Moated site known as Vivers Hill Castle, 300m north east of the parish church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015811

Date first listed: 15-Oct-1980

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Moated site known as Vivers Hill Castle, 300m north east of the parish church
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 17:35:53.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Kirkbymoorside

National Grid Reference: SE 69972 86797


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 on Vivers Hill is well preserved, with clear indications of surviving archaeological remains on the island in the form of earthworks. The moat ditches are also expected to retain surviving organic remains, especially in the eastern, waterlogged fishpond. Fishponds were important during the medieval period as status symbols and for their economic value in providing a regular food source, especially during winter months. The site's importance is further heightened by its relatively early construction date and its comparatively rare hillside location.


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


The monument includes the remains of the moated manor house site on Vivers Hill, overlooking the church and centre of Kirbymoorside. The scheduling includes all earthwork remains of the moat with associated banking, together with the terraced island with buried remains of the house and associated features. The earthwork remains of the 19th century reservoir, which lies adjacent to the north west, are not included in the scheduling. The moated manor house site known as Vivers Hill Castle was inhabited by the Stuteville family by 1200. From this date, the ownership of the manor of Kirbymoorside (which included Farndale, Bransdale and Gillamoor) is well documented, changing ownership a number of times. In the early 15th century, ownership passed to the Neville family who owned a hunting lodge sited 0.5km to the north west (Neville's Castle, which is the subject of a separate scheduling). However it is believed that the manor on Vivers Hill had been abandoned in favour of this new site before the 15th century. The monument is sited on a hillside just below the spring line. The moat is a well preserved earthwork with a ditch typically over 2.5m deep and 8m wide with a slight bank on its external side. It encloses a roughly rectangular island, c.90m by 70m, which is slightly raised and divided into three west facing terraces. This island contains a number of low earthwork features, especially on the two uppermost terraces, which are interpreted to be the remains of buildings and other features. The lowest terrace is noticeably flat and may have been a garden. The moat ditches on the north and south sides of the island run downhill and would not have contained standing water. Instead these would have been purposefully designed for drainage, the south ditch still acting as a seasonal stream course. The east and west moat ditches follow the contours of the hillside and would have contained standing water. These, especially the uphill eastern ditch which broadens to a still quite boggy c.15m wide area, are considered to have formed fishponds. Approximately 20m to the east of the main moat there is a c.5m wide ditch that runs north west to south east, parallel to the edge of the eastern fishpond. The area between this second moat ditch and the fishpond also retains a number of low earthworks amongst the trees. All post and wire fencing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 30103

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
'Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series' in Moated Sites of Yorkshire, , Vol. 5, (1973), 119-120

End of official listing