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Medieval moated sites

F A Aberg (editor)

CBA Research Report No 17 (1978)


Title page of report 17

The introduction by F A Aberg provides a raw distribution map of moated sites in England and Wales and his commentary points out the need for a good statistical basis for determining adequate policies for preservation and research. C C Taylor (pp 5-13) discusses the definition, form and classification of moated sites, including consideration of internal features and the provision of water for the moat. Recording and survey is dealt with by C J Bond (14-20) who states the basic aims and describes the preliminary work, the fieldwork and records, and post-survey analysis. Documentary evidence is shown by H E Jean Le Patourel (21-8) to be a vital tool, but one needing very careful and informed interpretation because of wide local variations as well as temporal changes and social and tenurial differences. She also (36-45) considers what conclusions can be drawn from the excavation of moated sites, of which 120 have been dug to some degree; she compares the methods in use and results achieved, with special attention to 'empty' sites, round moats, and those with high internal banks. Future excavations should aim to explore the whole house and all its attendant buildings, or at least to concentrate on lesser-known aspects. Standing structures, or those recorded while standing, are the subject of S E Rigold (29-36) who distinguishes four classes of siting (eg structures integral with the moat-system) and considers numerous examples of each. Mrs Le Patourel and B K Roberts (46-55) consider the significance of moated sites - their purpose and function, their social significance, their niche in medieval settlement - and discuss the chronology of their rise and decline, with a brief look at European moats and a suggestion of the broad themes needing research. The 322 sites now known in SE Ireland are T B Barry's subject (56-9); their limited evidence suggests a floruit in 13th-14th centuries as the defended farmsteads of Anglo-Norman settlers. Three county surveys follow on pp 60-77: D B Baker (Bedfordshire), J Hedges (Essex) and C J Bond (Worcestershire). Appendices present the moats record card and a regional bibliography.


  • Title pages
  • Introduction by F A Aberg (p 1)
  • Moated sites: their definition, form, and classification by C C Taylor (p 5)
  • The recording and survey of moats by C J Bond (p 14)
  • Documentary evidence by H E Jean Le Patourel (p 21)
  • Structures within English moated sites by S E Rigold (p 29)
  • The excavation of moated sites by H E Jean Le Patourel (p 36)
  • The significance of moated sites by H E Jean Le Patourel and B K Roberts (p 46)
  • Moated sites in Ireland by T B Barry (p 57)
  • Bedfordshire medieval moated sites by D B Baker (p 60)
  • Essex moats by J Hedges (p 63)
  • Moated sites in Worcestershire by C J Bond (p 71)
  • Appendixes
    1. Chingford leases of the 13th and 15th centuries by H E Jean Le Patourel (p 78)
    2. Moats Record Card and survey notes by F A Aberg (p 79)
    3. Bibliography by F A Aberg (p 82)

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