Roos Castle moated site and associated fishponds


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TA 29043 29475

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 island.


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 Yorkshire. 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.

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


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Le Patourel, H E J, Moated site of Yorkshire, (1973), 116
Poulson, G, History and Antiquities of Holderness, (1841), 99


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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