Ancient Monuments

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Moated Royal Manorial site at Bear's Rails

A Scheduled Monument in Old Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead

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Latitude: 51.4552 / 51°27'18"N

Longitude: -0.6002 / 0°36'0"W

OS Eastings: 497355.337571

OS Northings: 173846.612582

OS Grid: SU973738

Mapcode National: GBR F8S.R2X

Mapcode Global: VHFTG.KP18

Entry Name: Moated Royal Manorial site at Bear's Rails

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1970

Last Amended: 29 March 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013168

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12017

County: Windsor and Maidenhead

Civil Parish: Old Windsor

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Old Windsor

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a moated Royal Manorial site at Bear's Rails, within the
Windsor Great Park. The manor was added to the park of Windsor Castle in
1359. The moat is rectangular and comprises an inner ditch and outer
earthworks aligned NNE- SSW. There is no visible causeway and the site has
maximum external dimensions of 125m NW-SE and 150m NE-SW. The outer
earthworks are considered to represent a second moat which, although dry,
survives to a depth of 1m and a width of between 5 and 7m. The inner of the
two moats is far more substantial, is water-filled and survives in good
condition. The width varies from 7m on the NW arm to a maximum of 35m on the
SE arm. An internal and external bank survive around part of the monument.
One small island is present within the moat and has dimensions of c.7m by 5m.
The main island measures 75m NE- SW and 60m NW- SE. Partial excavation on the
island in 1919- 1920 revealed the footings of large buildings. After the
site's construction Edward III ordered repairs to the hall, kitchen, chamber
wardrobe, gate- house and granary while new houses were constructed, evidently
timber-framed on stone foundations. Richard II, however, spent very little
money on the site and ordered the manor to be demolished in 1395.

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.

Although a large number of moated sites are known, relatively few survive in
Berkshire. This example is of particular importance as it surrounds a rare
Royal Manorial site, and survives well with a wide range of features. The
site is very well documented historically and has been partially excavated
demonstrating the survival of important archaeological remains.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
History of the Kings Works: Volume 2, (1963), 1020
Dennison, E and Darvill, T, HBMC Monument Class Description - Moats, 1988,

Source: Historic England

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