'Cellar Heads' moated site and related ridge and furrow earthworks at Risby Park, 700m north west of Risby Park Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of 'Cellar Heads' moated site and related ridge and furrow earthworks at Risby Park, 700m north west of Risby Park Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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)
National Grid Reference:
TA 00451 35554

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 the moated site at Risby Park has been subject to quarrying activities in the past, resulting in the destruction of the northern side of the enclosure and disturbance to the central area of occupation, the remaining three arms of the moat survive well. Undisturbed deposits relating to the period of the monument's construction and occupation will remain in the undisturbed areas, and in the fills of the moat ditches. The site is unusual and given its size, the reference to `Cellar', and the nearby deer park of 16th century date, it is thought to be the site of a large manor where Henry VIII once stayed. The related area of ridge and furrow earthworks survives well, in clear association with the medieval moated site, another unusual feature which adds to the importance of the site.


The monument includes a moated enclosure and associated ridge and furrow earthworks at Risby Park, situated between Silver Fir and Sodwall Plantations, 700m north west of Risby Park Farm. The monument is situated on the southern side of a deep sheltered valley, and includes the remains of three moat arms, or ditches forming three sides of a rectilinear enclosure. The northern moat arm has been removed by extensive quarrying activity. The eastern and western sides of the enclosure are formed by ditches measuring approximately 75m in length. The western ditch is up to 8m in width and about 1m-1.5m deep. The eastern ditch is narrower and shallower, being around 5m wide and 0.5m deep. They are joined at the southern end of the monument by another, partly intact ditch, about 55m long up to 7m wide and 0.5m deep. Two original entrances, opposing each other, give access across the ditches on the western and eastern sides at their mid points. Although quarrying activity has disturbed the interior of the moated enclosure in some places, it is expected that undisturbed archaeological deposits relating to the period of the monument's construction will nevertheless still survive. An area of well preserved ridge and furrow earthworks survives to the east of the moated enclosure, measuring approximately 60m east west by 75m north south. The earthworks are thought to be contemporary with the moated site and are included in the scheduling. The name `Cellar' is thought to refer to a building of some size and importance, and given that Sir Ralph Ellerker was responsible for the creation of a deer park at Risby in the mid-16th century, it is thought that the monument may be the surviving remains of the mansion where Henry VIII is known to have stayed. Post and wire fences, animal feed and water dispensers 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:


Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Sheet, (1996)


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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