Ancient Monuments

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Rufford moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Rufford, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.6482 / 53°38'53"N

Longitude: -2.8217 / 2°49'18"W

OS Eastings: 345778.495842

OS Northings: 417172.669687

OS Grid: SD457171

Mapcode National: GBR 8VQ7.XY

Mapcode Global: WH864.MKJK

Entry Name: Rufford moated site

Scheduled Date: 1 January 1900

Last Amended: 18 February 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012316

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13404

County: Lancashire

Civil Parish: Rufford

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Rufford with Holmeswood St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn


The moated site at Rufford comprises an island approx. 30x25m
surrounded by a moat 5-10m wide. Causeways cross the moat at the western
and north eastern sides and traces of an outer bank exist around the
southern margins.
Moated sites are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the
Lords of the manor. The moat in such circumstances marked the high
status of the occupier, but also served to deter casual raiders and wild
animals. Most moats were constructed between 1250 and 1350 and it is to
this period that this example is likely to date.
The moat is well defined approx. 1.5m deep and still waterlogged with
its sides virtually unweathered. An inlet/outlet channel flows north-
south immediately east of the moat and functioned as part of the water
management system by allowing water in at the northeast corner of the
moat and out via the southeast corner. The island is slightly raised
above the level of the surrounding land probably as a result of
spreading of the upcast from the moat. The monument is heavily covered
with trees, scrub and ornamental shrubbery.
The fence crossing the monument is excluded from the scheduling.

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 Rufford survives well, its earthworks being
particularly evident. The monument is of high archaeological
potential with the continued waterlogging of the moat and the
survival of the contemporary ground surface on which the monument was
originally constructed. The inlet/outlet channel illustrates well the
water management system at the monument and there is evidence of an
original causeway.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hallam, A M, Moated Site at Longshaw Wood, Rufford, West Lancashire District, (1987)
Verhaeghe, F, 'Medieval Moated Sites in North-west Europe' in Medieval Moated Sites in Coastal Flanders, (1981)
Darvill, T., MPP Single Monument Class Description - Moats, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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