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Medieval lordly residence immediately west of Church Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Old Byland and Scawton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2451 / 54°14'42"N

Longitude: -1.1607 / 1°9'38"W

OS Eastings: 454790.621002

OS Northings: 483591.154182

OS Grid: SE547835

Mapcode National: GBR NMBC.H0

Mapcode Global: WHD8L.4KKH

Entry Name: Medieval lordly residence immediately west of Church Farm

Scheduled Date: 20 July 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020313

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32664

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Old Byland and Scawton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Upper Ryedale

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of a medieval lordly
residence located immediately west of the buildings of Church Farm and Pond
Farm. This is interpreted as the residence of the Lord of the Manor.
The Domesday Survey of 1087 recorded that Scawton was divided between two
manors; the smaller had passed from Uhtred to Count Robert Mortain,
William the Conqueror's half brother, and the larger from Asketill to Robert
Malet, Sheriff of Suffolk. Both men rebelled in support of Robert Duke of
Normandy and their lands were forfeited to the Crown. After 1106, Henry I
granted Scawton along with Old Byland and other lands to Nigel d'Aubigny. His
family name subsequently changed to de Mowbray and Scawton became part of the
Honour of Mowbray. The manor of Scawton was held from the Mowbrays by the
Malebys family and is thought to have formed the principal family residence
as, for example, in around 1148 the monks of Old Byland Abbey built a chapel
in Scawton for the benefit of Hugh de Malebys and his household. This chapel
later developed into the parish church which is still in use today. The manor
house in Scawton is specifically mentioned in a document dated 1339, but
following the death of the last of the de Malebys in the 1360s, Scawton passed
to the Fairfax family whose principal seat was at Gilling. The 1694 survey of
the Fairfax estate does not mention the lordly residence at Scawton, although
it does refer to a field called Hall Ing, it is thus thought to have been
abandoned sometime after the 1360s.
Towards the centre of the paddock to the west of Church Farm there are the
earthwork remains of a large building with linear banks marking buried wall
lines and depressions as the centre of rooms. This is the principal building
of the lordly residence with the main part being a hall measuring 9m by 20m
which is orientated north east to south west. Extending north west from the
northern and western corners of this hall there are a pair of wings 8m by 6m
and extending from the north eastern wall there are further wall lines
interpreted as a pair of outbuildings both 6m by 5m. Immediately beyond these
earthworks there is a sharp break of slope down to a level area to the north
east interpreted as a garden area or courtyard. To the north west the ground
also drops away down to a level terrace, the outer edge of which is partly
marked by a buried wall line. Beyond this, the hill slope continues down a
further few metres to the modern field boundary which runs along a sharp break
of slope at the edge of Brignal Gill. This gill is very steep sided and over
40m deep at this point. It would thus have formed a very good natural defence
on the north western side of the complex. To the south west of the terrace,
west of the hall, there is a sunken area around 10m across interpreted as a
small yard. South west of this, across the drystone field wall, there are the
earthworks of another building orientated on the same line as the hall with
wall lines marked by banks up to 0.4m high and 3m wide. This building was
about 8m by 25m with 4m wide entrances midway along the two long walls and is
interpreted as a barn. Attached to the south west end of the barn there are
the earthworks of another outbuilding 11m by 11m and to the north there is
another separate building 5m by 5m. Across the whole area of the monument
there are other more ephemeral earthworks of additional features. For example,
to the south of the hall, south of the public footpath, there is a slightly
raised level platform around 8m by 8m which is thought to be the site of
another building, but one of timber rather than stone construction. The
monument will also retain buried medieval remains such as rubbish pits, post
holes and scatters of material which will not necessarily show as upstanding
earthworks. The origins of Church Farm and Pond Farm, and their relationships
to the earlier lordly residence, are not yet fully understood.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all modern
fences, walls, stiles and gates, water troughs and the platforms that they
stand on, and all telegraph poles, however, the ground beneath all of these
features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the East Yorkshire sub-Province of the Central Province,
an area characterised by marked local terrain variations: from the North York
Moors, to the Tabular Hills and Howardian Hills, to the Vale of Pickering and
the chalk Wolds, to the Hull Valley and the silt lands of the Humber and
Holderness. The sub-Province has the relatively low density of dispersed
settlements which marks the Central Province, but this uniformity masks strong
settlement contrasts. Some regions were typified by low density dispersed
settlement in the Middle Ages, whereas others have achieved a similar pattern
through extensive depopulation of medieval villages.
The Tabular Hills local region is a limestone plateau on the southern fringe
of the North York Moors. Where it dips beneath the younger, softer deposits of
the Vale of Pickering, varied soils and assured water supplies have encouraged
a distinctive chain of villages and hamlets along the break of slope.
Nevertheless nucleations are also found high on the plateau and in the deep
valleys between the moors and the limestone.

Most villages included one or more high status residences typically owned by a
Lord of the Manor. In the medieval period these prestigious residences
generally included a great hall, private chambers, kitchens, stores, and
service rooms, frequently housed in a series of separate buildings or ranges,
typically around one or more courtyards. Lordly residences were also often the
centre of the Lord's home farm and would thus include one or more barns and
other structures like granaries and buildings for livestock. They were
typically sited next to the parish church or included a chapel which in some
places became a parish church at a later date. Sometimes the outer boundary of
the complex of buildings making up the lordly residence was defined by a bank
or ditch. Those lordly residences defined by a substantial ditch are normally
identified as moated sites. Fish ponds, dovecotes and mill sites are also
often associated with lordly residences, although often placed beyond the
boundary of the main concentration of buildings. Lordly residences may survive
as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. They were important foci
of medieval rural life as typically the Lord of the Manor closely regulated
local agriculture and village life. Towards the end of the medieval period,
this form of lordly residence with its scatter of separate buildings was
increasingly replaced by larger, more comfortable houses, often set apart from
the core of the village itself.
The medieval lordly residence immediately west of Church Farm, was abandoned
at a relatively early date and was not replaced by a larger house on the same
site. The earthworks are well-preserved and will retain significant
information providing insights into the layout and function of an early lordly

Source: Historic England


Letter, Burton, Janet Dept. History, Lampter, (1999)
Letters, Scott, Haydn , (1999)

Source: Historic England

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