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Cawood Castle and Castle Garth: residence of the medieval Archbishops of York and associated enclosure containing gardens, five fishponds and a quarry pit

A Scheduled Monument in Cawood, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.8313 / 53°49'52"N

Longitude: -1.1297 / 1°7'47"W

OS Eastings: 457374.330814

OS Northings: 437573.484616

OS Grid: SE573375

Mapcode National: GBR NSK4.6B

Mapcode Global: WHDBJ.MY7R

Entry Name: Cawood Castle and Castle Garth: residence of the medieval Archbishops of York and associated enclosure containing gardens, five fishponds and a quarry pit

Scheduled Date: 5 December 1928

Last Amended: 26 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011518

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20539

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Cawood

Built-Up Area: Cawood

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Cawood All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York

Details

The monument includes Cawood Castle, a residence of the medieval Archbishops
of York, and Castle Garth, an enclosure containing the palace gardens,
fishponds and a quarry pit. The castle is situated on the banks of the tidal
River Ouse, 1km downstream from the confluence of the River Wharfe, and at a
major ferry crossing on the road from Sherburn in Elmet to York, close to its
junction with the road from Selby to Tadcaster. The medieval Bishop Dike, now
a main land drain but originally a navigable canal linking the town of
Sherburn in Elmet to the river, runs adjacent to the castle and there was an
important staith (wharf) at Cawood until the 19th century. Although Cawood
Castle could and did serve as a military stronghold in time of strife, it was
essentially a well-appointed and comfortable palace, the name implying the
status of the building rather than its habitual function.

The surviving upstanding buildings of the archiepiscopal palace comprise a
three-storeyed stone gatehouse which is Grade I Listed and an adjacent two
storeyed hall constructed of brick and stone also Grade I Listed, which were
built by Archbishop Kempe (1426-52); both structures were recently restored
and are now roofed. The buildings represent the south eastern half of the
south west range and the foundations of the rest of the range will survive
beneath the attached Grade II Listed 17th century house at 2 Thorpe Lane. The
palace precinct is bounded to the north west by the Bishop Dike and extended
north and east to Old Road, which will have been the riverfront in the
medieval period; substantial sections of the limestone precinct wall are
visible to a height of up to 3m in places and are incorporated into the modern
garden walls. Further east, the precinct wall is no longer visible but it
survives below ground and parts of the wall have been recorded during building
works. The precinct wall continued along the line of Old Road as far as the
junction with Thorpe Lane; there it turned north westwards, following the line
of the present Thorpe Lane frontage to a point opposite the end of the south-
west range, where it turned south westwards to adjoin the hall. Trial
excavations in the private gardens south east of the hall showed that this
area lay outside the precinct and was under cultivation, probably as part of
the palace garden. Although the area within the precinct was developed for
private housing in the 1970s, the substantial foundations of the palace
buildings will survive below ground and archaeological observations carried
out during building works confirmed that medieval remains are well-preserved.
The exact form and arrangement of the buildings of the castle are not fully
understood. Documentary sources note the existence of over 40 rooms and
buildings including a chapel, brewhouse, hall, kitchen, porter's lodge,
bakehouse, library and gallery. It is thought that these may have been
arranged around two courtyards; the surviving gatehouse and hall forming one
side of one of these courts.
The north westward continuation of Thorpe Lane across the palace site was laid
out in 1887, to provide a more direct through-route than was formerly
available via Old Road; further archaeological remains will survive beneath
the modern road surface.

The Castle Garth is a medieval enclosure, lying to the south of the palace
itself, and comprises a trapezoidal area 180m-300m wide by 260m long. A recent
study of the historical development of Cawood has suggested that the Garth
originally extended south east to Broad Lane and north east to Water Row,
although, with the exception of a small triangle of common land known as Gill
Green, these areas have been largely built-over since the medieval period. The
north western boundary of the Garth is formed by the Bishop Dike but, while
this was originally a medieval canal, it was deepened and partially culverted
in the 19th century so that it no longer retains any visible evidence of
medieval engineering. Along the southern boundary of the Garth is a 20m
wide, 2m deep ditch or fishpond, known as New Cut. This pond is clearly
separated from the Bishop Dike, although it is thought that the New Cut may
have been created out of an earlier medieval dock which was linked to the
canal. A large irregularly shaped pit, 40m across and extending from the north
bank of the New Cut, is an old quarry probably dug to obtain clay for pottery
or brick making. Further north, in the rear garden of 2 Thorpe Lane, is an
oval water-filled pond, 40m long by 20m wide, which, although enlarged in the
19th century, originated as a fishpond associated with the archbishops'
palace. The north eastern third of the Garth is sub-divided by an 8m wide,
1.2m deep ditch into a sub-rectangular garden enclosure. Originally, this
enclosure will have extended as far as Broad Lane but was later reduced in
size when an 8m wide, 2m deep ditch was constructed along the present
south eastern boundary of the Garth. Three rectangular, dried-up fishponds lie
in the southern part of the enclosure. The largest pond is 50m long by 18m
wide and 1.5m deep; its sides have recently been revetted with timber to
prevent erosion. The other two ponds form a parallel pair, each 40m long by 8m
wide and partially infilled. Slight parallel linear earthworks, visible in the
northern part of the enclosure, are the remains of bedding for trees and
shrubs within the garden. Archaeological excavations in areas adjacent to the
monument have confirmed that this area of Castle Garth was in use as a garden;
further bedding earthworks are visible in the gardens of houses fronting Broad
Lane and trial excavation in advance of housing development south of Thorpe
Lane showed that area was once cultivated. Part of the garden enclosure
continued in use as an orchard until relatively recently, since a small
thicket close to the boundary of the monument still contains several old fruit
trees.

