Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill moated site, 350m south of St Peter and St Paul's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Drax, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.7263 / 53°43'34"N

Longitude: -0.9768 / 0°58'36"W

OS Eastings: 467605.255162

OS Northings: 426027.263144

OS Grid: SE676260

Mapcode National: GBR PTMB.9Z

Mapcode Global: WHFD9.ZL0Q

Entry Name: Castle Hill moated site, 350m south of St Peter and St Paul's Church

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1964

Last Amended: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017455

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30108

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Drax

Built-Up Area: Drax

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Drax St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a medieval moated site now occupied by Castle Hill Farm.
The site is reputed to be that of Talleville Castle built after 1139 by Philip
de Colville. The castle was adulterine (not licenced by the king) and was one
of those ordered to be destroyed by Stephen in 1154 under the terms of a
treaty with Henry of Anjou. There is a 1278 documentary reference to a garden
on the site of the manor, but by 1405 the site was recorded as being worthless
due to flooding and in 1421 it was assessed as being worth 3 shillings and
four pence in herbage.
The monument is typical of a nobleman's moated manor house of the 12th to 13th
centuries, with a 55m square island raised above the level of the surrounding
fields with material dug from a deep encircling moat ditch. On the outside of
the moat ditch there is a substantial encircling bank, up to 15m wide, which
would have typically derived from material dredged from the ditch after the
initial construction. The entire circuit of the moat ditch survives as an
earthwork except in the north eastern part of the monument where it survives
as an infilled feature. The moated island is now occupied by a farm house and
a number of out houses and other farm buildings, one of which has been
converted into domestic accommodation. On the south side of the island there
is a slight earthwork depression which is intepreted as a fishpond.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all
buildings, concrete and tarmac surfaces, fencing, gate posts, telegraph poles
and the cellar under the western half of the farm house, although the ground
beneath all these features is included in the scheduling.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and 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 about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They 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.

Castle Hills is a very good example of a seigneurial moated manor house site,
the location for the house of the local lord of the manor. It is unusual in
that it was abandoned as an inhabited island at a relatively early date in the
medieval period and then used for other purposes. The monument will retain
important archaeological remains across the whole site. The island will retain
original building foundations, rubbish pits, remains of medieval gardening
activity and other deposits, such as evidence of small scale industrial
processes. The moat ditch, which periodically becomes very boggy, will also
retain important archaeological deposits, for instance evidence of bridges
across the moat and organic remains. Preservation within the infilled
section of the moat will be especially good, retaining organic remains which
rarely survive in dryer environments.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, , Vol. 5, (1973), 124

Source: Historic England

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