Ancient Monuments

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Rougemont Castle ringwork and bailey and associated fishponds and outwork

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkby Overblow, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9121 / 53°54'43"N

Longitude: -1.5515 / 1°33'5"W

OS Eastings: 429561.160576

OS Northings: 446306.545925

OS Grid: SE295463

Mapcode National: GBR KRL6.XC

Mapcode Global: WHC8T.4XGT

Entry Name: Rougemont Castle ringwork and bailey and associated fishponds and outwork

Scheduled Date: 19 November 1965

Last Amended: 3 July 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010026

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13296

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Kirkby Overblow

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Weeton with North Rigton and Stainburn

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


Rougemont Castle lies above the steep north bank of the River Wharfe where the
river turns in a right-angle at its confluence with Weeton Beck. The monument
includes the remains of a ringwork and its surrounding system of ditches, a
large outer enclosure or bailey, an outwork and the remains of a group of
fishponds located west of the main earthwork complex.
The ringwork comprises a roughly D-shaped enclosure measuring c.90m east to
west by 40m north to south. This is surrounded by a broad ditch which drains
into the river on the south side via three main outlets. The raised interior
of the ringwork has been disturbed by later tree-planting but substantial
earthworks survive to illustrate the development of the enclosure and indicate
that it was a multi-phase site, possibly with Prehistoric origins though this
has not yet been substantiated. A bank c.1m high and 3m wide follows the
inside of the ditch and masonry visible in places indicates the remains of the
stone wall that crowned the ringwork during the Middle Ages. At this time the
site was the centre of the manor of Harewood and, as such, the ringwork would
have contained important domestic buildings including the residence of the
lord. The ringwork lies towards the south-east corner of a much larger
D-shaped enclosure formed on three sides by a bank and infilled external ditch
measuring c.1m high by 3m wide and c.3m wide respectively. The south side of
the enclosure is formed by Weeton Beck and the Wharfe. This enclosure formed
the bailey of the castle and would have contained ancillary and garrison
buildings and pens for corralling stock and horses. The locations of some of
these features are shown by platforms and earthworks in the western half of
the bailey alongside a track that enters from the west through a gap in the
bank and ditch where the original entrance stood. The remains of another
bank, less than 1m high by 2m wide, exist outside the bailey running westward
from the entrance for c.100m and forming the north side of an outwork to the
main complex. This is bounded to the west and south by Weeton Beck and to the
east by the bailey bank. North of this outwork, alongside Weeton Beck, a
sunken, marshy area represents one or more fishponds that formerly served the
The remains of ridge and furrow cultivation overlie the outwork and the
eastern half of the bailey and postdate the abandonment of the manorial site.
This occurred in c.1366 when Harewood Castle was built to house the former
owners of Rougemont, the de Lisles, who had married into the Aldburgh and
Harewood families.
All modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling although the ground
underneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late
Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended
area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a
substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a
stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the
bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military
operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements.
They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60
with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted
range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular
significance to our understanding of the period.

Rougemont Castle is a good example of a well-preserved ringwork. It is one of
the rarer type of ringworks which had an attached bailey and is equally
notable for being the early centre of an important manor. Although partially
disturbed by forestry, the remains of a substantial number of ancillary
features, including building platforms, can be seen to survive.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Michelmore, DJH, West Yorkshire: an Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981)
Moorhouse, S.A., Report of Watching Brief of RTZ site at Rougemont, 1984, Typescript in SMR
Note on PRN file, Yarwood, R, PRN 6 Rougemont Castle,
Typescript in SMR, Crowther, C, Rougemont, (1980)
Typescript in SMR, Taylor, F.J., Report on the sheep burial found at Rougemont..., (1984)

Source: Historic England

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