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Moated site and medieval settlement remains 200m south west of Manor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Great and Little Kimble, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.7454 / 51°44'43"N

Longitude: -0.8097 / 0°48'34"W

OS Eastings: 482274.649949

OS Northings: 205858.651048

OS Grid: SP822058

Mapcode National: GBR D3Q.D42

Mapcode Global: VHDVJ.XD9B

Entry Name: Moated site and medieval settlement remains 200m south west of Manor Farm

Scheduled Date: 21 October 1971

Last Amended: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017513

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29406

County: Buckinghamshire

Civil Parish: Great and Little Kimble

Built-Up Area: Great Kimble

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Kimble

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument is situated near the foot of the Chiltern escarpment below
Chequers Knap, on the north west side of the Aylesbury Road and some 250m west
of St Nicholas's Church. It includes a small medieval moated site, an area of
adjacent settlement and cultivation earthworks to the south, a small fishpond
to the east and, to the east of the complex, a series of ditches created to
exploit the spring line at the foot of the scarp.
The moated site covers an area approximately 70m square and is divided into
two islands. The moat surrounding the larger trapezoidal island measures some
10m in width and 1m in depth and, although the south western arm extends 20m
to the south west in order to take in a natural spring, the entire circuit of
ditches is presently dry. This arm also extends some 30m to the north west
before turning and running parallel with the north west arm to enclose the
second, smaller island. A narrow causeway to the east provides access to the
smaller island, although this was not shown on a plan of the earthworks in
1908 and may be a later addition. The 1908 plan does, however, show a second
causeway, which may have been the original entrance, crossing the southern arm
towards the larger island. There are no superficial indications of structures
visible on the islands, although reports of stone removed from the site in the
earlier part of this century imply the presence of buried foundations.
The area of the associated settlement is marked by a series of rectangular
enclosures immediately to the south of the moated site, aligned with the south
eastern arm but separated by a modern field boundary ditch. These enclosures,
or tofts, vary between 15m and 40m in width, each containing visible evidence
of buildings and other features in the form of low undulations, platforms and
hollows. The enclosures are divided by gullies and banks which are linked to a
shallow hollow way running along the southern edge of the alignment. To the
south of the hollow way are traces of an incomplete furlong of medieval ridge
and furrow; the cultivated ridges, or lands, extend some 30m to 50m to the
south east where they are contained within a post-medieval enclosure bank.
Although the pasture extends beyond this bank (to the edge of the Aylesbury
Road), the remainder of the furlong has been denuded by later episodes of
ploughing and this area is not included in the scheduling.
The eastern limit of the cultivation earthworks is marked by two parallel
ditches, each with a contiguous bank. These ditches extend further to the east
and although they are now dry, they are thought to have been designed to
channel water down the slope from the spring line adjacent to the Aylesbury
Road, in a similar manner to that employed for the later ornamental ponds
within the ground of Manor Farm to the north east. A single medieval fishpond,
measuring approximately 12m by 25m, is located near the eastern corner of the
moat and may have been supplied by this system.
The moated site has been tentatively identified with the original site of
Great Kimble Manor, one of four medieval manors within the parish. In the
reign of Edward the Confessor this manor was held by Sired, one of the Kings's
thegns. After the Norman Conquest it formed part of the extensive lands
granted to Walter Gifford, later Earl of Buckingham, and was held in feoff by
the de Bolbec family. In 1133 the chief sub-tenant of Great Kimble Manor,
Giffard Palefridus of Kimble, granted the parish church to the newly
established Abbey of Missenden together with a virgate of land and meadow. The
proximity of St Nicholas's Church to the moated site provides a measure of
support to the identification of the site with the manor.
All fences, fence posts and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath these items 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 and associated earthworks 200m south west of Manor Farm
survive well. The moated island is undisturbed by excavation or later
development and will retain buried structural remains as well as other
features relating to the period of occupation. Artefacts found both here and
in the silts of the surrounding ditches will provide evidence for the date of
construction, the duration of the site's use and the date of abandonment;
environmental evidence from the ditch silts will also provide insights into
the appearance and management of the landscape in which the monument was set.
The moated site is surrounded by evidence for an elaborate water management
system required, it is thought, to drain the settlement and cultivation areas
and to feed the moat and the adjacent fishpond. 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. They were largely the province of the wealthier
sectors of medieval society, and are considered highly significant as a source
of information for the economy of various classes of secular and religious
The direct association between the moated site and the adjacent settlement
earthworks is of particular interest, the relationship between these two
contrasting yet interdependent forms of settlement providing a significant
indication of the economic operation and social structure of the site as a

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allcroft, A H, Earthworks of England, (1908), 465
Clinch, G, The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire, (1908), 298
Page, F (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Buckinghamshire: Volume II, (1908), 298-9
Sheahan, J, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, (1862), 165
Sheahan, J, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, (1862), 164-5
Ancient Monuments Record Form, Saunders, A, BU 115 Moated Site and Earthworks S & W of manor Farm, (1971)
Field visit notes, Farley, M, 0948, (1973)
Ordnance Survey Surveyor's notes (Antiquity Model), HKB, SP 80 NW 20, (1971)
OS Antiquity Model & notes, NKB, TL 80 SW 21, (1971)
Pike, A, 0947, (1979)
RCHME, Inventory of the Historic Monuments in Buckinghamshire, (1912)
RCHME, Inventory of the Historic Monuments in Buckinghamshire, (1912)
Ref. to removal of stones from island, Farley, M, 0945 Moated site west of Gt Kimble Church, (1973)

Source: Historic England

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