Ancient Monuments

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Moated site in Castle Close

A Scheduled Monument in Sharnbrook, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.2253 / 52°13'30"N

Longitude: -0.5531 / 0°33'11"W

OS Eastings: 498925.358521

OS Northings: 259549.341768

OS Grid: SP989595

Mapcode National: GBR DZK.JZ0

Mapcode Global: VHFPT.CBFG

Entry Name: Moated site in Castle Close

Scheduled Date: 20 March 1962

Last Amended: 18 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012363

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20404

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Sharnbrook

Built-Up Area: Sharnbrook

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Sharnbrook

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument at Castle Close is a slightly oval moat, about 60m across. The
moat ditch is about 7m wide by up to 3m deep. The central island is
surrounded by a bank 1.5m high. A small area of flat ground in the middle of
the island measures roughly 25m by 20m. There are no causeways across the
moat. The eastern side of the moat holds standing water and is fed by a leat
or stream, 4m wide and 0.5m deep, which runs for some 100m to the east where
it joins other field drains. A survey dated 1617 refers to the land in which
the monument lies as 'Castle Close' and, although the monument has been
described as a type of Norman castle, the defensive appearance of the
earthworks is considered to represent a later fortification of the moat. The
moat at Sharnbrook is one of a number of medieval sites located on the
northern slopes of the Ouse valley, such as the moats at Bletsoe and Thurleigh
and castles at Thurleigh and Odell.

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 earthwork at Castle Close is a well-preserved example of a small, later
medieval moated site. The history of the site is well documented and it is
believed to form part of an important defensive network of sites in
Bedfordshire, extending from Thurleigh to Odell.

Source: Historic England


Beds. CRO note: Sharnbrook Castle and Lodge Road,
Wynn, D.R, Ministry of Works letter, (1962)

Source: Historic England

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