Burton Agnes 12th-century manor house


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Burton Agnes 12th-century manor house
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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)
Burton Agnes
National Grid Reference:
TA 10248 63254

Reasons for Designation

Burton Agnes manor house is a rare and well preserved example of a 12th- century first-floor hall which retains many of its original architectural features. In addition to the hall itself and the remains of the adjacent post-medieval wing, trial excavation has revealed that buried features relating to all periods of use survive well. Although too limited in scale to provide a complete picture, the excavations indicate that further manorial remains will survive extensively throughout the site.


The 12th-century manor house at Burton Agnes is a late Norman first-floor hall with an upper storey and vaulted undercroft which show evidence of alterations dating to the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries. The monument includes the hall and also the ruinous post-medieval wing added onto the north-west side to house the 12th-century well and later tread-wheel. Trial excavations carried out in 1984 by English Heritage's Central Excavation Unit revealed that extensive buried remains relating to the manor house in both its medieval and post-medieval phases survive well and in situ, both in the yard enclosed by the standing remains and also beneath the brick floor of the undercroft. Other medieval manorial remains are likely to survive outside the undercroft. Other medieval manorial remains are likely to survive outside the area of the scheduling but their nature and extent are not sufficiently well understood at this time for them to be included in the scheduling. The ground-floor undercroft is a rectangular stone-built structure measuring 12.34m by 6.02m, the long sides being orientated north-west and south-east. Running centrally along its length is an arcade of five cylindrical piers with water-leaf capitals which divide the room into four two-part bays with a restored vaulted roof above. The two end piers are set into the short walls and the westernmost has a Nine Men's Morris board carved into it. Next to this, set into the short south-west wall on the south side, is a locker while, on the north side, an original newel stair gives access to the first floor hall and is flanked by two blocked post-medieval doorways let into the north- west hall. Adjacent to these is a restored 12th-century loop window. North of this window the vaulting in the north bay is a reconstruction, the original having been destroyed in the 18th century to make way for a flight of stairs that has since been removed. The original entrance into the undercroft is still extant in a remodelled form in the south-east wall, as are parts of the jambs and sills of three additional loop windows which were converted to sash- windows in the 18th century when the hall was used as a laundry. Two blocked openings in the short north-east wall would also have been windows though one was enlarged in the 18th century to make a doorway leading to the stairs noted above. The current floor of hand-made brick is 17th or 18th-century and overlies the rammed chalk floor of the medieval period. The first floor hall measures 13.64m by 6.86m and, in its present form, dates to the 15th century when the 12th-century walls were heightened and the present king-post roof erected. It was probably at this time or later that the doorway into the hall through the north-west wall was blocked. This doorway, situated next to the newel stair, was originally reached via an external stair leading from the yard outside and would have been the main access. A 12th- century window in the west wall was also replaced in the mid-15th century, as can be seen by elements of tracery which survived the creation of a doorway in the 17th century. An original loop window also survives in this wall, its function being to light the newel stair which formerly carried on to the roof which, prior to the 15th century, may have been crenellated. The rest of the first-floor alterations date to the 18th century when the windows were remoulded and an extra tier was let in to light an additional floor which has since been removed. During this period the medieval fireplace was enlarged and new fireplaces and flues were added to cater for the laundry. In addition, the north-east wall was either rebuilt or cased inside and out with brick and four new sash windows were let into it. A graffito on this wall reads 'ST 1712' and is believed to date the period of rebuilding. In addition to the north-east wall, the exterior face of the south-east wall was also cased in brick during the 18th century. This remodelling was mainly cosmetic and was carried out in order to make the manor house blend in with the early 17th-century 'New Hall' which had been built adjacent. The exact date of the post-medieval extension is not known, though the windows of the tread-wheel shed appear to be 17th-century. The small-scale excavations carried out against the walls of the hall have partially uncovered a number of medieval and post-medieval features including drains, stairways and foundation trenches, and also garden soils predating the building of the hall. Elsewhere in the area of the extension, the buried foundations of medieval service buildings will survive and will include, for example, the kitchen, a brewhouse and a bakehouse. The manor house was probably built between 1170 and 1180 by Roger de Stuteville. Through Roger's daughter Alice it passed to the de Merlay family and then, in 1274, to the de Somervilles. In 1355, again by marriage, it passed to the Griffiths and it was probably Sir Walter Griffith who carried out the alterations in the 15th century. His descendant, Sir Henry Griffith, built the new hall between 1601 and 1610 after which the manor house was used first as servants' quarters, then as a laundry. In 1654 the estate passed to the Boyntons who hold it to the present day. The manor house has been in State care since 1948 and is also a Grade I Listed Building. Excluded from the scheduling are all fixtures such as grilles, interpretation boards and signs, the surface of the yard and the donkey-pen and stable 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.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire - York and the East Riding, (1972)
Ryder, J, Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire, (1982)
HBMCE Central Excavation Unit Report, Wilson, P R, Excavations at Burton Agnes Old Manor House, (1984)
Official DOE leaflet, Wood, Margaret, Burton Agnes Old Manor House,


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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