern bungalows within the moated enclosure are excluded from the
scheduling. Church Lane is also excluded, dividing the monument into two
separate scheduled areas.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are a rare class of monument with only c.150
examples surviving nationally. The majority were constructed and used in
the latter Bronze Age and earliest Iron Age (12th-6th centuries BC).
From the slight nature of these sites, with their ramparted enclosure
and single ditch, it has been suggested that they functioned as stock
enclosures or redistribution centres rather than as defended
settlements, although they may have served both purposes in times of
crisis. The overall scarcity of these sites, especially in lowland
England, indicates that all examples, even where damaged, are of
national importance. The Manor Farm site is a good surviving example
with parts of the rampart still visible as a distinctive earthwork and
most of the outline of the ditch circuit preserved. The interior,
especially, in the Southern area unaffected by more recent building,
shows high potential for the recovery of archaeological remains. The
Manor Farm site is made more unusual by the existence of a medieval moat
which occupies part of the earlier hillfort.
The moat lies in the northern half of the hillfort and its wide water-
filled ditch clearly exploits the former Iron Age enclosure ditch. Moats
are often characterised by high status domestic or religious buildings.
Around 6000 examples are scattered throughout England with most dating
from the medieval period. They may exhibit a high diversity in their
forms and sizes. As such they make up a significant class of medieval
monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of
wealth and status in the countryside.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Goddard, A R, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1904), 275-6
Goddard, A R, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1904), 275-6
Brown, A, 'Fieldwork for Archaeologists and Local Historians' in Bolnhurst, (1987)
Brown, A, 'Fieldwork for Archaeologists and Local Historians' in Bolnhurst, (1987), 72-3
CRO 5/2/74, Simco, A, The Camp, Bolnhurst, (1974)
CRO 5/2/74, Simco, A, The Camp, Bolnhurst, (1974)

Source: Historic England

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