Ancient Monuments

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Moated site immediately north west of Moat Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Buckland, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.8053 / 51°48'18"N

Longitude: -0.7186 / 0°43'6"W

OS Eastings: 488448.419889

OS Northings: 212622.700172

OS Grid: SP884126

Mapcode National: GBR D31.Z00

Mapcode Global: VHDV6.HWGG

Entry Name: Moated site immediately north west of Moat Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016773

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32104

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Buckland

Built-Up Area: Aston Clinton

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Buckland

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a medieval moated site to the north of Aston Clinton and
immediately west of the village of Buckland.

The island is rectangular, surrounded by a water-filled ditch measuring on
average 8m in width and some 2m deep. The interior measures some 76m from
north east to south west by 34m north west to south east and its level surface
stands about 0.5m above its immediate surroundings, no doubt through the use
of material originally excavated to form the moat. Nothing now remains of the
principal dwelling or ancillary buildings which would have stood upon the
island, although the antiquarian, J J Sheahan reported in 1862 that the
`foundations of ancient buildings have frequently been found upon the moat'.
Access to the island is provided by a causeway across the southern arm of the
moat near the eastern corner.

The northern corner of the moat is connected to a water-filled extension,
similar in width, which continues to the north west for approximately 40m.
This is thought to have originated as a fishpond in which stocks of fish could
be raised, perhaps separated by a hurdle or a sluice, before being transferred
to the moat itself. Buckland's Tithe Map of 1843 shows a second extension,
attached to the eastern corner of the moat and running to the south east for
approximately 70m. This feature, also considered to be a fishpond, has been
partly infilled in more recent years leaving only the most westerly section
(some 45m in length) visible as an isolated pond.

The foundations of the modern buildings on the north east side of the island,
the stiles, ceramic sink and all fences are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath 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 immediately north west of Moat Farm survives well. Excepting
the concrete building platform on the north east side, the island is largely
undisturbed and will, as mentioned by Sheahan, retain buried evidence for
structures and other features relating to the period of occupation. The buried
silts in the base of the ditch will contain both artefacts relating to the
period of occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the
landscape in which the monument was set.

Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving fresh water
constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish in order
to provide a constant and sustainable food supply. 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 medieval society, and are considered important as a
source of information concerning the economy of various classes of medieval
settlements and institutions. The two extensions to the moat are thought to
have been utilised as fishponds, and to have formed an integral part of the
settlement. Despite some recent infilling the features survive well, providing
further evidence for the site's economy and status.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, and
is situated in close proximity to two such sites; one at Vatches Farm in Aston
Clinton, and the other south west of Upper Farm in Drayton Beauchamp.
Comparisons between these sites will provide valuable insights into the nature
of settlement and society in the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Sheahan, J, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, (1862), 109
Farley, M E, Field visit, (1971)
Title: Buckland Tithe Map
Source Date: 1843
Bucks Record Office

Source: Historic England

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