Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Moated site 580m south west of Church Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Holton, Oxfordshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.7505 / 51°45'1"N

Longitude: -1.1319 / 1°7'54"W

OS Eastings: 460026.215975

OS Northings: 206109.039811

OS Grid: SP600061

Mapcode National: GBR 8Z9.8MT

Mapcode Global: VHCXX.B8HF

Entry Name: Moated site 580m south west of Church Farm

Scheduled Date: 19 February 1976

Last Amended: 23 October 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018425

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30824

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Holton

Built-Up Area: Wheatley

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Holton

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a roughly circular moated island situated 280m to the
south east of a larger moat which was the former site of Holton House in
Holton Park and which is the subject of a separate scheduling.

The roughly circular moated site occupies a position with good all-round
views, and is believed to be the site of the earlier manor house first
mentioned in 1367 but probably in existence at least a century earlier.
The central island is roughly level and forms an almost perfect circle with a
diameter of 27.5m. There are no surviving building remains visible at ground
level, but from comparison with similar sites, these can be expected to
survive as buried remains.

The island is surrounded by a broad ditch as much as 2.5m deep in places and
measuring between 6.5m and 8m wide except at its north west edge where it has
been extended by a further 6m to form a broader rounded hollow.

The site is very similar to the early manor moat at Woodstock, in the grounds
of Blenheim Palace, 17km to the north west and the subject of a separate
scheduling. At both sites it appears that the later house was constructed on a
new site leaving the earthwork remains of the earlier abandoned moat within
the later landscaping of the park. At Holton the fact that the later house was
also moated has led to its confusion with the earlier manor site, and this
smaller moat has sometimes been identified as a possible Civil War earthwork.
Although the park was occupied by Parliamentarian troops in 1643, there is no
evidence that any large-scale earthworks were constructed, and in any case, it
is more likely that troops would have made use of existing earthworks at
first, as occurred at Cornbury Park near Charlbury.

The site formed the focus of the early medieval manorial settlement which
later shifted as part of the wider development of the landscape associated
with the changing needs and fashions of the owners of Holton Park.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 circular moat 580m south west of Church Farm is believed to form the
earthwork remains of the earliest Holton Manor, a small manor house with
associated buildings situated on a moated island with open views in all
directions. Such early manorial settlements were functional and sometimes
defensive rather than comfortable or luxurious. As a result it is not
surprising that it was later moved to the site occupied until last century by
the main house, where a much larger moated island with room for more extensive
buildings, gardens and other signs of wealth was available.

As a result of this shift, the early manor site will not have suffered from
the damage of later building foundations and cellars, and will contain
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction,
occupation and the earlier landscape in which it was built. In addition, along
with the later site, it provides a good example of the changing needs and
wealth of medieval manorial families, and the fashions which affected the
later development of the landscape around them, in this case the landscaping
of Holton Park.

Source: Historic England


DISCUSSION WITH D. PORTER ON SITE, Jeffery, P, Holton House (site of) Moat, (1997)
DISCUSSION WITH SMRO & RECORD SEARCH, Lisk, S, Holton House (site of) Moat, (1997)
PRN 158, C.A.O., LIMEKILN, (1973)
PRN 1771, C.A.O., Manor House -Holton House (site of), (1973)
PRN 5723, C.A.O., Octagonal ditched mound, (1990)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.