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Caxton Moats, also known as 'The Moats', is situated in the base of a valley some 700 metres west of the A1198 at Caxton Village. The site includes a group of three contigous moated enclosures arranged in an inverted L-shaped plan, with associated water management features, fishponds and warren earthworks. The moated site may have originated in the 12th century as the seat of the de Scalers family with the northern island being the earliest part of the complex. The arrangement of platforms and the scale of the moat have been compared with the rectangular motte at Burwell Castle, which is known to have been built in the mid-12th century. It has been suggested that the two sites were contemporary, both built on the orders of King Stephen around 1143. The earliest clear documentary reference to the site, however, dates from 1312, when it was occupied by a dower house. The expansion of the complex, with additional islands, fishponds and warren may be a reflection of this later period, and it remains possible that the elaborate appearance of the northern island resulted not from a need for defence, but to create a more prestigious dwelling reflecting the status of the later inhabitants.
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