Ancient Monuments

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Medieval moated site and later fortified manor house known as Bury Castle 100m west of the parish church

A Scheduled Monument in East, Bury

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Latitude: 53.5939 / 53°35'38"N

Longitude: -2.2985 / 2°17'54"W

OS Eastings: 380342.607166

OS Northings: 410858.187161

OS Grid: SD803108

Mapcode National: GBR DVDW.5D

Mapcode Global: WH97Q.NXPP

Entry Name: Medieval moated site and later fortified manor house known as Bury Castle 100m west of the parish church

Scheduled Date: 27 January 1976

Last Amended: 2 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015128

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27595

County: Bury

Electoral Ward/Division: East

Built-Up Area: Bury

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Bury St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Manchester


The monument includes the buried remains of a medieval moated manor house
which was fortified after a licence was granted by Edward IV in 1469. It
became known as Bury Castle. The castle belonged to the Pilkington family
between 1350 to 1489. It passed to the Stanley family by forfeiture to the
Crown and from that date the buildings were allowed to fall into decay. The
remains were finally destroyed during the Civil War after Royalists,
having taken shelter in the ruins, surrendered following the Battle
of Ribblesdale.
The original platform for the moated manor house measured 47m by 41m with a
moat 6m wide and 1.5m deep. The platform was constructed of clay and gravel
supported by large pebbles. On this the original house was built in stone with
walls 2m thick. This measured 25m by 20m. This building forms the bulk of the
later fortified dwelling.
At the time of fortification the moat was cleaned and widened and the platform
reduced by 6m on average on the southern side. The vertical inside slope was
revetted in stone providing a foundation for a buttressed curtain wall around
the platform and a small tower on the south side. On the east side a bridge
was constructed in stone.
Subsequent developments on the site included the dismantling of the available
stonework for other buildings and the erection of stock fences and digging of
rubbish pits on the platform. The moat became filled with refuse.
Parts of the site were excavated between 1972 and 1977 and revealed the
sequences of occupation on the site and showed that substantial parts of the
buttressed curtain wall survive in foundations on the site where later
buildings with cellars have not destroyed the remains.
All road surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.

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 moated manor house was superseded by a fortified house on the moated
platform. Fortified houses contain a mixture of domestic and military
elements. The nature of the defences in this case include a curtain wall
inside the moat, a gatehouse and possibly other towers and probably
crenellated parapets to the walls. There would have been a hall and kitchens,
storage and service areas within the walls. There may have been other
buildings outside the moat in which granaries, stables and barns were located.
The fortified house is a rare monument type with fewer than 200 identified in
England. All examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains
are considered to be of national importance.
The moated manor and subsequent fortified house at Bury survive as well
preserved buried features on the site. Excavations in the 1970s have revealed
the extent of the features and their state of preservation. The survival of
the type of fortified manor is rare in the region and this one may be compared
with the example at Radcliffe not far away. The protected area will contain
much important information about the fortifications and the domestic and
military regimes within the extent of the walls. The moat will contain more
information about the surrounding environment at the time of occupation and
later years. This will also enhance our knowledge of the settlement of the
town in this period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Tindall, A, The Moated House, (1985), 57-72
Tyson, N, Excavations at the Site of Bury Castle, (1986)
Tyson, N, Excavations at the Site of Bury Castle, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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