King Edgar granted a vast estate, centred on Sherburn in Elmet, to the
archbishop in AD 963. This estate included at least a part of Cawood; the
remaining part was held by the de Cawood family, whose manorial seat has been
identified as the moated site south east of Broad Lane. Cawood had become an
archiepiscopal residence by the 12th century and the archbishops were
instrumental in developing the commercial potential of the town, obtaining
revenue from its port, ferry and river fishing. Brickworks also counted as one
of the archiepiscopal enterprises, whether or not this took place in the
vicinity of Cawood. Recent study of the development of the townscape has
demonstrated that the medieval expansion of settlement was deliberately
planned. A licence to crenellate the palace was granted to Archbishop Gifford,
in 1271. As befitted the rank of its occupants, Cawood Castle saw frequent
royal visitors, from King John to Elizabeth I. In 1530 the Archbishop Elect,
Cardinal Wolsey, stayed at Cawood before his arrest on a charge of treason and
his subsequent death at Leicester. When Queen Mary deposed the protestant
Archbishop Holgate her soldiers ransacked the castle and it was only partially
reoccupied. During the Civil War, the Royalist garrison, under Captain Grey,
was ousted by Lord Fairfax and the building was largely destroyed.

A number of features and buildings within the area are excluded from the
scheduling; these are the Grade II Listed house at 2 Thorpe Lane, the houses
north of Thorpe Lane, the associated outbuildings, the metalled surfaces of
the public roads, paths and driveways, three concrete slabs (formerly hut
foundations) located on the western side of the Garth and all fences and
information boards; the ground beneath all these features is however included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A magnate's residence is a very high status residence of domestic rather than
military character. Such buildings were houses or palaces of the highest ranks
of society, acting as both luxury residences for the elite and their large
retinues and as settings for meetings. These monuments were formed as a
complex of buildings, usually of stone or brick, and in general comprised a
great hall, chambers, chapels, kitchens, service rooms, lodgings and a
gatehouse, usually arranged around a single or double courtyard. Magnates'
residences were in use throughout the whole of the medieval period from the
Norman Conquest and, due to their connection with the highest ranks of society
and their comparative rarity, surviving examples are considered to be of
national importance.

Part of the south west range of Cawood Castle, including a gatehouse, survives
to full height and, although the northern half of the palace has been largely
demolished to ground level and developed for housing, it is still bounded by
part of the original precinct wall and will contain well-preserved below
ground structures. The Garth associated with the medieval palace
is largely undeveloped and retains well-preserved medieval fishponds and
medieval garden earthworks. Throughout the medieval period and into the 16th
century, Cawood served not only as a residence but also as an economic and
administrative centre for the estate of the Archbishops of York, some of the
most prominent political figures in medieval England.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Bell, M, Cawood: the History of a Yorkshire Village, (1987), 1-20
Pexton, J, Cawood: The Castle Garth, (1988)
Blood, N, Taylor, C, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Cawood: an Archiepiscopal Landscape (Volume 64), , Vol. 64, (1992), 83-102
Blood, N, Taylor, C, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Cawood: an Archiepiscopal Landscape (Volume 64), , Vol. 64, (1992), 83-102
Blood, N, Taylor, C, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Cawood: an Archiepiscopal Landscape (Volume 64), , Vol. 64, (1992), 86-102
Blood, N, Taylor, C, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Cawood: an Archiepiscopal Landscape (Volume 64), , Vol. 64, (1992), 83-102
Blood, N, Taylor, C, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Cawood: an Archiepiscopal Landscape (Volume 64), , Vol. 64, (1992), 83-102
Blood, N, Taylor, C, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Cawood: an Archiepiscopal Landscape (Volume 64), , Vol. 64, (1992), 83-102
Blood, N, Taylor, C, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in Cawood: an Archiepiscopal Landscape (Volume 64), , Vol. 64, (1992), 83-102
Other
Conversation with Mrs Pexton, (1992)
Stocker D (IAM), Recollections of unpublished archaeological fieldwork by YAT, 1992,
Stocker D (IAM), Recollections of unpublished archaeological fieldwork by YAT, 1992,

Source: Historic England

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