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Moated site, known as `Crows Parlour'.

A Scheduled Monument in Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.0906 / 52°5'26"N

Longitude: 0.0786 / 0°4'43"E

OS Eastings: 542504.176566

OS Northings: 245625.937014

OS Grid: TL425456

Mapcode National: GBR L8L.W4K

Mapcode Global: VHHKN.9QY5

Entry Name: Moated site, known as `Crows Parlour'.

Scheduled Date: 21 October 1977

Last Amended: 11 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014211

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24431

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Fowlmere

Built-Up Area: Fowlmere

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Fowlmere St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The moated site known as `Crows Parlour', lies on the south eastern edge of
the village of Fowlmere, some 150m to the south east of a large medieval
ringwork termed `The Round Moat' (which is the subject of a separate

The moated island is roughly square in plan, the western and southern sides
measuring approximately 34m, some 4m less than the length of the opposing
sides. The surrounding ditch varies between 6m in width to the north and west
and 4m in width to the south and east. The eastern arm of the moat, together
with the adjoining halves of the northern and southern arms descend to a depth
of between 1m and 1.5m, and still retain water seasonally. The remaining
sections of the moat have largely become infilled over recent years, yet they
survive as buried features. The positions of these buried sections are
indicated by the upper edge of the inner scarps, and the dimensions have been
recorded by earlier surveys.

A narrow outflow channel, also largely infilled but visible as a slight
depression, extends northwards for approximately 5m from the north eastern
corner of the moat. This feature would originally have joined with the former
course of a brook situated on the eastern side of the monument, which has been
replaced by a field boundary ditch. The water supply is thought to have been
provided by two narrow channels which connected the southern corners of the
moat with a leat which crossed the fields further to the south.

The location of a bridge, which would have provided access to the island
across the northern arm of the moat, is indicated by a slight narrowing of the
ditch some 10m from the north western angle. Material quarried during the
construction of the moat was used to create a raised area around the perimeter
of the island on all but the northern side. This is particularly noticeable
along the eastern edge which retains a raised platform, 0.5m in height and 5m
in width, considered to mark the foundations of a former building. The western
and southern arms of the moat are also flanked by an external bank, which
measures approximately 3m in width and between 0.3m and 0.75m in height.

The moated site is depicted as an old enclosure on a tithe map dated 1847, at
which time it contained pasture and was surrounded by water on all but the
southern side. The site is apparently unexcavated, although the northern and
western arms of the moat were partially recut prior to 1903.

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.

Despite some infilling of the ditches, the moated site known as `Crows
Parlour' remains a well preserved example of a small, single island type which
retains evidence for the system of water management. The island will contain
the buried foundations of buildings, the bridge and other structures related
to the period of occupation. The infilled sections of the moat remain
preserved as buried features, and together with the open ditches will contain
artefactual evidence for the use of the site, within the lower silts.
The importance of the site is enhanced by its proximity to `The Round Moat', a
fortification which was also in use in the medieval period. Comparison between
these sites will provide an insight into the changing requirements of the
higher ranks within local medieval society, and provide an archaeological
context for the early development of the village.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, (1948), 30
'The Round Moat at Fowlmere' in Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, , Vol. 12, (1908), 114-119
Entry in FMW report, Walters, V, Moated site Crows Parlour, (1975)
RCHME survey (1;2,500) notes, GJM, NAR TL 44 NW 13, (1976)
Tithe map and award, Welstead, A H, CRO 296/P/13, (1847)
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series
Source Date: 1903

Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series
Source Date: 1974

Source: Historic England

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