Reasons for Designation
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.
Despite limited disturbance to the moat, which includes the re-digging of the
northern arm, the moated site at Roos Castle survives reasonably well and is
historically documented. Organic material will be preserved within the moat
and fishponds and structural and artefactual evidence is preserved on the
The monument is the moated site of Roos Castle. It includes a sub-rectangular
central island surrounded by a single moat and two fishponds: one within the
moat, one external to it.
The raised island is 100m long, north-south, and 70m wide. An internal bank
survives along the northern edge of the island; it is 1m high and 5m wide. A
fishpond extends into the island on its eastern edge. This is 15m long, 7m
wide, and 1.5m deep. Its eastern end opens onto the eastern arm of the moat.
Earthwork remains survive on the island to the north of the fishpond. Stone
foundations have, in the past, been exposed by stock poaching and been
recorded in this part of the site. Both earthworks and foundations indicate
the survival of structural remains on the island.
The northern arm of the moat remains waterlogged. It is 45m long, 12m wide and
3m deep. The condition and size of this arm differ greatly from the other
arms; it has been remodelled and retained in use as a pond. Both the north-
eastern and north-western corners of the moat have been in-filled, isolating
the northern arm and thereby creating the pond. The southern, western and
eastern arms of the moat are 15m wide and 1.5m to 1.75m deep. There has been
partial in-filling of the moat at its south-western corner.
An earthen bank survives outside the western arm of the moat: it is 1m high
and 7m wide. This bank also encloses the fishpond to the south of the moat.
Here, also, it is 1m high, although its full width cannot be ascertained as it
has been truncated to the south by the excavation of a drainage ditch. The
heavily silted fishpond enclosed by this bank is situated adjacent to the
southern arm of the moat. It is 15m wide and now only 0.3m deep. The visible
section measures 40m in length and its eastern end has been in-filled.
This moat was the site of the ancestral home of the Roos family who held
extensive tracts of land in Yorkshire and who built Helmsley Castle in North
Excluded from the scheduling is the wooden post-and-rail fence to the south
and east of the pond north of the moat, but the ground beneath it is included.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.