Ancient Monuments

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Moated site 90m south of Barsey Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Shudy Camps, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.0826 / 52°4'57"N

Longitude: 0.3918 / 0°23'30"E

OS Eastings: 563982.739967

OS Northings: 245394.998575

OS Grid: TL639453

Mapcode National: GBR NCV.HVC

Mapcode Global: VHJH8.QXZB

Entry Name: Moated site 90m south of Barsey Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019878

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33268

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Shudy Camps

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Shudy Camps St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a medieval moated site with associated fishpond 90m
south of Barsey Farm.

The moated site includes a sub-oval shaped island measuring approximately 72m
north east-south west and up to 66m north west-south east. In the north east
part a sub-rectangular shaped building platform, approximately 12m by 7m,
indicated by a cropmark (areas of enhanced plant growth over buried
archaeological features) which is visible on the ground, may mark the site of
an earlier building. The island is contained by the remains of a moat, still
water-filled on three sides, where it measures up to 8m wide and 1m in depth.
The north western part of the moat now widens into a small sub-circular pond,
measuring approximately 20m in diameter, which has a small ornamental island
in the centre. This pond is thought to be a 20th century garden feature. The
northern part of the moat was infilled during the 19th century and is now
partly overlain by the present house, although it will survive as a buried
feature. To the south of the southern corner of the moat a small irregular
shaped pond is separated from the moat by a narrow causeway. This may
represent a small fishpond used for raising fish prior to their release in the
adjacent moat.

About 8m to the west of the moated site, and parallel with its north western
arm, is a linear pond 48m long and 12m wide, thought to represent the remains
of a further fishpond contemporary with the moated site. The fishpond is
separated from the moat by a raised trackway which may be Roman in origin. A
104m long section of the trackway adjacent to the west of the moated site is
included in the scheduling.

Barsey Farm is thought to be named after William of Berardsay who owned land
in Shudy Camps in 1279. In the 14th century the estate was in the ownership of
the Gatesbury family and, when Richard Braughing sold the manor in 1534, it
was known as Berarsheys.

The southern corner of the present house, together with its cellars, patio,
and all fences and walls, are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them 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.

Fishponds are artificially created pools of slow moving fresh water
constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish in order
to provide a constant and sustainable food supply. The tradition of
constructing and using fishponds began in the 12th century. They were largely
the province of the wealthier sectors of medieval society, and are considered
important as a source of information concerning the economy of various classes
of medieval settlements and institutions.

The moated site and associated ponds at Barsey Farm survive well. The island
remains largely undisturbed and will retain buried evidence for structures and
other features relating to the earlier periods of occupation. Despite partial
infilling, the buried silts in the base of the ditches and ponds will contain
both artefacts relating to the period of occupation and environmental evidence
for the appearance of the landscape in which the moated site is set.

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

The association of the medieval remains with that of a trackway, thought to
date from the Roman period, provides evidence for the evolution of the
landscape over a period of nearly two thousand years.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire39
The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire53
Burnett, Mrs, (1999)
Title: 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map
Source Date: 1886
Title: 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map
Source Date: 1886
Title: A Map of an estate in Shedicamps in Cambridgeshire
Source Date: 1721
CRO: L86/83
Title: Tithe Map of Shudy Camps
Source Date: 1841
photostat in CRO

Source: Historic England

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