Moated site, fishponds and associated earthworks at Manor House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015614

Date first listed: 08-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Moated site, fishponds and associated earthworks at Manor House
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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: Skirpenbeck

National Grid Reference: SE 75079 57260


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, Skirpenbeck, is unusual in its size and configuration. Although several of the related earthworks, including associated fishponds and moated channels have been infilled recently, they will nevertheless survive as buried features. Although the moat island has been disturbed by the construction of the farm complex, it will nevertheless retain evidence of the earlier structures which originally occupied it. The surviving moat ditches remain unexcavated and will thus retain environmental evidence from the original fills relating to the period of the moat's construction. The monument is one of a number of moated sites in East Yorkshire representing a typical form of settlement of low-lying and flood plain land in the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a moated site at Manor House, on the eastern end of the village of Skirpenbeck, immediately to the north of St Mary's Church. The moated site is large and complex, and lies within a wider group which included fishponds and a series of water-management channels. Many of these features have been infilled but will survive as buried features and are thus included in the scheduling. The central island of the site is on a large raised platform nearly a hectare in area, about 5m above the present day ground level and surrounded by a moat. Towards the north western side of the platform lies Manor Farm, a building of post-medieval date, although the original occupation of the moated site is thought to date to the reign of Edward I. The design of the moat has taken advantage of a west-east flowing stream immediately to its north. To the north of the platform lay a series of fishponds, which have been recently infilled, and are now no longer visible, although they will survive as buried features. Further to the west of the moat lay other earthwork features related to the moat, including banks, ditches and drainage features. The latter have all been infilled recently, but will still survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling. The two best-surviving arms of the moat lie either side of the modern farm complex, to the east and the west, divided from one another by an original entrance and causeway to the south, just east of St Mary's Church. The eastern arm of the moat includes a continuous ditch with exterior bank curving from the north west to the south east and then turning abruptly west in a near right-angled bend. This southern, east-west ditch is up to 8m wide across the top and 1.5m wide at its bottom, being nearly `V' shaped in profile, and up to 4m deep in places. The exterior bank does not survive well given the proximity to a field boundary and arable cultivation along its southern boundary. The western moat arm is between 12m and 25m wide across the top and 2m-5m across its base. Its exterior bank, which survives well, is around 2.5m in height. Towards the northern end of this moat arm, as it starts curving eastwards to enclose the central platform, it loses definition and has been almost destroyed above ground by farming activity here. The remains of a feeder channel linking the southern moat arm to a related dyke lying further south, parallel with Doe Park Lane, has since been infilled by ploughing activity, but will also survive as a buried feature, and is included in the scheduling, as it links the main moat with the drainage channel described below. The moat arm surviving to the west of the platform is 4m wide at its base, 10m wide across the top, 4m deep and 75m overall in length. At its southern end curving eastwards, and at right angles to it is a low east-west depression forming the northern boundary to the graveyard of St Mary's Church, and representing the remains of the south western moat arm leading east towards the central southern causeway entrance, and the ditches to the eastern side of the platform. The northern boundary of St Mary's churchyard lies immediately south of the outer bank of the moated site. A 250m long ditch orientated east-west lies along the northern side of Doe Park Lane and is interpreted as a related water feed channel, contemporary with the main moat, and is included in the scheduling. Manor House and related farm buildings and the paved surfaces to farm yards, modern garden features and structures, post and wire fencing and gates, telegraph poles, 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: 26602

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Loughlin, N, Miller, K, Survey of Archaeological Sites in Humberside, (1979), 130
Loughlin, N, Miller, K, Survey of Archaeological Sites in Humberside, (1979), 130
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Record Sheet, (1996)

End of official listing