Gargrave's Moat

On the outskirts of Gargrave village is the site of a 'moated settlement'. Some medieval manor lord or knight went to the trouble of designing a watery bed to surround his house that raiders and rivals might not easily capture his home. There is precious little information about it online, with Historic England barely bothering to offer any details at all. A book from the 1930s suggests it was successfully attacked by the Scots after Bannockburn, but offers little evidence. Of one thing we may be certain, and that is the house or castle is now gone. Yet, intriguingly, the moat remains. In dry weather, it is just a series of bumps and minor earthworks, but I called in January after heavy rains. Sure enough the moat refilled from the nearby stream and a small area of higher ground was again surrounded by water. So the defences are still there, but the prize being defended is long gone.

The Bible likens we Christians to being soldiers in a war. Not a physical war; we offer violence to none. Yet amid a spiritual conflict we find ourselves. The world, the flesh and the devil war against our souls and ministries: what is there to defend us?

We rely on the promises of God’s word

We fellowship with other Christians

The Holy Spirit’s indwelling and strengthening work keeps us on-track.

Yet I see some timorous and diffident folk whose faith is unusually weak. Like Messrs Feeble-mind, Fearing and Ready-to-Halt from part two of Pilgrim’s Progress, I wonder why so many of them are still no stronger. The same means of grace are as available to them as to all others. For want of fellowship and reliance on God’s word, their houses are crumbled, though their moats be strong.