Part of Leppington medieval village, a moated site and site of the former parish church of St Helen


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011515

Date first listed: 27-Jan-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 17-Jan-1994


Ordnance survey map of Part of Leppington medieval village, a moated site and site of the former parish church of St Helen
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 12:42:19.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Scrayingham

National Grid Reference: SE 76466 61189


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

The village, comprising a small group of houses, gardens, yards, streets, paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a community primarily devoted to farming, was a significant component of the rural landscape in most areas of medieval England, much as it is today. Villages provided some services to the local community as well as acting as the focus of ecclesiastical, and often manorial, authority within each medieval parish. Although the sites of many of these villages have been occupied continuously down to the present day, many have declined considerably in size and are now occupied by farmsteads or hamlets. This decline may have taken place gradually throughout the lifetime of the village or more rapidly, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries when many other villages were wholly deserted. The reasons for diminishing size were varied but often reflected declining economic viability or population fluctuations as a result of widespread epidemics such as the Black Death. As a consequence of their decline, large parts of these villages are frequently undisturbed by later occupation and contain well-preserved archaeological deposits. Over 3000 shrunken medieval villages are recorded nationally. Because they are a common and long-lived monument type in most parts of England, they provide important information on the diversity of medieval settlement patterns and farming economy between the regions and through time.

The monument includes the moated site which was the residence of the medieval lords of the manor of Leppington. Around 6000 moated sites are known in England. They generally served as prestigious aristocratic or 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 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and south-eastern parts of England, although they were built throughout the medieval period and are widely scattered throughout the country.

Also included are the remains of the medieval parish church, the building used for Christian worship by the secular community of the parish. As the venue for regular religious gatherings, rites-of-passage and the burial of the dead, parish churches served as a regular meeting places and, especially in relatively dispersed rural communities, formed an important focal point for the local population. Parish churches are important, not only for the study of Christianity in England, but also for the study of the origin and development of medieval settlement patterns.

The monument east of Manor Farm therefore includes two of the major elements of the medieval village. The moated site is well preserved, the island retaining undisturbed below-ground evidence of medieval buildings and the moat ditch containing silts from which environmental evidence may be obtained. Although the church was rebuilt in the 19th century and has since been demolished, the foundations of the medieval building will survive and undisturbed medieval burials will remain in the churchyard. Adjacent earthworks include those of trackways and tofts associated with the village.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Although much of the medieval settlement of Leppington lies beneath the houses and gardens of the modern village, the monument includes the earthworks of the moated manor house, the site of the former parish church, and trackways and tofts, which are visible in the fields to the east of Manor Farm. Further evidence of the medieval field system and trackways has been observed in fields to the north and east of the monument and also to the west of the present village; however, these remains are not well preserved and have not been included in the scheduling. The moated site, formerly known as `Leppington Castle', is roughly oval in plan. The moated island measures 55m by 35m across and will contain the buried foundations of the medieval manor house which once stood there. The island is surrounded by a ditch which is 10m wide and, although partially infilled on the western and southern arms, it is up to 1.5m deep on the eastern arm. The entrance to the island is on the north side where the ditch is less deep and the inner scarp slopes up gradually towards the interior. The southern arm of the ditch is almost completely infilled but is visible as a boggy area and survives as a buried feature. On this side the surface of the island is built up to about 2m above the surrounding land surface. A silage clamp has recently been constructed on the west side of the moated site and overlies the infilled ditch which will survive below ground. St Helen's Church was originally that of the medieval parish of Leppington. A decline in population during and after the medieval period meant that Leppington was no longer viable as a parish in its own right and was eventually absorbed into Scrayingham parish. However, St Helen's continued in use as a chapel-of-ease until the beginning of the 20th century, being rebuilt in 1803 and restored in 1870, at the joint expense of Lady Mary G Vyner, lady of the manor, and the rector of Scrayingham. The chapel-of-ease fell into ruin and was finally demolished in about 1980. The site of the church is now visible as a raised rectangular platform, 16m long by 14m wide, which lies 20m to the north-east of the moated site. Although nothing of the structure is visible above ground level, the foundations of the medieval church will survive despite the 19th-century rebuilding. The cemetery was located adjacent to the church, in a triangle of land bounded to the south and north by medieval trackways (described below), and to the east by the existing field boundary which is probably medieval in origin. Including the church, this triangle measures 60m by 20m across. A medieval trackway runs east from the main road, past the northern edge of the moated site and into the field south of the church. The trackway still exists as a pedestrian right of way, which continues south-eastwards for about 0.75km to join the Acklam road, and is visible within the area of the monument as a hollow way about 10m wide. A second medieval trackway diverges from the first and runs due east, north of the church. This is visible as a hollow way up to 20m wide and may have been a droveway leading ultimately to springs in Leppington Wood. On the north side of the droveway are three medieval enclosures, divided by shallow 5m wide ditches. These are small fields or tofts associated with smallholdings to the rear of the village. The southern ends of these tofts, south of the modern field boundary and adjacent to the medieval trackways, will contain the below-ground remains of medieval buildings. The southern edge of the monument, south of the moated site, includes part of the 0.3m-high bank, a medieval field boundary which continues into the adjacent field where it originally formed a boundary or `land' between rows of medieval arable field strips. The line of this boundary is also retained by a modern boundary to the south of Manor Farm. At Domesday, the manor of Leppington was held by the Count of Moretain, later passing to the Melsa, or Meaux, family and subsequently to the Coreys. In 1626 a Corey was created Baron Corey of Leppington, although the title became extinct in 1661. The original moated manor house was presumably abandoned in the post-medieval period when a new house was built on the site of Manor Farm. The amalgamation of the parishes of Scrayingham and Leppington prior to 1803 has already been mentioned and by 1941 Scrayingham with Leppington was also under the ministry of the rector of Long Sutton. The silage clamp and all fences are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath all these features 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: 20542

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Yorkshire: East Riding, (1976)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of York, (1912), 325
Preston, , Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 263
Preston, , Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 236
Preston, , Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 263
1:10000 Series, (1972)
Chapman, Isobel, inquiries at Diossesan Office, (1993)
CUC BAA 31, (1969)
Title: 25" Series Source Date: 1910 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing