Ancient Monuments

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Moated site in Bellamy's Grove

A Scheduled Monument in The Stukeleys, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.3721 / 52°22'19"N

Longitude: -0.1796 / 0°10'46"W

OS Eastings: 524029.678834

OS Northings: 276450.629597

OS Grid: TL240764

Mapcode National: GBR J29.9FK

Mapcode Global: VHGLP.TMYY

Entry Name: Moated site in Bellamy's Grove

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016671

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29751

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: The Stukeleys

Traditional County: Huntingdonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Abbots Ripton with Wood Walton

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a medieval moated site situated 500m east of Wild Goose
Leys Farm in a small wood known as Bellamy's Grove.
The moat island is roughly trapezoidal in plan, with approximate measurements
of between 90m and 100m east to west and 70m and 90m north to south. It is
defined by a wide moat, now partly silted but still waterlogged in places.
No leats (inflow and outflow channels) are apparent, and it is thought that
the moat was filled from surface drainage and springs, perhaps being only
seasonally wet. Traces of both outer and inner banks survive on all but the
western side. To the south the outer bank still stands to a height of about
0.5m. Original access to the island is thought to have been via a bridge,
while some infilling of the moat at the eastern corner may represent a later
causeway. The interior of the island contains many surface irregularities
which are considered to represent building platforms, although no structural
remains survive above ground.
The southern portion of the island contains two rectangular fishponds both of
which still retain water. The smaller of the two is situated within the south
eastern corner, and the larger is aligned with the southern arm of the moat.
To the north of this latter pond is a conical mound. The base of the mound is
about 10m in diameter decreasing to approximately 6m over a height of 1.5m.
The summit is hollowed out, and the northern side has been cut away. Although
this earthwork has formerly been interpreted as the site of a windmill, it is
more likely to have originated as a garden feature, such as a prospect mound,
or to have supported a dovecote. A third waterfilled pond towards the north
western part of the island is thought to be of a later date than the southern
It has been suggested that the moated site represents the focus of the
post-medieval manor and hamlet of Esthorpe which had formed part of the main
manor of Ripton, although the precise location and extent of the peripheral
settlement is not known. The main manor, along with other lands in the
parish, was held by Ramsey Abbey, but in 1541, following the Dissolution of
the Monasteries, it was granted by the Crown to Sir John St John. Sir John
subsequently settled the manor on his son Oliver, later Baron St John of
Bletsoe, and in 1640 the manor was conveyed by the baron's son, the Earl of
Bolingbroke, to Hugh Awdley. Litigation following Awdley's death in 1662 led
to the property being split, but it was reintegrated by his descendants, Hugh
and Susan Bonfoy, in 1686. Through his marriage to Susan, Sir Charles Caesar
gained control of the manor, and it remained in the Caesar family until the
late 18th century when it was acquired by William Henry Fellowes in whose
family it has remained to the present day.

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.

The moated site in Bellamy's Grove survives largely undisturbed and is one of
the best preserved of its kind in the region. The island will contain buried
evidence for former buildings and other features related to its period of
occupation such as yard surfaces and refuse pits. The ditches will provide
detailed information concerning the water management system and will contain
waterlogged deposits from which both artefacts and environmental evidence can
be retrieved. These will help to illustrate the development of the site, the
lifestyle of its inhabitants and the landscape in which the monument was set.
Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow-moving fresh water
constructed for the purpose of breeding and storing fish in order to provide a
consistent and sustainable supply of food. The tradition of constructing and
using fishponds began in the medieval period and reached a peak of popularity
in the 12th century. They were largely the province of the wealthier sectors
of society, and are considered important as a source of information concerning
the economy of various classes of medieval settlements and institutions.
The fishponds at the Bellamy's Grove moated site form an integral part of the
settlement, and represent an important component of the medieval landscape
created to support its economy. The ponds are well-preserved visible features
which, still containing water, may retain further waterlogged deposits
relating both to their use and to the site in general.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ladds, S I, The Victoria History of the County of Huntingdon, (1926)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Huntingdon, (1932)
description of moated site, RCHM Huntingdonshire, (1926)
description of moated site, RCHM Huntingdonshire, (1926)

Source: Historic England

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