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Two moated sites 150m east of College Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Pampisford, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.1143 / 52°6'51"N

Longitude: 0.1927 / 0°11'33"E

OS Eastings: 550236.368512

OS Northings: 248483.976868

OS Grid: TL502484

Mapcode National: GBR M9W.FJL

Mapcode Global: VHHKQ.9461

Entry Name: Two moated sites 150m east of College Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 April 1976

Last Amended: 12 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017884

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29709

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Pampisford

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Pampisford St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes two adjacent medieval moated sites, situated 150m east
of College Farm. The ground between the moats contains evidence for a series
of partly infilled ditches and hollows which are thought to represent a system
of paddock enclosures and beast ponds which are also included in the
The northern island is roughly rectangular in plan, measuring about 61m east
to west and 46m north to south. It is defined by a moat some 4m wide and up
to 1.5m deep. The island is raised approximately 0.3m above the level of
the surrounding land, probably by upcast from the construction of the moat.
The surface is generally level except on its western side. Here there is a
shallow oblong depression about 2.5m wide and 15m long. This is set at right
angles to the centre of the moat's western arm and is thought to be modern.
The southern moated island lies some 100m to the SSE. It is square in plan,
set on a north-south diagonal and measuring overall 54m north east to south
west and 52m north west to south east. A large raised area, thought to
represent a building platform, occupies the western half of the island, and
extends into the eastern half. The moat averages 4m in width and is about
0.9m deep except at the eastern angle. Here, the depth reduces to
approximately 0.3m, corresponding with the lower part of the island, and
suggesting the possible location of an entrance. At the northern corner there
is a short extension from the north eastern arm of the moat. Both moats are
seasonally wet and are thought to be fed by springs and surface water.
The area between the two moats contains a number of hollows and partly buried
ditches which combine to form a series of enclosures. The largest enclosure
lies to the immediate east of the northern moat. It is triangular in plan,
bounded to the west by the moat's eastern arm, with the remaining sides
defined by two shallow ditches running from the moat's north eastern and south
eastern corners and converging at a point 35m to the east. A series of six
lesser ditches run southwards from the southern arm of the enclosure and the
southern arm of the northern moat compartmentalising the area between the two
moats in a row of narrow closes or paddocks, some of which contain evidence of
shallow ponds attached to the ditches. Irregularities in the adjacent ground
may indicate the buried remains of further ponds.
This system of ditches and ponds, as well as providing paddocks and water
supplies for animals, may have served to provide drainage in a low-lying area
which would have been prone to flooding.
The close proximity of two similar moated sites is intriguing. It is possible
that one succeeded the other, it being easier to construct a second moat and
buildings before abandoning the first, than to rebuild on the same site. Such
an explanation may, perhaps, be deduced from what is known of land tenure in
the area during the medieval and post medieval periods.
Although the documentary evidence is not entirely clear, it does indicate that
there were two estates in Pampisford which were attached to the manor of
Hinxton. Initially both estates were small but, over the years were augmented
by further acquisitions.
In 1279 one of these estates was held by John Martin and the other by Robert
Saffrey. By 1428 John Martin's holding had passed from his descendants to
Catherine Cloville and subsequently to the Hamonds. Meanwhile, the other
estate remained with the Saffrey family, and it is recorded that William
Saffrey had a capital messuage in 1324. By 1395 the male Saffrey line was
extinct and the estate was owned by one Adam Cove. Nevertheless, by about this
time and for at least another two centuries, the estate was known as Saffreys.
In 1402 Saffreys was acquired by Queens' College, Cambridge and in 1530 there
is a reference to a tenement (land holding with or without a building) with
Saffreys. About 40 years later a further reference to the tenement places it
next to Saffrey's Grove which was said to be surrounded by a hedge and ditch.
Although it is not possible to identify Saffrey's Grove with either of the
moated sites, this reference to a grove and an adjacent tenement may suggest a
first moated site abandoned and given over to woodland, with a later, similar
site close by.
By 1873 the estate was no longer in the possession of Queens' College. Twenty
years later all the College's former holdings were sold, along with the Hamond
lands, to the Binney family. The two original medieval estates, with their
later accruements, were thus finally amalgamated.

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 two moated sites east of College Farm are well preserved examples of this
monument class. The islands will retain buried evidence for the structures
which they formerly contained, including dwellings, ancillary buildings and
associated features such as yard surfaces, refuse pits, drainage channels and
internal boundaries. Artefacts found in association with these features will
provide evidence for the date of construction, the duration of occupation and
the period of abandonment, as well as providing insights into the lifestyles
and status of the inhabitants. The fills of the partly buried moats and
enclosure ditches will contain environmental evidence which may illustrate the
landscape in which the monument was set and the character of the agricultural
regime. A comparison of the evidence from the two sites will provide a
sequence of occupation and use which, when considered with the documentary
sources, will contribute to the knowledge of settlement and land use in the
area during and after the medieval period.
The survival of a series of paddocks and ponds associated with the moated
sites is unusual, and will provide information about animal husbandry and the
economy of the site.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, (1978), 105
Salzman, L F, The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, (1978), 105

Source: Historic England

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