Ancient Monuments

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Manor Farm moated enclosure, fishponds and fowling earthworks

A Scheduled Monument in Colmworth, Bedford

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Latitude: 52.2139 / 52°12'49"N

Longitude: -0.3802 / 0°22'48"W

OS Eastings: 510767.3642

OS Northings: 258529.4466

OS Grid: TL107585

Mapcode National: GBR H2N.0QX

Mapcode Global: VHFPX.CMC6

Entry Name: Manor Farm moated enclosure, fishponds and fowling earthworks

Scheduled Date: 11 April 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013453

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11528

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Colmworth

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Colmworth

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans


The monument includes the remains of a medieval moated enclosure, and
separate fishponds and fowling earthworks. The moat consists of a 50m.
square raised platform with a ramped entrance on the north-east side.
The original surrounding ditches are currently limited to a short
section along the south-west side. An irregular pond at the north-west
angle may be a later addition. The platform contains the upstanding
remains of the post medieval Manor House which is excluded from the
scheduling although the ground beneath is included. A curved outer moat
extends to the south-east from the ditched south-east angle of the moat.
This extension partially encloses a square subsidiary building platform
and is thought to be part of the original design. The remains of
contemporary fishponds can be seen south of the moat along 160m. of the
Colmworth Brook. These form a series of three ponds of various shapes
and forms, two on the north bank and one on the south. Further
earthworks some 200m. to the north-west of the moat were constructed in
connection with waterfowling activities. These consist of a linear bank
90m. long and 15m. wide with a scarp defining the south end and an oval
mound at the north end. Nearby also on the Colmworth Brook is a circular
nesting island measuring 20m. in diameter associated with the rearing of
waterfowl. The monument consists of four separate areas.

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.

The moat exhibits a range of features, including not only the well-
preserved moat and fishponds but also a rare association with
distinctive fowling earthworks.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Goddard, A R, The Victoria History of the County of Bedfordshire, (1904), 305
Rayner, E, 'Beds Mag' in Colmworth, , Vol. 7, (), 86
Simco, A. et al, Colmworth Manor, 1984, Unpublished field drawing BCC

Source: Historic England

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