Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Sheepbridge Court

A Scheduled Monument in Swallowfield, Wokingham

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Latitude: 51.3832 / 51°22'59"N

Longitude: -0.965 / 0°57'54"W

OS Eastings: 472119.610691

OS Northings: 165417.811637

OS Grid: SU721654

Mapcode National: GBR C6M.8TC

Mapcode Global: VHDX6.7H5G

Entry Name: Moated site at Sheepbridge Court

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1977

Last Amended: 22 May 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013336

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12020

County: Wokingham

Civil Parish: Swallowfield

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Swallowfield

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a circular moated site and associated earthworks
surrounding Sheepbridge Court. The moat, which is seasonally water-filled,
has an external diameter of 90m. Two causeways exist on the western side,
while the river Loddon forms the eastern portion of the moat. The moat varies
in width from 10m to 20m and survives to a depth of between 3 and 4m. The
island has dimensions of 60m north- south and 50m east- west and has produced
evidence for occupation in the form of 13th century pottery recovered from the
grounds of the house. Outside the moat, on a separate island to the east, are
what are considered to be two silted up stew ponds or the remains of a
fishpond. To the south is a large external bank surviving to a height of 3m,
considered to represent a spoil heap resulting from the original excavation of
the moat.
Excluded from the scheduling are the buildings of Sheepbridge Court, its
outbuildings and swimming pool.

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 in England, relatively few
survive in Berkshire. This example is particularly important as it survives
well and displays a wide range of features including what might be an
associated building. It also survives as a good example of a moated site
which used diverted river water to form a strong defensive site.

Source: Historic England

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