The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Barford St John

In the civil parish of Barford St John And St Michael.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP43963302
Latitude 51.99395° Longitude -1.36105°

Barford St John has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.


Moated enclosures with stronger defensive works. Barford St. John.
A moat about 7 ft. deep and 56 ft. wide runs on the north and west of an area which is roughly the shape of an irregular pentagon, and which is divided into two courts by a raised platform about 2 ft. high in the northwest corner. This probably marked the site of the buildings, the remainder of the area being an open court, round the north and east edges of which is a slight bank. The moat on the south of the area is now of very slight proportions, but the ground is very low, and the standing water to the east is no doubt the remains of the defences which ran along this side, and were continued between the banks which remain to the west. These banks are 5 ft. high from the bottom of the ditch they form, which is 38 ft. across. On the north of these the ground rises, and on the slope is a small horse-shoe shaped work, evidently the site of an out-building. The site encloses no buildings at the present time. (VCH 1907)

The moated enclosure is of semi-circular form, the interior being of two levels as described in the VCH. There is no sign of a building site, but local information says that walling was encountered during digging for land drainage. There is a causewayed entrance to the north.
The broad straight moat which borders the southern side extends well beyond the enclosure flanking low ground to the east and higher ground to the west. Here there are several scooped platforms which indicate medieval desertion or shrinkage. (F1 MJF 12-MAY-70)
Besides the known moated site and large rectangular fishpond S.& SE. of the village, house foundations, holloways and crofts S. and NW. of the village were found probably indicating a former larger medieval settlement. (Aston) (PastScape)

Manor house lay SE of church and near the river. There are traces of the moat and earth-banks of an earlier fortified dwelling (VCH 1969)
WB revealed that settlement appears to have started during at least C13, with fishponds (PRN 4118) as later additions. Negative earthworks are well preserved with the original moat protected by C18th-19th partial infilling. Indications that lower foundations of buildings may survive on the moat platform. (John Moore Heritage Services. 2005) (Oxfordshire HER)

Despite being listed as a moated enclosure with stronger defensive works, it seems likely the moats for this house were as much to do with practical flood control and status as to do with defence although this probably true for most 'fortified' manor houses.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:07

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact