Ancient Monuments

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Moated site 130m west of Whittlesford Manor

A Scheduled Monument in Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.1153 / 52°6'55"N

Longitude: 0.1423 / 0°8'32"E

OS Eastings: 546780.561075

OS Northings: 248498.193882

OS Grid: TL467484

Mapcode National: GBR L8H.6T0

Mapcode Global: VHHKP.F326

Entry Name: Moated site 130m west of Whittlesford Manor

Scheduled Date: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019183

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33281

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Whittlesford

Built-Up Area: Whittlesford

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Whittlesford St Mary and St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a medieval moated site situated 130m west of
Whittlesford Manor and approximately 610m to the west of Whittlesford parish

The moated site includes a sub-square island which measures up to 30m in width
and is raised approximately 0.5m above the surrounding ground surface. This is
enclosed by a seasonally water-filled moat measuring up to 7m wide and
approximately 1m deep. An extension to the northern arm of the moat, which
extends for 12m to the east, is thought to represent an outflow channel and is
included in the scheduling. The causeway, which crosses the south western
corner of the moat, dates from the 19th century. A small rectangular building,
which formerly stood near the south west corner of the island, is thought to
have been of post-medieval date.

The moated site is believed to represent either the small sub-manor belonging
to Barnwell Abbey, Cambridge, which was leased out to the Cheney family in the
13th century, or the home of Baldwin de Freville, an undertenant of the
Cheneys from at least 1333 until after 1350. The present Whittlesford Manor,
an 18th century house located outside the scheduling, 130m to the east, is
believed to represent the successor to the house which formerly stood on
the island.

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 moated site 130m west of Whittlesford Manor survives well. The island is
largely undisturbed and will retain evidence for structures and other
features relating to the construction and occupation of the site. The buried
silts in the base of the ditches will contain both artefacts relating to the
period of occupation and environmental evidence for the appearance of the
landscape in which the moated site was set.

Comparative studies between this site and with further examples, both locally
and more widely, will provide valuable insights into the development of
settlement in medieval England.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire267
Taylor, C C, 'The Rural Settlements of Medieval England' in Whittlesford: The Study of a River-edge Village, (1989), 218-219
Title: 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map
Source Date: 1885
Title: Enclosure map of Whittlesford
Source Date: 1809
CRO: R60/24/2/76
Title: Estate Map of Whittlesford
Source Date: 1819
CRO: R58/5/9 P165

Source: Historic England

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