A woman found dead in a moat was a decorated historian who owned the remnants of the castle where she died, it has been announced.

Margaret Buxton, of Castle Street in Ongar, was found in the moat of Ongar Castle on Saturday.

Emergency services tried to revive her but she died on the bank in Castle Street.

The historian, in her 80s, lived in nearby Castle House and owned the remnants of Ongar Castle.

A police spokesman confirmed were no suspicious circumstances and have referred the case to the Essex County Coroner in Chelmsford.

Mrs Buxton, who studied the history of the church and religion for more than 50 years, was awarded a CBE for services to historical scholarship in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last year.

She first discovered a passion for ecclesiastical history when she was an undergraduate at Oxford University during the 1950s.

Her work, which she published under the name Dr Margaret Aston, has included books on the destruction of religious imagery and art and the revolution of the 1500s.

The 80-year-old moved to Castle House, parts of which date from the 16th century, about 30 years ago to be with her late husband Paul Buxton, a diplomat and well-known landowner who she met while they were both working in Washington.

She was also patron of the Ongar Millennium History Society.

Any tributes to Margaret can be emailed to barnaby.davis@london.newsquest.co.uk.