Monument record 0031701002 - MOAT AT BOARSTALL TOWER


Medieval moat enclosing gatehouse and former mansion at Boarstall Tower, with medieval pottery found during a watching brief.

Protected Status/Designation

  • Planning Notification Area: Buildings and earthworks of Medieval village and manor complex at Boarstall Tower
  • SHINE: Boarstall post medieval duck decoy earthworks and Boarstall Tower & medieval to post medieval deserted village earthworks & medieval moated manor earthworks with associated ridge and furrow cultivation earthworks


Type and Period (1)

  • MOAT (14th Century - 1300 AD? to 1399 AD?)


Dimensions - Length 140m, Width 98m.
Plan Form - Rectangular.
Moat around Boarstall made when licence to crenellate granted in 1312? Moat & drawbridge shown on Boarstall Cartulary map of 1444. Moat enclosing gatehouse & site of former buildings is c.60ft wide with strong inner rampart. E arm obliterated (B6).
C17 wall replaced arm (SEE 02:001). National Trust survey (B18).
The tower and moat were constructed shortly after 1312 by John De Handlo. Inside the moat once stood the dwelling house and the noted 17th century formal garden which featured box hedges, gravel paths and parterre. After 1777 the garden was abandoned and gradually reverted to grazing land. A new garden was created in 1925 by Antonio Pinzani, but today the interior is grassed with various earthworks clearly visible. A watching brief carried out in August 1999 during the installation of a new sub-station and electrical cabling to the east of the gatehouse and moat, discovered buried foundations, cut features, a mortar spread and substantial amounts of medieval pottery. The red brick foundations may relate to a building within the 17th century garden or a greenhouse noted by a National Trust employee as having been since demolished. The nature and extent of the mortar spread at the western end of the trench remains unknown. The cut feature contained relatively large amounts of medieval pottery and animal bone in good condition, the material may have been disturbed and reburied during scouring works to the moat. The deposits seen under the gravelled drive were highly compacted and devoid of finds (B20).
In August 2008 two resistivity profiles across the presumed infilled eastern arm of the moat carried out by Oxford University's PADMAC Unit identified a possible road or track surface shown on the 1695 map, along with a 2-3m wide and 3m deep feature interpreted as either the base of a garden wall or as the remains of a stone revetment lining the moat. See report for detail (B32).

Sources (4)

  • <6>SBC12853 Bibliographic reference: RCHM BUCKS 1 PP57-59.
  • <18>SBC8269 Unpublished document: W L Mathews. 1989. THE NATIONAL TRUST ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY: BOARSTALL TOWER.
  • <20>SBC19074 Unpublished document: Oxford Archaeological Unit. 1999. Boarstall Tower, Boarstall, Buckinghamshire Archaeological Watching Brief Report.
  • <32>SBC23879 Bibliographic reference: Gary Marshall. 2010. Excavations at Boarstall Tower, Buckinghamshire, July 2008.


Grid reference Centred SP 6241 1419 (155m by 172m)
Civil Parish BOARSTALL, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • Event - Intervention: Trial Trenching, topographic earthwork survey and geophysical surveys (EBC17390)
  • Event - Intervention: Watching brief carried out during the installation of sub-station and cabling at Boarstall Tower (EBC16197)

Record last edited

Jul 22 2022 7:23AM

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