Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Church Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Ashton Keynes, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.647 / 51°38'49"N

Longitude: -1.9407 / 1°56'26"W

OS Eastings: 404199.72873

OS Northings: 194247.943885

OS Grid: SU041942

Mapcode National: GBR 3RR.N63

Mapcode Global: VHB2Y.9VWS

Entry Name: Moated site at Church Farm

Scheduled Date: 25 July 1990

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013356

English Heritage Legacy ID: 12065

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Ashton Keynes

Built-Up Area: Ashton Keynes

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Ashton Keynes

Church of England Diocese: Bristol


The monument includes a large rectangular moated site surrounding Church Farm.
The site is orientated north-south and has maximum external dimensions of 175m
north-south by 125m east-west. The island has dimensions of c.140m by 100m
and is surrounded on all but the west side by a ditch 15-20m wide and between
1 and 1.5m deep. During summer the moat is partly dry (to the east and north)
and partly damp (to the south) although it does fill up in winter. Parallel
and external to the south side of the moat, but for only two-thirds the
length, is a linear depression similar in construction to the ditch; this is
considered to be a fishpond. Numerous casual finds, including pottery and
metalwork, have come from the interior of the site confirming occupation
during the medieval period. Sixteenth century documents suggest that the site
was a possession of Tewkesbury Abbey. It is believed that the site was the
head of the manor of Ashton, left by King Alfred to his daughter, from where
it passed on to Tewkesbury Abbey. It has also been suggested that Church Farm
was the site of a Nunnery, although except for the association with Tewkesbury
Abbey, there is little to support this idea. Certainly, the remains of the
monument are more typical of a manor than a nunnery.
Church Farm and the listed farm buildings on the site are excluded from the
scheduling though the ground beneath these buildings is included.

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 Wiltshire. This site is particularly important as it has good
documentary sources illustrating the sites historic connections. The site
survives well and is situated adjacent to what is considered a contemporary
church building. The site has high potential for the continued recovery of
archaeological remains. These should include not only surface finds but also
structural remains and other archaeological features.

Source: Historic England


Bowley, AK, Location: Church Farm,
Dennison, E and Darvill, T, HBMC Monument Class Description - Moats, 1988,

Source: Historic England

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