Thorn Spring

I was fascinated to read this! Link to original article, see section 1.5 discussing potential public artworks to be associated with the development of HRN2. The outline application is written about on here

"Cotswold Archaeology have been working on the site and have explained how the monument could have been constructed and used. A detailed heritage assessment has been undertaken ...

Thorn Spring moated site, a Scheduled Monument, is located within an area of the site not proposed for development. It is located within a small woodland and has trees planted within its interior. The site is a very good example of a small, single island type moated site and contains three straight arms and a fourth curving arm enclosing an island. The site measures c.29m north-east to south-west by c.40m north-west to south-east. The moat is easily located as it is c.1m in depth and currently contains water. The island has remained largely undisturbed and is believed to retain buried evidence of structures and other features. Buried ditches to the north and east provide evidence for a water management system. The moat is believed to derive from springs below it, suggested by the place name ‘Thorn Springs’, as well as two infilled leats which entered the moat at its highest point and would have supplied additional water.
Included within the scheduling is a woodbank, designed to define the boundaries of woodland, a valuable resource in the medieval period. Presumed to be part of a larger circuit, it contains a ditch and bank and includes the original entrance. This component of the Scheduled Monument is separated from the main moat site and is located parallel with Thorn Road and follows the length of the woodland. The woodbank shows the longevity of the woodland area surrounding the moated site and provides evidence of its management.

The moated site is believed to have been constructed by the de Gurney family in the 12th/13th century. They were given the royal manor of Houghton (Houghton Regis) by Henry I in the early 12th century. However, Henry I also gave lands to Dunstable Priory which resulted in a series of disputes between the de Gurney family and the Priory. Eventually, Houghton manor was demolished and the de Gurney family constructed Thorn Spring Manor. Dunstable Priory founded a separate holding at Calcutt’s Farm, c.880m east."

  • Thorn Spring listed on Historical England, "The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) is the only official, up to date, register of all nationally protected historic buildings and sites in England - listed buildings, scheduled monuments, protected wrecks, registered parks and gardens, and battlefields."