Ancient Monuments

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Moated site at Church Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Moreton Valence, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.7863 / 51°47'10"N

Longitude: -2.3211 / 2°19'15"W

OS Eastings: 377946.549475

OS Northings: 209788.255969

OS Grid: SO779097

Mapcode National: GBR 0KJ.VCD

Mapcode Global: VH94P.QC9G

Entry Name: Moated site at Church Farm

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016767

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32335

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Moreton Valence

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Moreton Valence St Stephen

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a moated site with associated water management features
set on low-lying ground in the Severn Vale. The site includes a roughly
rectangular moat and island with a subsidiary enclosure to the north east and
evidence for leats to the north and west. The main island measures 45m by 31m
and is surrounded by a moat with a maximum width of 18m and a minimum width of
10m. The moat is between 2m and 3m deep. To the north east is a subsidiary
enclosure, visible as a series of earthworks, measuring 45m by 18m, and which
would also have been enclosed by a moat up to 8m wide. Leats for the
regulation of the flow of water through the moat can be seen as earthworks
running from the northern and western corners of the moat, and would have
drawn water from the two streams which flow through Moreton Valance.
Documentary sources indicate that in 1253 King Henry III gave ten oaks from
the Forest of Dean for the building of the hall of William de Valance at
Moreton, and this is thought to refer to the construction of this site. The
house of Aymer de Valance at Moreton was recorded in 1324, but by 1372 the
buildings were said to be `worth nothing beyond their expenses', and it is
likely that they had already fallen out of use. There are no further
references to the house or moat until 1674 when the site was deserted and
recorded only as a close of one acre with a moat. Rudder, the 18th century
Gloucestershire historian, described seeing `ancient foundations of hewn
stone' within the moat, which were said to be the foundations of the mansion
of the Valances.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the post and
wire fences which surround the moat, the metal gates set in these fences, the
wood and metal bridge which has been constructed to give access to the main
island, and the modern stone sluice set into the eastern corner of the island
and although the ground beneath and around all these features 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.

The moated site at Church Farm survives well. The island and subsidiary
enclosure will contain buried deposits which are likely to include the remains
of medieval structures, and will contain archaeological information relating
to the construction and subsequent occupation and use of the moated site. The
deposition of material excavated from the moat onto the island in the 1980s
will have served to further protect the buried remains of structures on the
island. Within the moat and other ditches, waterlogged deposits will preserve
archaeological remains relating to the occupation and use of the site, along
with organic material which will provide information about the economy of the
site and the local environment during the medieval period. The leats provide
an indication of the methods used to regulate the flow of water through the
moat. The existence of documentary references relating to the construction and
later history of the moated site is unusual for moats of this period in
Gloucestershire, and will provide information about the site and its role
within the local community.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Elrington, C R, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucestershire: Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (1972), 210
'Trans. of the Bristol and Glos. Arch. Society' in Annual Spring Meeting at Standish, Moreton Valance....., , Vol. XXXII, (1909), 10

Source: Historic England

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