Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Marston Moat

A Scheduled Monument in Trudoxhill, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1931 / 51°11'35"N

Longitude: -2.3341 / 2°20'2"W

OS Eastings: 376750.918671

OS Northings: 143815.636847

OS Grid: ST767438

Mapcode National: GBR 0SV.4PL

Mapcode Global: VH97L.H8FQ

Entry Name: Marston Moat

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1966

Last Amended: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016302

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29779

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Trudoxhill

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a rectangular moated site situated on low lying ground
east of the River Frome.
The moated site includes an island, measuring 33m east-west and 36m north-
south. The island is level with the surrounding ground surface but has a low
bank, approximately 3m wide and 0.3m high, running along the south and east
sides. Surrounding the island is a water filled moat, approximately 7m wide,
which, at the north west corner, flows into a field drain system. In the north
west corner is what is believed to be a submerged causeway across the moat.
Unusually for this class of monument, the moat is surrounded by a substantial
outer bank. The bank is not apparent at the extreme north west and south west
corners and has an opening, possibly original, on the west side. Elsewhere it
has an average width of 13m and varies between 1.8m and 2.25m in height.
Marston moat is believed to be the site of the manor house of the Bigot family
who held it from before 1195 but who incurred the displeasure of Edward II for
fortifying it without a license.
Excluded from the scheduling is the fence that surmounts the outer bank,
although the ground beneath it is included.

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.

Marston Moat is a well preserved example of its class and is unusual in
possessing a substantial outer bank. Despite being overgrown with trees and
being eroded by burrowing animals, it will contain archaeological and
environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which
it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Collinson, J, History of Somerset, (1791), 213-214

Source: Historic England

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