A moated site 100m east of St Mary Magdalene's Church


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

North Yorkshire
Hambleton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 42897 82312

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.

The moated site 100m east of St Mary Magdalene's Church is a well-preserved example of a small homestead moat having the unusual addition of an external building platform. Due to its low-lying situation, the monument will retain waterlogged deposits containing well-preserved organic materials, not only in the accumulated silts of the ditches, but also in below-ground features on the moated island. The foundations of medieval buildings will also survive on the moated island and on the adjacent platform. The moated site lies close to the centre of modern Thirsk and is one of the few remaining visible features relating to the medieval settlement of the town.


The monument includes a moated site and an adjacent building platform, located on a bend of the Cod Beck between Old and New Thirsk. The area to the south has been recently developed as a car park but old maps show that the moat originally lay at the north end of a small island, having the river to its north and east and marshy land to the south and west. There is evidence that a medieval watermill was located in the vicinity of the moated site. The moated island is 20m square, surrounded by a ditch 1.5m deep by 12m wide with an outer bank up to 10m wide by 1m high on its north-western, north- eastern and south-eastern arms. A causeway crosses the mid point of the north-eastern arm. Adjacent to the south-western arm of the moat is a 1.5m high platform, 30m by 25m across at its base, now occupied by two small modern brick sheds; this is an unusual feature which was constructed using material excavated from the moat, to provide a flood-free platform for a medieval building associated with, but outlying the moated site. A small scale excavation on the site, undertaken at Whitsuntide in 1966, recovered some flints and sherds of pottery. The modern sheds and all fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these items 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:


Lewis, R, Ordnance Survey Record, (1962)
Record No. 00150.01,
Title: 6" Map Series (Ordnance Survey) Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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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