Ancient Monuments

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Whitley Thorpe moated Templar grange site, 600m north west of Fulham House

A Scheduled Monument in Whitley, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.6781 / 53°40'41"N

Longitude: -1.1612 / 1°9'40"W

OS Eastings: 455506.474889

OS Northings: 420511.871133

OS Grid: SE555205

Mapcode National: GBR NTBX.D7

Mapcode Global: WHDC9.4TB4

Entry Name: Whitley Thorpe moated Templar grange site, 600m north west of Fulham House

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017458

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30111

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Whitley

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kellington St Edmund

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes the earthworks of a small moated site with a set of
associated fishponds, sited on the south side of a slight gravel ridge which
rises a few metres above the surrounding land.
The site has been identified as a grange, or outlying farm, of Whitley Manor
which was held by the Knights Templar from before 1248. The Templars were one
of the international military monastic orders established to protect pilgrims
travelling to Jerusalem. In 1308 the whole order was imprisoned under heresy,
idolatry and other charges brought by Pope Clement V and Philip IV of France.
Although evidence against the knights proved too flimsy to secure conviction
the order was suppressed by papal decree in 1312. In 1308 the preceptor
(leader of the house) at Whitley was Robert de Langton and the manor was
valued at over one hundred and thirty pounds. Unlike a number of Templar
manors, Whitley did not pass to the rival order of Knights Hospitallers, and
the site is believed to have passed into disuse.
The monument includes a small, roughly square moated island, approximately 30m
across, surrounded by a dried up and heavily silted, but still well defined,
moat ditch. Along the eastern edge of the island there is evidence of a wall
line of dressed stone, and a number of displaced limestone blocks survive to
the west of the moat. Surrounding the outside of the moat ditch there is a low
broad bank which is considered to have resulted from material dredged from the
moat during maintenance. On the eastern side this lies under the hedge line
forming the field boundary. Access to the island appears to have been over a
causeway that crosses the mid-point of the northern moat arm. To the east of
the line of this causeway, north of the moat, there lies the now dry earthwork
depression of a small fishpond, with two further dried up ponds lying to the
west of the moat. Abutting the bank on the south side of the moat there are
the pronounced remains of ridge and furrow running NNE to SSW. This is
truncated by the field boundary and arable field to the south.
All fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th
century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution.
This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon
imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers
(secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident
labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were
specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms,
bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and
industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the
wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands
immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange.
Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands.
On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the
parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular
farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the
size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the
buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to
be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was
without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed
is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of
monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small
percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of
identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the
evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to
medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological
survival are identified as nationally important.

Around 6000 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. The
majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigniorial
residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather
than a practical military defence. The peak period of moat building was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in the
central and eastern parts of England. However moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, and are widely scattered throughout England,
exhibiting a wide variety of forms, sizes and uses. 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.
The tradition of constructing and using fishponds started in the early
medieval period and peaked in the 12th century. They typically belonged to the
wealthier sectors of society and were prized for providing a year round supply
of fresh protein. Smaller ponds were constructed to breed and cultivate fish,
with larger ponds used to store adult fish. Moats also often fulfilled this
latter function. Fishponds are important for providing evidence of site
Whitley Thorpe moated grange is a well preserved example. Its importance is
further heightened by its rarity in being associated with that of the Knights

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Knowles, D , Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, (1971), indexed
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, (1973), indexed
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, (1973), 129

Source: Historic England

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