Ancient Monuments

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Part of Leppington medieval village, a moated site and site of the former parish church of St Helen

A Scheduled Monument in Scrayingham, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.041 / 54°2'27"N

Longitude: -0.8339 / 0°50'2"W

OS Eastings: 476460.157754

OS Northings: 461189.224789

OS Grid: SE764611

Mapcode National: GBR QPMQ.85

Mapcode Global: WHFBV.5P5G

Entry Name: Part of Leppington medieval village, a moated site and site of the former parish church of St Helen

Scheduled Date: 27 January 1967

Last Amended: 17 January 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011515

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20542

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Scrayingham

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Scrayingham St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: York


Although much of the medieval settlement of Leppington lies beneath the houses
and gardens of the modern village, the monument includes the earthworks of the
moated manor house, the site of the former parish church, and trackways and
tofts, which are visible in the fields to the east of Manor Farm. Further
evidence of the medieval field system and trackways has been observed in
fields to the north and east of the monument and also to the west of the
present village; however, these remains are not well preserved and have not
been included in the scheduling.
The moated site, formerly known as `Leppington Castle', is roughly oval in
plan. The moated island measures 55m by 35m across and will contain the buried
foundations of the medieval manor house which once stood there. The island is
surrounded by a ditch which is 10m wide and, although partially infilled on
the western and southern arms, it is up to 1.5m deep on the eastern arm. The
entrance to the island is on the north side where the ditch is less deep and
the inner scarp slopes up gradually towards the interior. The southern arm of
the ditch is almost completely infilled but is visible as a boggy area and
survives as a buried feature. On this side the surface of the island is built
up to about 2m above the surrounding land surface. A silage clamp has recently
been constructed on the west side of the moated site and overlies the infilled
ditch which will survive below ground.
St Helen's Church was originally that of the medieval parish of Leppington.
A decline in population during and after the medieval period meant that
Leppington was no longer viable as a parish in its own right and was
eventually absorbed into Scrayingham parish. However, St Helen's continued in
use as a chapel-of-ease until the beginning of the 20th century, being
rebuilt in 1803 and restored in 1870, at the joint expense of Lady Mary G
Vyner, lady of the manor, and the rector of Scrayingham. The chapel-of-ease
fell into ruin and was finally demolished in about 1980. The site of the
church is now visible as a raised rectangular platform, 16m long by 14m wide,
which lies 20m to the north-east of the moated site. Although nothing of the
structure is visible above ground level, the foundations of the medieval
church will survive despite the 19th-century rebuilding. The cemetery was
located adjacent to the church, in a triangle of land bounded to the south and
north by medieval trackways (described below), and to the east by the existing
field boundary which is probably medieval in origin. Including the church,
this triangle measures 60m by 20m across.
A medieval trackway runs east from the main road, past the northern edge of
the moated site and into the field south of the church. The trackway still
exists as a pedestrian right of way, which continues south-eastwards for about
0.75km to join the Acklam road, and is visible within the area of the monument
as a hollow way about 10m wide. A second medieval trackway diverges from the
first and runs due east, north of the church. This is visible as a hollow way
up to 20m wide and may have been a droveway leading ultimately to springs in
Leppington Wood. On the north side of the droveway are three medieval
enclosures, divided by shallow 5m wide ditches. These are small fields or
tofts associated with smallholdings to the rear of the village. The southern
ends of these tofts, south of the modern field boundary and adjacent to the
medieval trackways, will contain the below-ground remains of medieval
buildings. The southern edge of the monument, south of the moated site,
includes part of the 0.3m-high bank, a medieval field boundary which continues
into the adjacent field where it originally formed a boundary or `land'
between rows of medieval arable field strips. The line of this boundary is
also retained by a modern boundary to the south of Manor Farm.
At Domesday, the manor of Leppington was held by the Count of Moretain, later
passing to the Melsa, or Meaux, family and subsequently to the Coreys. In 1626
a Corey was created Baron Corey of Leppington, although the title became
extinct in 1661. The original moated manor house was presumably abandoned in
the post-medieval period when a new house was built on the site of Manor
Farm. The amalgamation of the parishes of Scrayingham and Leppington prior to
1803 has already been mentioned and by 1941 Scrayingham with Leppington was
also under the ministry of the rector of Long Sutton.
The silage clamp and all fences are excluded from the scheduling but the
ground beneath all these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets,
paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community
primarily devoted to farming, was a significant component of the rural
landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages
provided some services to the local community as well as acting as the focus
of ecclesiastical, and often manorial, authority within each medieval parish.
Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously
down to the present day, many have declined considerably in size and are now
occupied by farmsteads or hamlets. This decline may have taken place gradually
throughout the lifetime of the village or more rapidly, particularly during
the 14th and 15th centuries when many other villages were wholly deserted. The
reasons for diminishing size were varied but often reflected declining
economic viability or population fluctuations as a result of widespread
epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their decline, large
parts of these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and
contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Over 3000 shrunken medieval
villages are recorded nationally. Because they are a common and long-lived
monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on
the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the
regions and through time.

The monument includes the moated site which was the residence of the medieval
lords of the manor of Leppington. Around 6000 moated sites are known in
England. They generally served as prestigious aristocratic or 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 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration
lies in central and south-eastern parts of England, although they were built
throughout the medieval period and are widely scattered throughout the

Also included are the remains of the medieval parish church, the building used
for Christian worship by the secular community of the parish. As the venue
for regular religious gatherings, rites-of-passage and the burial of the dead,
parish churches served as a regular meeting places and, especially in
relatively dispersed rural communities, formed an important focal point for
the local population. Parish churches are important, not only for the study of
Christianity in England, but also for the study of the origin and development
of medieval settlement patterns.

The monument east of Manor Farm therefore includes two of the major elements
of the medieval village. The moated site is well preserved, the island
retaining undisturbed below-ground evidence of medieval buildings and the moat
ditch containing silts from which environmental evidence may be obtained.
Although the church was rebuilt in the 19th century and has since been
demolished, the foundations of the medieval building will survive and
undisturbed medieval burials will remain in the churchyard. Adjacent
earthworks include those of trackways and tofts associated with the village.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: East Riding, (1976)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of York, (1912), 325
Preston, , Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 263
Preston, , Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 236
Preston, , Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 263
1:10000 Series, (1972)
Chapman, Isobel, inquiries at Diossesan Office, (1993)
CUC BAA 31, (1969)
Title: 25" Series
Source Date: 1910

Source: Historic England

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