Ancient Monuments

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Castle Dyke moated site

A Scheduled Monument in Careby Aunby and Holywell, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.7165 / 52°42'59"N

Longitude: -0.5091 / 0°30'32"W

OS Eastings: 500803.673644

OS Northings: 314251.97677

OS Grid: TF008142

Mapcode National: GBR FTY.Q2R

Mapcode Global: WHGLJ.4ZT9

Entry Name: Castle Dyke moated site

Scheduled Date: 4 March 1953

Last Amended: 5 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019097

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33132

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Careby Aunby and Holywell

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Careby St Stephen

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a medieval moated site known as Castle Dyke, located in
Castledike Wood, approximately 1.5km south west of the hamlet of Aunby. Aunby
originally formed part of the manor of Bytham which, together with other parts
of the manor, passed to the earls of Albemarle shortly after the Conquest. The
manor of Bytham then came into the possession of the de Colville family,
thought to have been resident in Aunby during the 12th century. It is believed
that Aunby was established during a period of population growth in the late
12th to early 13th centuries; a documentary reference to assarting (woodland
clearance) taking place at Aunby dates to the early 13th century.
The monument takes the form of a moated island, lying on fairly level ground,
which is in turn enclosed by an embanked ditch to create an outer enclosure
with a smaller subrectangular enclosure extending from its south western
corner. The moated site and surrounding enclosures cover an area measuring
approximately 170m by 95m and are thought to represent a manorial complex of
medieval origin.
The island is subrectangular in plan, measuring approximately 50m by 45m, and
is enclosed by a moat measuring up to 6m in width and 1m deep. The moat is
lined by an internal bank measuring 4m to 5m in width and up to 0.5m high.
Access to the island is via a causeway which crosses the southern moat arm,
close to the south east corner. The island would have been occupied by
buildings such as a manor house and domestic or ancillary buildings, the
buried remains of which are thought to survive below ground level.
The moated island is in turn enclosed by a second, outer, ditch on three
sides, to the north, east and south, lying at a distance of 12m to 35m from
the moat. The ditch measures up to 6m wide and 1m deep and is lined by an
internal bank 3m wide and up to 0.5m high along the eastern arm and part of
the northern and southern arms. On the western side of the monument there are
no visible remains of the western arm of the ditch, although the curve of the
ditch at the north west corner indicates that the ditch formerly continued to
the south and will survive as an infilled feature. The southern arm of the
outer ditch is crossed by a causeway, positioned opposite the entrance to the
moated island. The outer enclosure thus created would have been occupied by
ancillary buildings or would have provided accommodation for stock.
At its south western corner the outer ditch curves to the south and leads into
a narrower ditch which forms a subrectangular enclosure measuring 30m by 20m.
The ditch, measuring 4m in width and up to 0.5m deep, feeds back into the
larger outer ditch at its north western corner. This smaller enclosure would
have provided a paddock for stock.
All fence posts and hides are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

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.

Castle Dyke moated site survives well as a series of earthworks and buried
deposits. It has been little altered since medieval times, indicating that
archaeological remains are likely to survive intact. The buried deposits will
preserve organic remains, such as timber, leather and seeds, which will give
an insight into the domestic and economic activity on the site. In addition,
the banks lining the moat and ditches will preserve evidence of the land use
prior to their construction. As a whole, the site will contribute to our
understanding of the way in which components of the medieval landscape
developed and interrelated.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wild, J, The History of Castle Bytham, (1871)
Platts, G, 'History of Lincolnshire' in Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire, (1985)
Li 30058, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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