Moated site at Manor Farm, Portington


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015304

Date first listed: 31-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of Moated site at Manor Farm, Portington
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Eastrington

National Grid Reference: SE 78743 30791


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

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 Manor Farm, Portington is one unusually large for this area of Yorkshire. It is in good condition and although the main island has modern buildings located there, it will nevertheless retain evidence of the earlier structures which originally occupied it. The surrounding moat survives well, and will retain environmental evidence relating to the period of the monument's construction. The monument is one of a number of moated sites in this part of East Yorkshire, clustering along both the northern and southern sides of the River Humber, which represent a typical form of settlement of low-lying and flood plain land such as this in the medieval period. The monument is part of the recorded history of the locality, with occupation here probably back to the 12th century.


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


The monument includes a moated site at Manor Farm, Portington. The site dates from the 11th century, and includes a large, raised rectangular platform area with dimensions of 160m north-south by 135m east-west. The platform is surrounded on its four sides by moat ditches. Overall the site has dimensions of 180m north-south by 150m east-west. The `U' shaped moat ditches range from 7m to 10m wide, across their tops, and are between 1m and 1.75m deep. The ditches are intact and are surrounded by an exterior bank which is up to 8m wide and 1.5m high. There is an original entrance in the centre of the northern moat arm which is 5m wide, and another entrance 10m wide in the opposing side, although this may not be an original feature. Within the raised platform area to the south west, there are the remains of two interior moat channels which nearly meet at right angles. The channel leading due north from the main southern moat arm is interpreted as a fish pond, and measures about 50m in length, by 10m in width, and is up to 1.5m deep. The second channel is at right angles to the western moat arm, and measures about 75m long, 6m-8m wide and 0.5m deep. Modern farm buildings lie at the point where the two interior channels may once have met. On the eastern side of the moat island there now stands a farmhouse dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. The farmhouse, which is excluded from the scheduling (although the ground beneath it is included), is situated close to the original entrance to the moat island at the centre of the northern moat arm. Although the fabric of this building includes both Georgian and Victorian features, it was apparently built upon earlier foundations, possibly dating to the 16th century. This farmhouse is associated with other farm buildings which occupy parts of the raised central island area, and was once designated a `Model Farm'. Originally the site was connected with the Manor House, Portington, the residence of the Portington family for 400 years and who gave their name to the village here. Sir John Portington was a justice of the King's Bench in the first half of the 15th century. His son Thomas held several ecclesiastical appointments including the provostry of Beverley. All farm buildings and associated farm structures, post and wire fencing and gates, animal feed and water dispensers, telegraph poles, the paved surface to modern access roads 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: 26601

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bulmer, T, History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 597
Durham, S, Application to Restore & Modernise 'Manor Farm House' Portington, (1994)
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, (1973), 115

End of official listing