Ancient Monuments

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Moated Manorial Site at Beaumy's Castle, 200m north-east of Priory Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Beech Hill, West Berkshire

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Latitude: 51.3762 / 51°22'34"N

Longitude: -0.9814 / 0°58'52"W

OS Eastings: 470993.46858

OS Northings: 164623.040798

OS Grid: SU709646

Mapcode National: GBR B58.QP8

Mapcode Global: VHDX5.YN1V

Entry Name: Moated Manorial Site at Beaumy's Castle, 200m north-east of Priory Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 May 1975

Last Amended: 27 March 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013179

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12018

County: West Berkshire

Civil Parish: Beech Hill

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Swallowfield

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a partly dry rectangular moated Manorial site at
Beaumy's Castle, 200m north-east of Priory Farm. It is of rectilinear shape
and is aligned NW-SE with maximum external dimensions of 130m and 110m
respectively. The single causeway faces north-west. The moat survives to a
depth of between 3 and 4m and is part filled with water. It encloses an area
c.80m by 60m and survives to a width of between 10m on the NE arm to 20m on
the SE arm. An external bank 75m in length, 9m wide and up to 0.5m high
survives outside the SW arm of the moat. The interior is tree-covered and
although it shows no sign of masonry, red unglazed sherds have been recovered
from the centre of the enclosure. The manor of Beaumy's was held by the
Dispenser family from the first half of the 13th century. Nicholas de la
Beche was granted a licence to crenellate the house in 1339 and the manor was
eventually dismantled in 1420.

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 moats are known, relatively few survive in
Berkshire. This example is particularly important as it survives well and has
high potential for the survival of archaeological remains. In addition the
site has well documented historical sources which demonstrate its importance
during the medieval period.

The site of the scheduled monument is indicated on the attached Scheduled
Monument map extract outlined in black and highlighted in red and includes a
15m boundary on the south east side of the site considered to be essential for
the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Berkshire: Volume III, (1923)
Dennison, E and Darvill, T, HBMC Monument Class Description - Moats, 1988,

Source: Historic England

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