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 no remains of the monument remain above ground, both moat and
building foundations will survive as buried features, and provide important
evidence of the medieval occupation of this area, some of which has been lost
to the ingression of the sea along this coast. The form of the site, using a
natural hillock surrounded by a moat, is unusual, and suggests that the
surrounding landscape was too wet and unsuitable for settlement.
The monument includes the site of a medieval hall and moat, on Hallgarth Hill
400m south east of Church Farm, on the southern side of the town of Skipsea.
A spread of medieval and post-medieval pottery, and probable building
materials are scattered across the ploughed field on the northern side of the
summit of the low natural hillock, roughly elliptical in form, called
Hallgarth Hill. The hill is surrounded by low-lying ground which regularly
floods in winter, and is composed of peat up to 5m thick.
There was once a shallow ditch feature around the north and eastern edge of
this hillock, which is interpreted as a moat, later reused as a field drain.
It has now been infilled through regular ploughing, and is no longer visible,
but will survive as a buried feature.
An excavation of this site was conducted by S R Harrison in 1970 which
confirmed the existence of a ditched enclosure here. The ditch measured about
300m by 170m, was 6m-7.5m wide and nearly 3m deep. Within this enclosure,
evidence of burning was found, and pottery dating to between 1450 and 1650.
Building materials in the form of large, shaped cobbles, some retaining traces
of mortar, have been removed from the ploughsoil and heaped along the field
boundary hedge line which divides the site across its east-west axis.
No evidence of the original building which stood here survives above the
ground, but foundations will be preserved below ground level and beneath the
depth of the present ploughing.
The most prominent site in this area is that of Skipsea motte castle on the
western side of the town. In 1271, an increment of 12 pence per annum appears
among the Cleton rents for a `domus' (residence) of the Guild of the Blessed
Mary in Skipsea, although the site of Cleton village is now lost under the
Tradition maintains that the hall here was destroyed during the Civil War.
All modern fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included.
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.