Ancient Monuments

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Cottenham moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.2917 / 52°17'30"N

Longitude: 0.1236 / 0°7'24"E

OS Eastings: 544928.153049

OS Northings: 268075.180114

OS Grid: TL449680

Mapcode National: GBR L6B.82S

Mapcode Global: VHHJQ.3N6K

Entry Name: Cottenham moated site

Scheduled Date: 15 August 1983

Last Amended: 18 February 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013882

English Heritage Legacy ID: 11549

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Cottenham

Built-Up Area: Cottenham

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Cottenham All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes the remains of a Medieval moated enclosure. The
enclosure is rectangular in form measuring some 77m by 55m inclusive of the 8m
wide surrounding ditches. Entrance to the moated island is provided by a
ramped causeway on the south-east side. The interior of the island is raised
some 2m above the surrounding land. There are now no visible earthwork remains
of Medieval buildings or features on the moated island. An outer scarp
surrounds part of the ditch and can be seen along part of the south-west and
south-east arms and also along the north-western side of the moat, although
here it is largely obscured by recent dumping. The north-eastern side is
bounded by a very gradual slope, leading almost up to the modern drain. The
remains of an outer moated enclosure formerly recorded as attached to the
north-west side of the moat are no longer visible and are not included in the
scheduled area.
The moated enclosure is believed to be the capital messuage of the Cottenham
manor of Crowland Abbey.

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.

Cottenham moated enclosure survives as a well defined earthwork. This type of
site is considered to be rare in its Fen Edge location. The significance of
the monument is increased by the range of historical documentation relating to
the site and its association with Crowland Abbey.

Source: Historic England


SMR Cambridgeshire,

Source: Historic England

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