Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Flamborough Castle: a fortified manor house

A Scheduled Monument in Flamborough, East Riding of Yorkshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 54.1143 / 54°6'51"N

Longitude: -0.1261 / 0°7'33"W

OS Eastings: 522591.160634

OS Northings: 470336.866129

OS Grid: TA225703

Mapcode National: GBR WNKV.HW

Mapcode Global: WHHF2.1V78

Entry Name: Flamborough Castle: a fortified manor house

Scheduled Date: 8 April 1946

Last Amended: 22 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014896

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26506

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Flamborough

Built-Up Area: Flamborough

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Flamborough St Oswald

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the remains of a medieval fortified house and related
earthworks known as Flamborough Castle, located in a field behind the war
memorial in Tower Street, in the village of Flamborough.

The most visible feature of the site is the ruined tower, which stands in the
middle of the site. It is constructed of coursed squared chalk blocks and
rubble, probably extracted from a small quarry around 100m to the north of the

Originally rectangular in plan, only three sides now survive, and include the
full length of the south wall, with parts of the east and west walls remaining
to an estimated height of 4m. There is one altered doorway to the east with
plain jambs and square head, whilst the interior retains putlog holes and
chamfered springers for a barrel vaulted basement. Until a few years ago, the
vaulted chamber was complete but, due to the decay of mortar, has now
collapsed. Part of the first floor, with the footings of a door in the south
wall, can be traced above the remains of the vaulting. The only evidence for a
second floor is a garderobe drain in the south east corner wall. The drain was
enclosed in masonry and can be traced up through the basement and first floor
level. There are many putlog holes through the walls which may have been
filled with clay or wood.

This tower would have been only one element of a building complex. At the
death of Sir Robert Constable in 1537, the complex is said to have included a
tower, a hall, a `great parlour', a `lord's parlour', a chapel, a court house,
a mill house, and a great barn.

The foundations of other buildings are visible as overgrown earthwork banks
immediately around the tower. Stone forming their upper walls has been largely
robbed out, probably to construct later buildings in Flamborough, or for lime
burning, leaving only foundations and associated demolition debris. The
remains thus identified appear to occupy an almost square platform in the
centre of the field; this was the core of the medieval manor house. Around
this a series of further earthwork banks and ditches define and sub-divide a
series of enclosures and access trackways. The earthworks are difficult to
interpret clearly but are thought to include stock yards and enclosures within
which lesser manorial buildings (those associated with agricultural activities
such as barns) were located.

There are good historical data which show that it was the seat of the
Constable family for many years, until the death of Sir Robert Constable in
1537. In 1315, William the Constable was licensed to have an oratory, and
later in 1351, Marmaduke Constable received licence to crenellate the house.
In the 16th century, Leland described it as `taken for a manor place rather
than a castle'. The tower survived , and in 1798 it still contained a vaulted
undercroft which was used as a cattle shed. Chalk was then being removed and
burned for lime, the lime kilns for which are still evident as circular
earthworks on the site, to the east of the tower. The tower is also a Listed
Grade II building.

The following are excluded from the scheduling: the war memorial and its
associated wall and railings, modern post and wire fences which bound the site
or cross it and animal feeding troughs, although the ground beneath all of
these features 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

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most
powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic
and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic
additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military
aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with
individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture
often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification
varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers,
gunports and crenellated parapets.
Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic
and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later
houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often
receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some
fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables,
brew houses, granaries and barns were located.
Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between
the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as
the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I
and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further
back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland
areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses
which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with
fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant
surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

Flamborough Castle is a good example of a medieval fortified manor house which
still preserves some important architectural details. Although now in a
ruinous state, with only parts of the tower surviving above ground, the
monument as a whole, including its extensive associated earthworks, is
relatively undisturbed and will contain foundation walls and other
archaeological deposits providing important evidence of the nature of the
manorial economy and settlement of the medieval and early historic period,
from its foundation early in the 14th century until its abandonment in the
16th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of East Riding of Yorkshire, (1974), p155
AM7, (1949)
Earnshaw, J R, (1965)
Information held by Humberside SMR, (1994)
Pacitto, AC, AM107, (1984)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.