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In the civil parish of Witney.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP36060953
Latitude 51.78328° Longitude -1.47865°

Cogges has been described as a Masonry Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The moated site at Cogges survives well and forms part of an unusually well preserved sequence of remains which contains valuable evidence for the development of a manorial settlement through the Saxon, medieval and post-medieval periods. Archaeological deposits survive well below ground despite later activity, and as a result of historical research the remains are quite well understood.
In conjunction with the surviving medieval and post-medieval buildings which stand on the site and are now in use as a museum, part of the monument serves as an educational and recreational amenity.
The monument includes a series of earthworks and buried remains centred on the present Manor Farm Museum. These features include the remains of a moated manor, priory, settlement, water mill, and fishponds. The monument also includes a World War II pill box. Manor Farm Museum, which is Listed Grade II-star, is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.
The site lies on a gentle slope on the east bank of the River Windrush between the river valley and the higher ground to the east. It occupies a small spur of Jurassic oolite which provides a well drained location close to water supplies and good agricultural alluvium. This site is one of the narrowest points in the Windrush valley and until the later building of a bridge to the north, was the best east-west crossing point of the river. The medieval settlement in this location, which originated in the Saxon period, was largely superseded in the 13th century by the settlement at Witney on the opposite side of the river, where the Bishop of Winchester's manor house was located. In the western part of the monument are the earthwork remains of a medieval moat, c.6m wide and up to 3m deep. The moat encloses two islands, the northernmost of which was occupied by a stone-built manor house constructed in the 12th century. The southern island is believed to have been added to increase the available space while separating domestic and ancillary buildings. On the northern island are the remains of a slight internal rampart bank. The manor house is known to have been a substantial building and its foundations have been located beneath the present ground surface. It was superseded in the 13th century by a new manor house, built to the east, now Manor Farm Museum.
To the north of the moated enclosures are the buried remains of a small alien priory founded in 1103. Located on the site of the present rector's house and churchyard, it would have included a substantial stone house to accommodate the small group of monks and lay brothers who lived there. It was associated with St Mary's Church, Listed Grade I, which continues in ecclesiastical use and is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included. The grant for the foundation of the alien priory included a large gift of land spread throughout southern England and much of this was passed to other Benedictine estates or rented out for a fee. The priory site was later rebuilt as a vicarage and the site eventually passed to Eton College in 1441 when it was seized from the prior by Henry V.
Adjacent to the east of both the priory site and the moated site are the remains of the medieval settlement of Cogges. Buried deposits include features of Saxon date, while slight earthworks south and east of the moated site indicate the location of building platforms and associated features. In the 13th century this settlement was abandoned in favour of a new site further east and its remains were partly overlain by the new manor house and associated buildings.
In the north eastern part of the monument are the earthwork and buried remains of a rectangular fishpond. It is enclosed by a substantial bank and was formed by using the line of the Madley Brook which was diverted to the north to form a bypass leat. The pond probably acted both as a fishpond, symbolising the high status of the adjacent manor, and as a mill pond providing a head of water for the mill to the west.
The site of the mill is located in the north western part of the monument in a bend of the Windrush, and is first mentioned in the Domesday Book along with the manor. It is no longer visible above ground but remains survive buried below the present ground level of the meadow. Nearby is a World War II pill box, one of a pair which can still be found close to the crossing of the river. They are part of a larger series of local defences which were manned by Home Guard soldiers to control movement in the event of invasion. It consists of a cylindrical cast concrete tube laid on one open end and open to the sky. Its face is broken by a number of small observation/firing ports and would have been manned by one or more sentries. The medieval remains at Cogges are well documented. The builders of the first manor house were the Arsic family who had strong ties with Normandy and are known to have visited the Abbey of Fecamp in November 1103. It was this family which granted the priory to the Benedictine abbey and who later moved the village in an attempt to offset the Bishop of Winchester's control over trade in the area. The new manor was built during the 13th century by the De Grays. They appear to have preferred a better drained site made available by the recent relocation of the settlement. The later change of status towards a wealthy farm came in the 1680s under the direction of the Pope family and the site remained in agricultural use until its conversion to a museum this century. The nine Listed Grade II chest tombs are included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

On the banks of the River Windrush, in this parish, is a double enclosure forming two courts, one to the south of the other. The southern one is entirely surrounded by an irregular four-sided moat, and the northern, which is of about equal area, has the river for its western side and a ditch on the eastern. On the northern side is a deep ditch with a rampart on the inside springing from the bank of the river and curving outwards. The entrance was apparently at the northeast corner of this court. The rampart is 2 ft. 6 ins. above the surface of the court and 8 ft. above the bottom of the ditch at the western end near the river, and gradually increases in height until at the eastern end it is 6 ft. above the court and 12 ft. above the ditch. The bottom of the ditch is 5 ft. below the level of the outside ground. The moat throughout is of an average width of 17 ft. (VCH 1907)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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