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Moated site and associated earthworks in Bray's Wood

A Scheduled Monument in The Lee, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.7354 / 51°44'7"N

Longitude: -0.676 / 0°40'33"W

OS Eastings: 491525.264615

OS Northings: 204908.570834

OS Grid: SP915049

Mapcode National: GBR F5D.3X8

Mapcode Global: VHFS2.7MHZ

Entry Name: Moated site and associated earthworks in Bray's Wood

Scheduled Date: 8 June 1981

Last Amended: 14 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015545

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28115

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: The Lee

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: The Lee

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a roughly square moated enclosure set within a larger
banked and ditched enclosure and situated on a north facing slope in Bray's
Wood. The site is immediately north of the Lee to Chesham road, 500m north
west of Cherry Tree Farm.
The moat is roughly square in plan and is aligned east to west with a single
entrance in the centre of its east side. It encloses an area which measures
43m from east to west and 40m from north to south, with the remains of an east
to west aligned building in the south west corner.
This building measures c.20m long and 9m wide and there is stone rubble
showing wall lines around its edge. Medieval pottery and tile fragments have
been found in and around the building. The earthworks of the moated site
include an internal bank c.1.2m wide and up to 0.7m above the level interior.
Beyond this lies a ditch which has become partly infilled by leaf litter but
is still open to a depth of 0.9m in places and measures as much as 5m across.
Beyond this, although no longer present around the whole of the circuit, is a
slight outer bank c.0.3m high and as much as 3.7m wide, although most of the
visible sections are nearer to 1m wide.
The larger enclosure, which originally extended beyond the moat to the east
and west, was believed during the last century to be earlier than the moat.
However, this is unlikely because the outer enclosure ditch turns south east
to avoid it. The enclosure has a much slighter ditch and bank than that of the
moat and the ditch measures an average of 2m wide and is nowhere more than
0.8m deep from the top of the bank which, where visible at ground level,
measures c.1.5m wide and 0.5m high. The south east side of the enclosure is
open, but a sketch plan drawn in 1856 suggests that it may have been part of a
wider division of fields which were enclosed and ploughed level by the turn of
this century. The enclosure measures c.80m wide at its north west end and
extends c.100m north west of the moated site.
Finds from the area have been mainly medieval and post-medieval in date, but
earlier Romano-British pottery fragments suggest that the site was occupied in
the Roman period.
The site represents a moated house and a later associated enclosure related to
the surrounding field system. The late history of the site shows that by 1815
the house was in ruins and cart loads of flint were taken away to be used in
the construction of the nearby road. A plan of the site, published in 1855,
shows what is likely to have been the site's original extent.

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 site and associated enclosure at Bray's Wood survive well,
representing a good example of a medieval moated farm. Occasional surface
finds indicate that the monument will contain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to its construction, occupation and the earlier Romano-
British landscape from which it developed.

Source: Historic England


CASS 00175, C.A.O., Card 0175, (1990)
CASS 00175, C.A.O., CARD NO 0175, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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