Ancient Monuments

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A moated site 100m east of St Mary Magdalene's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Thirsk, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2347 / 54°14'4"N

Longitude: -1.3434 / 1°20'36"W

OS Eastings: 442898.234363

OS Northings: 482311.210304

OS Grid: SE428823

Mapcode National: GBR MM1G.ZQ

Mapcode Global: WHD8H.BTKG

Entry Name: A moated site 100m east of St Mary Magdalene's Church

Scheduled Date: 22 December 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008179

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20532

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Thirsk

Built-Up Area: Thirsk

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes a moated site and an adjacent building platform, located
on a bend of the Cod Beck between Old and New Thirsk. The area to the south
has been recently developed as a car park but old maps show that the moat
originally lay at the north end of a small island, having the river to its
north and east and marshy land to the south and west. There is evidence that
a medieval watermill was located in the vicinity of the moated site.
The moated island is 20m square, surrounded by a ditch 1.5m deep by 12m wide
with an outer bank up to 10m wide by 1m high on its north-western, north-
eastern and south-eastern arms. A causeway crosses the mid point of the
north-eastern arm. Adjacent to the south-western arm of the moat is a 1.5m
high platform, 30m by 25m across at its base, now occupied by two small modern
brick sheds; this is an unusual feature which was constructed using material
excavated from the moat, to provide a flood-free platform for a medieval
building associated with, but outlying the moated site. A small scale
excavation on the site, undertaken at Whitsuntide in 1966, recovered some
flints and sherds of pottery.
The modern sheds and all fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these items is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The moated site 100m east of St Mary Magdalene's Church is a well-preserved
example of a small homestead moat having the unusual addition of an external
building platform. Due to its low-lying situation, the monument will retain
waterlogged deposits containing well-preserved organic materials, not only in
the accumulated silts of the ditches, but also in below-ground features on the
moated island. The foundations of medieval buildings will also survive on the
moated island and on the adjacent platform. The moated site lies close to the
centre of modern Thirsk and is one of the few remaining visible features
relating to the medieval settlement of the town.

Source: Historic England


Lewis, R, Ordnance Survey Record, (1962)
Record No. 00150.01,
Title: 6" Map Series (Ordnance Survey)
Source Date:

Source: Historic England

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