Ancient Monuments

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Manor Farm moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Cardington, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.0985 / 52°5'54"N

Longitude: -0.3963 / 0°23'46"W

OS Eastings: 509950.205713

OS Northings: 245680.474364

OS Grid: TL099456

Mapcode National: GBR H3Z.GLQ

Mapcode Global: VHFQH.2JV3

Entry Name: Manor Farm moated site

Scheduled Date: 10 March 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012360

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20401

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Cardington

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Cardington

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The moat at Manor Farm, Cardington is situated in the valley of the Bedford
Ouse on generally flat ground about 1km from the foot of the Greensand ridge.
The moat consists of a ditch, about 10m wide by 2.5m deep, enclosing a sub-
rectangular island of about 1.8ha. the moat does not hold any depth of water
but the bottom is damp and waterlogged. The island measures 185m by up to
115m and a bank runs around the internal edge of the moat. The bank is most
obvious at the north-western corner of the island where it is about 0.5m high,
and 7m wide. An external bank, about 7m wide and in places 0.5m high, can be
seen clearly on three arms of the moat but not on the north-east arm.
Two causeways, crossing the moat on its north-eastern and south-eastern sides
respectively, give access to the interior. The main crossing on the north-
eastern side carries a trackway which runs from Southill Road and is made of
red brick and limestone masonry. Within the island are two large ponds
located close to the north-western arm of the moat. The ponds are of similar
size, measuring about 25m across and at least 2m deep, and both contain
standing water. The eastern pond is linked to the moat by means of a short
leat; the western pond is completely separate. Foundations of large red-brick
structures can be traced in the south-eastern corner of the island and
documents record that timber frame and brick buildings, dating to the Tudor
period (16th century), were standing in this area of the moated enclosure
until their demolition in the 1950s.
The metalled surface of the trackway leading across the main causeway is
excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it 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 Cardington is one of the largest in Bedfordshire. The
monument is very well preserved and displays a diversity of features,
including the remains of internal buildings of the post-medieval period,
causeways and fishponds. The island is essentially undisturbed and will
retain evidence relating to the use of the site from the 16th century onwards.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Bedfordshire Magazine' in Bedfordshire Magazine: Volume 5, (1957)
Hunting, 11/2539-40, (1974)
Hunting, 11/5988-90, (1968)
RAF, K/2169/3052; 41/148/3083-5,

Source: Historic England

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