Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hill fortified house

A Scheduled Monument in Brompton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2264 / 54°13'34"N

Longitude: -0.5514 / 0°33'5"W

OS Eastings: 494533.038508

OS Northings: 482149.8165

OS Grid: SE945821

Mapcode National: GBR SMLK.DQ

Mapcode Global: WHGCB.H1MB

Entry Name: Castle Hill fortified house

Scheduled Date: 6 November 1959

Last Amended: 25 February 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021268

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35564

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Brompton

Built-Up Area: Brompton-by-Sawdon

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Brompton-by-Sawdon All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the site of a fortified house located on a steep
natural hill in the north east corner of the village of Brompton,
overlooking a millpond that was created by utilising a natural spring. The
monument occupies the end of a spur of high ground, with steep slopes down
to the south and west.

The north and north east parts of the protected area are on the highest
ground, where the remains of two buildings can be interpreted. In the
northern part of the area there is a slightly raised and levelled area
with traces of stonework protruding along its eastern edge. This forms a
roughly rectangular shape measuring 22m by 20m. In the south east area the
remains of another building are evident, standing in places more than 1m
above the surrounding area. This forms an irregular rectangle
approximately 15m by 7m, and is evidently the rubble mound of a
substantial fallen building. Connecting these two structures is another
raised area, 25m long and 4m wide, with a faint earthwork to its west,
perhaps indicating a further structure. The site is interpreted as a
fortified medieval manor, with an unusual location and design. It was
probably situated to protect the spring below, with a defence line along
the north and east sides and protected on the south and west sides by
steep natural slopes.

The area also includes two small brick buildings measuring approximately
2.80m by 2.10m and 2.30m high, with concrete roofs and a simple entrance
with no windows. These were built for the Home Guard during World War II,
apparently as ammunition stores. They are included in the scheduling.

Stone walls and a gateway forming part of the boundary of the site are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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

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.

Castle Hill fortified house is an unusual example of a small defended
medieval site. These monuments are rare nationally, with this example
presenting an unusual design within the class. The monument also
incorporates relics from World War II.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of North Riding of Yorkshire, (1923), 424
Emery, A, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300-1500, (2000)
NY 521; File AA 10424, Various, English Heritage SAM/CNSR System - Long Internal Report, (1999)
NY 521; File AA 10424, Various, English Heritage SAM/CNSR System, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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