Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Biggin Wood moated enclosure, Tempsford

A Scheduled Monument in Tempsford, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.1607 / 52°9'38"N

Longitude: -0.2749 / 0°16'29"W

OS Eastings: 518096.94154

OS Northings: 252788.342272

OS Grid: TL180527

Mapcode National: GBR H3C.H9F

Mapcode Global: VHGMM.6Y0G

Entry Name: Biggin Wood moated enclosure, Tempsford

Scheduled Date: 5 April 1955

Last Amended: 16 January 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012451

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11544

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Tempsford

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Everton St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes the well-defined remains of a Medieval moated enclosure
and the levelled remains of an outer enclosure. The moated enclosure is
square in form measuring some 67m across inclusive of the 8m wide surrounding
moat. The partially water-filled ditches form a complete circuit apart from a
recently infilled section at the north-east corner. There is no visible
evidence for the original entrance causeway known to have been on the western
side. The interior of the moated island is flat. The moated enclosure is
contained within a larger rectangular enclosure, the boundary ditch of which
has been levelled, although its below ground remains survive. The site is
believed to be the location of the manor of Biggin or Everton Biggin.

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.

Biggin Wood is an above average example of a Bedfordshire moated enclosure,
and thought to include the remains of the important residence of Everton
Biggin manor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Simkins, M E, The Victoria History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume III, (1932)
Wadmore, B, 'Earthworks of Bedfordshire' in Biggin Wood, Tempsford, (1920)
B H S, (1971)

Source: Historic England

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