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Nether Poppleton medieval moated site, fishponds and earthworks around and associated with St Everilda's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Nether Poppleton, York

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Latitude: 53.9892 / 53°59'21"N

Longitude: -1.1405 / 1°8'25"W

OS Eastings: 456452.387352

OS Northings: 455139.040999

OS Grid: SE564551

Mapcode National: GBR NQG9.WQ

Mapcode Global: WHD9R.GZ4N

Entry Name: Nether Poppleton medieval moated site, fishponds and earthworks around and associated with St Everilda's Church

Scheduled Date: 23 October 1973

Last Amended: 31 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014621

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28234

County: York

Civil Parish: Nether Poppleton

Built-Up Area: Upper Poppleton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Nether with Upper Poppleton

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a medieval moated site, a sample of the surrounding
medieval field system, a group of associated fishponds and part of the high
status Anglo-Saxon settlement complex which preceded it. It lies immediately
adjacent to the Church of St Everilda which itself has Saxon origins. The
monument lies 5km north west of York and is located on the south bank of the
River Ouse on the north eastern edge of Nether Poppleton.
St Everilda's Church is traditionally considered to have been founded during
the seventh century. The evidence suggests that the site had been a
Northumbrian royal estate which St Wilfred (Bishop of York c.660-691) passed
to Everilda. Everilda is known to have established a nunnery on land given to
her by Wilfred which, by her death in c.700, had 80 inhabitants. The Domesday
Book records that Oddi, the deacon, held a substantial estate at Poppleton
before 1066 and that this land was Everilda's. By the early Norman period the
church had an unusual cruciform layout, indicating a high status as would
befit a nunnery. The earliest features of the site were the church and a
surrounding cluster of buildings used for religious, domestic and
administrative functions which, given the standing of the church, would have
been on a grand scale. The complex was likely to have included large halls
similar to structures found elsewhere on high status Anglo-Saxon sites. This
cluster of early buildings subsequently influenced the development and layout
of Nether Poppleton. In particular Church Lane followed a route to the church
which respected the position and extent of the existing complex. The larger
settlement at Nether Poppleton developed as a regular or planned village in
the early Norman period. The impetus for this was probably the acquisition of
the church by St Mary's Abbey, York, in the late 11th century. Much of the
form and fabric of the current church dates to rebuilding during this period.
The medieval moated site and its fishponds were created between the 12th and
early 13th centuries immediately north of the church and its related complex
of buildings. Moated sites usually served as prestigious aristocratic and
seigneurial residences, indicating that the settlement associated with St
Everilda's Church was considered important well into the medieval period.
The moated site consists of a rectangular platform enclosed by a ditch or moat
with an outer counterscarp bank to the north. The platform measures 110m east
to west by 45m north to south. The moat varies in depth from 1m on the south
side to up to 3m on the remaining sides. The moat is up to 15m wide at the
top, sloping down to measure 2m wide at the base. The counterscarp bank to the
north is 10m wide and 1m high. A second smaller and more irregular platform
lies to the east of the main platform separated from it by the eastern moat.
There are low banks and a shallow moat round this second platform which on the
south side appears to have been filled in.
The fishponds lie on the land sloping down from the east of the moat. They
extend eastward for 140m ending at the railway line. They remain visible as
a linear depression divided into a series of tanks. The westernmost section is
a prominent earthwork up to 1.5m deep and 65m long, and is 25m wide at its
west end, tapering to a rounded end 5m wide at the fence crossing the field
from north to south. At this point there is an irregular earthwork measuring
40m by 20m and forming a further pond. The fishponds continue eastward and can
be identified as a broad depression, partly infilled in places, ending at a
further hollow 30m wide by 60m long and up to 0.75m deep. This last pond is
truncated by the fence line and the disturbed ground beyond.
In the orchards to the south of the moat a number of linear earthworks are
visible. These include a ditch extending southwards adjacent to the west wall
of the orchard and an embankment extending east to west along the south side
of the moat. The exact nature and function of these earthworks is not yet
fully understood. They are probably medieval in date and relate to wider
activity around the moated site but they may also relate to earlier Saxon
activity. In the field to the east of the churchyard a large raised platform
measuring around 50m east-west by 80m north-south extends from the churchyard
wall. It predates the present churchyard boundary, and the eastern extent of
the present churchyard must overlie part of this platform. It is surrounded by
a slight ditch and is interpreted as medieval in date. Buildings associated
with the moated site and church will have occupied the level platform. To
the east of this platform ridge and furrow earthworks, the remains of the
medieval field system, extend east to west and are truncated on their eastern
side by the railway embankment.
St Mary's Abbey held the site from 1088 until the dissolution in 1540,
although throughout this period the site was leased out. During this period
works were undertaken, including the rebuilding of the church and the
construction of the moat and its internal structures. In the late 15th
century a timber frame barn was built to the south of the site. The barn,
known as Rupert's Barn after it was used to billet Royalist troops prior to
the Battle of Marston Moor during the Civil War in 1644, still survives,
although it was altered in the 18th century. St Everilda's Church and its
graveyard remain in ecclesiastical use and are not included in the scheduling.
Rupert's Barn, which is Listed Grade II, also lies outside the monument.
All walls, fences, gates and the surface of tracks, drives and yards are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in
Britain in AD 597 churches became an increasingly established feature of the
settled landscape. The majority were established on land given to the leading
ecclesiastics of the day, the grantors often being royalty. The church soon
established itself as a major power within society; this power being reflected
in the building complexes it constructed. The church also established a
hierarchy with different establishments having differing functions and status.
St Everilda's at Nether Poppleton is a good example of an early church site of
high status, probably being a monastic site. The associated complex of
buildings appears to have been large and would have included the large halls
characteristic of high status Anglo-Saxon sites. The construction of the
moated site to the north of the earlier complex confirms the continued
importance of the site in the medieval period.
Moated sites consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly
or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry land on which stood
domestic or religious buildings. The majority of moated sites served as
prestigious residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status
symbol rather than a practical military defence. There are often ancillary
features and buildings located outside the ditches. Moated sites 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 at Nether Poppleton survives well and evidence of date and
function will be preserved within the platforms and ditches. The fishponds
to the east will preserve significant remains including environmental
evidence and are important for a fuller understanding of the economic and
domestic functions of the moated site.
The complex of remains at Nether Poppleton is important in preserving a
sequence of remains which assist the understanding of the development of the
earliest ecclesiastical establishment and the evolution of the site through to
the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Falkenham, G, Parish Survey of Nether and Upper Poppleton, (1989)
Falkenham, G, Parish Survey of Nether and Upper Poppleton, (1989)
Farmer, DH, Oxford Dictionary of Saints, (1982), 145
Le Patourel, H E J, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, (1973), 19
Le Patourel, H E J, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, (1973), 19
Butler, , Morris (eds), , 'CBA Research Report number 60' in The Anglo Saxon Church, (1986), p48
Butler, , Morris (eds), , 'CBA Research Report number 60' in The Anglo Saxon Church, (1986), 48
Addyman, P V, (1989)
Addyman, P V, (1989)
Comment in letter on file, Palliser DM, (1990)
Comment in letter on file, Taylor C C, (1990)
Palliser DM, (1990)
Taylor, C C, (1990)
The Archaeology of Nether Poppleton; NYCC Evaluation, (1989)
The Archaeology of Nether Poppleton; NYCC Evaluation, (1989)
The Archaeology of Nether Poppleton; NYCC Evaluation, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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