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Moated site 410m south east of Maukins

A Scheduled Monument in Hardmead, Milton Keynes

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Latitude: 52.1234 / 52°7'24"N

Longitude: -0.6266 / 0°37'35"W

OS Eastings: 494122.28439

OS Northings: 248122.094331

OS Grid: SP941481

Mapcode National: GBR F0M.Y47

Mapcode Global: VHFQ5.3W3K

Entry Name: Moated site 410m south east of Maukins

Scheduled Date: 14 June 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018726

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32114

County: Milton Keynes

Civil Parish: Hardmead

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Sherington with Chicheley, North Crawley, Astwood and Hardmead

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


The monument includes a medieval moated site 410m south east of Maukins.

The moated site includes a rectangular island measuring some 50m north east-
south west by a maximum of 78m north west-south east. The island is surrounded
by a water-filled ditch which measures up to 6m wide and at least 2m in depth.
An outer bank, measuring a maximum of 2m wide and thought to represent upcast
from the ditch, is visible on four sides of the moat. Access to the island is
via a causeway on the north western side.

The moated site is believed to be the principal manor of Hardmead belonging to
the principal fee held by the Windsor family in the 12th century. In the 13th
and 14th centuries it was held by the Bending and de Olney families. After the
Reformation the disused manor house was taken over by the rector and a new
rectory was built within the moat. A terrier of 1607, surveyed by William
Fowler, rector in 1627, states that the parsonage house was `compassed by a
moat'. The moat is recorded as enclosing the two storey, six bay parsonage,
two barns and a hay house and that behind the house were fruit trees and a
garden plot. Prior to 1802 the rectory had been converted into tenements for
the poor of the parish and was finally demolished in the mid-19th century. The
moat is believed to be one of the few surviving elements of the `northern' end
of the medieval village of Hardmead which originally stood immediately to the
north and west. The village was occupied during the 13th and 14th centuries
and existed as a shrunken village until as late as the mid-19th century when
severe unemployment and poverty led to abandonment.

The archaeological remains of the medieval village were recorded during a
survey and watching brief carried out in 1973-74 by the Milton Keynes
Archaeological Unit, prior to levelling of surviving earthworks in order to
convert the land from pasture to arable. A series of crofts and tofts were
recorded running along the inner edge of a contemporary road curving through
the settlement.

A 14m section of this road surviving immediately to the north west of the moat
is included in the scheduling, in order to protect the archaeological
relationship between the road and the moated site. The area of the medieval
village is not included in the scheduling.

The fences around the outside edge of the moat ditch and the pheasant coop on
the island 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 410m south east of Maukins survives well. The island is
largely undisturbed and will 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. A small part of this medieval landscape survives in the loop
road which abuts the moat and which originally connected the individual crofts
of the medieval settlement.

The moated site is additionally important as it represents the last visible
element of the now ploughed-out medieval village.

The monument lies in an area where moated sites are relatively numerous, and
is situated in close proximity to three other such sites in the parish of
Hardmead and another at Wood Farm, Clifton Reynes, 3.5km to the north west.
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
Chibnall, A C, Beyond Sherington, (1979), 143-4
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County, (1969), 362-364
Smith, P, 'Records of Buckinghamshire' in Hardmead And Its Deserted Village, (1985), 44
Smith, P, 'Records of Buckinghamshire' in Hardmead And Its Deserted Village, (1985), 46
Add MS 5839, Fowler, W, Terrier of 1607, (1627)
Copy in Bucks Record Office, Bankes, R, The Plot of the Manor of Hardmead, (1638)

Source: Historic England

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