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Moated site 50m north west of Red House

A Scheduled Monument in Moor Monkton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0078 / 54°0'28"N

Longitude: -1.1941 / 1°11'38"W

OS Eastings: 452913.064355

OS Northings: 457162.554212

OS Grid: SE529571

Mapcode National: GBR NQ33.82

Mapcode Global: WHD9Q.MJLF

Entry Name: Moated site 50m north west of Red House

Scheduled Date: 6 December 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020887

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35466

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Moor Monkton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Rural Ainsty

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated
site. It is located on raised ground 200m south west of the River Ouse,
50m to the north west of Red House.

The date of construction of this site is currently unknown but it is
thought to have been in existence by 1342 when Sir Thomas Ughtred, whose
family had held the manor of Moor Monkton and Scagglethorpe since the
Norman Conquest, was granted a licence to empark his woods and to
crenellate what was called the `Rede House'. This was almost certainly
located on the platform of the moated site. The medieval village of
Scagglethorpe was located in the fields to the south of Red House. It was
common for the more prestigious dwellings of medieval settlements to be
located in a prominent position away from the main settlement. The
prominent position of the moated site reflects its importance as the
habitation of the lords of the manor. The village of Scagglethorpe no
longer exists and it was probably abandoned during the 14th to 15th
centuries when many villages in the north of England were deserted. The
moated site was located in a prominent position overlooking the River Ouse
and would certainly have had access to the river for transport and
communication. Given the relatively poor state of medieval roads the river
would have been a major source of access. In 1523 the estate was sold to
the Seymour family and later in 1560 to Sir Francis Slingsby, son-in-law
to the Earl of Northumberland. By the beginning of the 17th century the
moated site had been abandoned. The reason for this is not fully
understood, but it is likely to be because a newer, grander and more
fashionable residence was required. In 1607 construction of a new building
started, which evolved into the current Red House, chapel and walled

In 1644 the Red House estate was involved in the English Civil War when
Sir Henry Slingsby, also known as Sir Harry, led the Royalist defence of
York. This ultimately failed when the Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas
Fairfax defeated forces loyal to the King at the battle of Marston Moor,
some 5km south of Red House. The estate stayed in the Slingsby family
until the early 20th century. During this time the moated site remained as
an earthwork feature within the grounds of the house.

In the 19th century the Red House was extensively rebuilt and modernised
with the main aspect facing south and the stables and service buildings
located to the rear, northern, side of the house. Prior to this the house
had a more formal facade overlooking the river. A sketch by Samuel Buck
from the 1720s shows the house with impressive gables and windows as seen
from north of the river. From the 17th to 19th centuries the moated site
may have been regarded as a garden feature lying to the front of the
house. Other than the infilling of the southern moat ditch to allow access
there is no evidence of any other works which incorporated it into a wider
designed garden landscape. It may be that the change in the orientation of
the house so that it faced south rather than north was to take account of
improved vehicular access along and from the York to Harrogate road, 3km
to the south.

The first edition Ordnance Survey map (1852) shows the house within the
setting of a 19th century designed landscape. A number of the garden
features shown on the map still survive including ornamental ponds forming
the southern end of the garden, a pair of gate pillars and a raised
walkway along the eastern side of the walled garden. The original date of
construction of these garden features is not yet known. The form of the
garden defined by the ornamental ponds and the raised walkway may indicate
a 17th century origin. If this is the case these garden remains are of
national interest and importance in their own right. In the fields to the
south of this there was a wooded deer park through which the main approach
to the house passed before crossing over the ornamental ponds and through
the pillars to the house. No remains of any deer park features are known
to survive.

The moated site survives as a rectangular shaped platform, orientated
south east to north west enclosed on all but the south western side by a
ditch. The ditch is steep sided with a flat bottom measuring up to 4m wide
and is up to 2.5m deep. The maximum width at the top of the ditch is at
the south eastern end where it is 20m wide. On the south western side
there is a slight hollow visible which indicates the line of the now
in-filled ditch. The central platform measures 50m by 28m. Whilst there
are no traces of structures surviving as earthworks, evidence from other
similar sites in the region demonstrates that significant remains will
survive below ground. There is no trace of a causeway across the ditch
along any of the sides so access would have been via a bridge. It is
currently unclear where this was located as it is also unclear how water
was fed into the moat ditch.

On the north west and northern sides of the ditch there is a raised outer
bank 10m wide and 0.75m high and on the north western side there is a
slight outer ditch beyond the bank which measures 2m wide. A number of
small-scale excavations were carried out on the platform in the 1960s and
1970s, which uncovered 15th and 16th century pottery.

The horse jumps are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 24/08/2011

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.

The moated site 50m north west of Red House survives well and significant
earthwork and buried remains are preserved. Its value is enhanced by its
association with a significant family in the region. Taken as whole the
monument offers important scope for the study of medieval domestic life as
well as the development of expressions of status amongst the higher
strata of society in Yorkshire.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Samuel Bucks Yorkshire Sketchbook, (1979), 236
Red House School, , The Red House, (1999)
'Yorkshire Philosophical Society Annual Report' in Archaeology in York, (1968), 21
'Yorkshire Philosophical Society Annual Report' in Archaeology in York, (1969), 19
Everson, P, 'Garden Archaeology. CBA Research Report 78' in Field survey and garden earthworks, , Vol. No. 78, (1991), 6-20
Le Patourel, , 'Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, , Vol. No.5, (1973), 126

Source: Historic England

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