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.
Although part of the site has been disturbed by the construction of post-
medieval buildings the monument survives reasonably well. Limited excavations
have confirmed that below-ground archaeological remains survive well. The
position of the western arm of the moat has also been confirmed. The moat is
known to retain and preserve organic remains.
The monument is the site of a moated residence of the Archbishops of York. It
includes an irregular sub-rectangular moat surrounding a central island. The
moat is visible on the northern, southern and eastern sides of the island,
while the fourth, western, arm has been infilled. The southern and eastern
arms have, in part, been redug as drainage ditches. The northern arm of the
moat has been partially infilled and is now only a few centimetres deep. The
western arm has been completely infilled and Long Lane, a metalled road, has
been built over the top of it. The southern arm of the moat is also silted.
The island has earthwork features across it.
In 1948 limited excavations were carried out on the site to establish the
location of buildings on the site. To the south of the inn at the north-
eastern corner of the site, good quality ashlar-faced walls were found.
Foundations of three other adjacent buildings were uncovered, including two
halls aligned north-south and a further structure to the south thought to be
the tower built by Robert Neville during the reign of Henry VI. In 1980 a
rescue excavation was carried out on the eastern end of a wooden bridge
abutment by the western moat. The timbers from which it was constructed have
been dated to the years 1315-1330.
The archiepiscopal manor was built before 1280, the date of the first
documentary reference. During the early 14th century a timber bridge was built
across the moat at the north-western corner of the site, including a possible
drawbridge. During the 15th century, stone buildings were being built and
enlarged on the site, and by 1444 the Archbishop's court was being held in the
great hall of the manor, and his gaol was on the site. By the 1540's the site
was in ruin and the stone was being removed, probably to build the Beverley
Parks hunting lodge. In the post-medieval period the site continued to be the
site of the manorial court and gaol of Beverley Watertowns, until a public
house was built at the north-eastern corner of the site in the 19th century.
This was demolished in 1958.
The modern road surface and pavement overlying the western arm of the moat are
excluded from the scheduled area, although the ground beneath these features
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.