Ancient Monuments

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Gannocks Castle moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Tempsford, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.1625 / 52°9'44"N

Longitude: -0.3049 / 0°18'17"W

OS Eastings: 516045.82883

OS Northings: 252934.539074

OS Grid: TL160529

Mapcode National: GBR H3B.FR2

Mapcode Global: VHGML.NXP3

Entry Name: Gannocks Castle moated site

Scheduled Date: 13 December 1929

Last Amended: 8 March 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013419

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11533

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Tempsford

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Tempsford with Little Barford

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes the remains of the Medieval moated enclosure of
Gannocks Castle. The moated site is rectangular in form measuring some 65m
by 55m including the 10m wide surrounding moat. The moat is some 2.5m deep
and water-filled along its northern arm. Entrance to the interior is
provided by a slight causeway at the north-east corner. A substantial inner
bank or rampart is visible around the edge of the island on all but the east
side. A small mound measuring 7m across is located at the north-east corner
of the island and may be the location of a defensive building or structure
opposite the entrance. A low bank is evident along the outer eastern edge of
the moat although its central section is only barely visible.
The site is believed to be built on the same spot as an earlier Danish
Fortress referred to in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle as being constructed in
921 AD and captured later that year by Edward the Elder.

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.

Gannocks Castle is a well-preserved example of a defensive moated enclosure
with important earlier historical connections. The substantial inner
earthworks indicate the defensive nature of the site and are evidence
of its overall good surviving condition.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1908)
Cambridge AP index (RT 82-4 TL 160 529),
SMR Record sheet,

Source: Historic England

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