Ancient Monuments

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Moated site and fishpond at Botany Bay Copse

A Scheduled Monument in St. Nicholas, Hurst, Wokingham

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Latitude: 51.4717 / 51°28'18"N

Longitude: -0.84 / 0°50'24"W

OS Eastings: 480662.53604

OS Northings: 175386.706155

OS Grid: SU806753

Mapcode National: GBR C5M.QFP

Mapcode Global: VHDWW.D88M

Entry Name: Moated site and fishpond at Botany Bay Copse

Scheduled Date: 24 March 1977

Last Amended: 27 March 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013351

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12024

County: Wokingham

Civil Parish: St. Nicholas, Hurst

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Church of England Parish: Ruscombe and Twyford

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a small quadrilateral moated site and an associated sub-
rectangular fishpond within, and at the westernmost end of, Botany Bay Copse.
Although the moat is seasonally water-filled, the pond contains water all year
round. The moat has straight regular arms around 2m in depth and bordered by
an outer bank which still survives to a depth of 0.3m. The moat has overall
dimensions of 60m NNE-SSW and 57m NW-SE while the moat island is 35m square.
The pond is 40m in length and runs WNW from the south-west corner of the moat
with which it is considered to be contemporary. It may have acted as a
reservoir for the moat.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 survives well and
includes an associated fishpond. The latter may have acted as a reservoir for
the moat thus making it an important example of an early water-management

Source: Historic England


West Cambridgeshire, Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, An Inventory of Historical Monuments in Cambridgeshire, (1968)

Source: Historic England

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