Barrs Court

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameBarrs Court
Alternative NamesBarrescourte
Historic CountryGloucestershire
Modern AuthoritySouth Gloucestershire
1974 AuthorityAvon
Civil ParishOldland

The moat 725m north east of Mount Pleasant Farm survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social, economic and political significance, longevity, domestic arrangements, adaptive re-use and landscape context.

The monument includes a moated site situated on the summit of a small hill in the heart of the Stone Hill area on the eastern outskirts of the city of Bristol. It is known locally as 'Barr's Court'. The moated site survives as an internal rectangular platform surrounded by a visible and water-filled ditch with an outer bank on all except the north eastern corner where these are preserved as a buried features and deposits beneath later buildings. The moated site covers an area of approximately 1.86ha and the interior platform measures up to 119m long by 105m wide. Within the interior are numerous undulations indicating the presence of buildings, and parch marks have been observed on aerial photographs, particularly in the northern half of the island. There is a slight perimeter bank visible to the south east. The ditch is up to 15m wide and 1.2m deep. The surrounding outer bank is up to approximately 9m wide and 0.4m high. There is a causeway across the moat to the south west and other later footbridges for access.

The surname 'de la Barre' is known from documents in 1248, and may refer to the original founding of a manor or estate in the area at this time. A manor house was first specifically recorded here in 1485 and belonged to the Newton family. In 1540 it was described by Leland as stone-built with a lodge, chapel, and drawbridge and belonged to Sir John Newton. It was dismantled by Sir Michael Newton in 1740. Much of the stone was later re-used to construct a farmhouse (now ruined) and cruciform barn on the north eastern section of the site in the 18th to 19th centuries

The farm house area now contains a children's play area although play equipment is excluded from the scheduling. The barn is occupied and is Listed Grade II (406546), although it is excluded from the scheduling.

Surveys and partial excavations in 1979 located two fish ponds to the south east of the moat, paving and an armorial wine bottle seal and stoneware pottery dated to 1687. Documentary evidence has also indicated the presence of a deer park, warren and coal mines associated with the manor and the moat, whilst within the moat a dove cote was recorded in the 15th century. (Scheduling Report)

When Leland made his itinerary, Barr's Court was "a fayre old manner place of stone", the residence of Sir John Newton (Leland). Described as having a porter's lodge, drawbridge, and a lofty entrance hall with a music gallery and chapel. Newton Arms over the door of the present farmhouse (Ellacombe 1881) The house was demolished in 1740 by Sir Michael Newton (Braine 1891). Water drained out of Barr's Court Moat on south-east side and immediately passes through two fishponds (dry in 1978) each with a small dam across the narrow valley. The whole area is being developed for housing, only the interior of the moat will be preserved (Iles 1979). Well preserved moated site, with rectangular moat 12-15 yds wide. 4' deep, surrounded by external bank 15yds wide, 18" high. The moat has been filled in on north-east corner, but elsewhere survives well, and is water filled on north, west and south-east sides. Two causeways on south-west side cross the moat. Slight irregularities on the surface of the interior might indicate the position of buildings. The field in which the moat stands is used for pasture. One of the few moats remaining intact in Avon. The site once had a stone manor house described by Leland in 1540, with probably a drawbridge, lodge and chapel (Russell 1980). Now public open space in care of District Council. The interior is mown grass and very tidy, and the moat is much as described before. Outside the moat is at present an area of rather desolate waste land, probably scheduled for building, the area to the E has already been developed with housing. Just outside the scheduled area an old barn has been converted into a pub (north-east corner). Also at the north-east corner are some ruined buildings which have been converted into a children's playground. The two related notices relating to the SAM are also displayed here (White J. 1976. Monument Description). (South Gloucestershire HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceST658720
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

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.

Calculate Print


  • Ellacombe, H.T., 1881, History of the Parish of Bitton (Exeter) p. 93- online copy
  • Braine, A., 1891, History of Kingswood Forest p. 123-6


  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1910, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 5 p. 84 online copy


  • Ellis, P., 1984, 'Earthwork Surveys of three sites in Avon' Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Vol. 102 p. 206-210
  • Russell, J., 1982, 'The archaeology of the Kingswood area - a survey to AD 1700' Avon Past Vol. 7 p. 23
  • Russell, J., 1980, 'Barr's Court Oldland' Avon Past Vol. 2 p. 5-19
  • Iles, R., 1979, 'Archaeology in Avon 1978' Avon Past Vol. 1 p. 29-35
  • Russell, J., 1979, Bristol Archaeological Research Group Bulletin Vol. 6.8 p. 203
  • Russell, J., 1978, Bristol Archaeological Research Group Bulletin Vol. 6.6 p. 151
  • 1831, Proceedings of the Archaeological Institute at Bristol p. 244