Mote Hill: a moated site, two fishponds and part of an adjacent field system 500m west of Nun Appleton Hall


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.

North Yorkshire
Selby (District Authority)
Appleton Roebuck
National Grid Reference:
SE 55055 39834

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 at Mote Hill is well preserved and as there are no modern buildings on the interior of the island the foundations of medieval buildings will be well preserved below the surface. The accumulated silts of the moat ditch and associated fishponds also favour the survival of evidence which would assist the study of the medieval environment and the economy of the site.


The monument includes a moated site and adjacent fishponds situated on level ground at the northern edge of the floodplain of the lower River Wharfe. The surrounding land was cultivated in the medieval period and extensive slight ridge-and-furrow earthworks remain visible; these are included in the scheduling where they abut the edge of the moat. Nun Appleton Hall, site of a Benedictine nunnery with which the moat may have been associated, lies 500m to the east and forms the subject of a separate scheduling. The moated site is roughly triangular in plan, surrounded by a ditch 12m wide and up to 2m deep. A stream feeds into the moat via a leat from the north and flows down the north-western arm. Along the eastern arm there is a slight 5m wide outer bank and the otherwise flat moated island has a 0.3m high bank along its eastern edge. The southern arm of the moat has been altered to form a roughly rectangular fishpond 30m long by 10m wide; this has become silted up over the years and is now apparent as a boggy depression. A second pond lies to the west of the first and is visible as a rectangular depression 30m long by 10m wide and about 0.5m deep extending west from the main enclosing moat. All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 25" Series Source Date: 1908 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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