Parkshaw moated site, 170m north west of Wood Farm


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


Ordnance survey map of Parkshaw moated site, 170m north west of Wood Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Selby (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 58330 18225

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.

Parkshaw moated site is very well preserved with evidence of surviving buried features on the island. The moat ditches will retain archaeological remains such as evidence of bridges together with organic remains. The monument is unusual in that it appears that the moat was unfinished.


The monument includes the earthworks of a moated island with two further moat ditches to the west, situated within the low lying land of the Humber Head Levels, an area only a few metres above sea level. During the medieval period, before the extensive drainage works of the 18th and 19th centuries, the land would have been much more marshy. In this area moats were primarily dug to aid drainage, with the excavated material used to raise the ground surface of the enclosed islands to provide drier areas for buildings and small horticultural plots. The low lying land between Doncaster and the River Aire was held by the Newmarch family from 1183 and research conducted by the Wood Hall Moated Manor Project suggests that the area was systematically exploited by this family throughout the 13th century, with the construction of a series of moated sites. It is thought that the site is related to another moated site at Manor Farm, 600m to the south west. The main axis of the moated island lies approximately north-south and is about 50m by 20m, surrounded by a moat ditch up to 1.6m deep. The northern half of the island rises up to 1.3m above the surrounding ground surface (thus nearly 3m from the bottom of the ditch), with the southern part of the island being lower, but still 0.4m higher than the ground surface beyond the moat to the east. There is no evidence of any external banking to the moat ditch and all of the upcast from the ditch appears to have been placed on the island. Some low earthworks can be identified on the island which imply the survival of buried features. To the west of the island there are uncompleted moat ditches that are considered to have been intended as the boundaries of up to two further islands. The southern arm of the completed moat extends about 20m further westwards beyond the western side of the island and then turns northwards for about 35m (slightly diverging from the western side of the island). The area thus partly enclosed nearly forms a second island. It is slightly higher than the surrounding ground surface with a definite bank along its southern side. Its north side is delineated by a separate east-west moat ditch which starts from about 5m west of the ditch around the island and runs west for about 60m, 5m north of the northern end of the westernmost north south ditch. This 60m long ditch has a definite northward pointing corner at its western end suggesting that it may have been intended as the southern side of a third island. Upcast on both sides of this ditch forms earthworks about 5m wide and standing up to 0.3m above the surrounding ground surface.

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:


Typescript report to SMR, Tomson, Simon , Parkshaw Wood Moat, (1995)


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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