Castle Hill moated site, 350m south of St Peter and St Paul's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017455

Date first listed: 03-Jul-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Jan-1998


Ordnance survey map of Castle Hill moated site, 350m south of St Peter and St Paul's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Selby (District Authority)

Parish: Drax

National Grid Reference: SE 67605 26025


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.

Castle Hills is a very good example of a seigneurial moated manor house site, the location for the house of the local lord of the manor. It is unusual in that it was abandoned as an inhabited island at a relatively early date in the medieval period and then used for other purposes. The monument will retain important archaeological remains across the whole site. The island will retain original building foundations, rubbish pits, remains of medieval gardening activity and other deposits, such as evidence of small scale industrial processes. The moat ditch, which periodically becomes very boggy, will also retain important archaeological deposits, for instance evidence of bridges across the moat and organic remains. Preservation within the infilled section of the moat will be especially good, retaining organic remains which rarely survive in dryer environments.


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


The monument includes a medieval moated site now occupied by Castle Hill Farm. The site is reputed to be that of Talleville Castle built after 1139 by Philip de Colville. The castle was adulterine (not licenced by the king) and was one of those ordered to be destroyed by Stephen in 1154 under the terms of a treaty with Henry of Anjou. There is a 1278 documentary reference to a garden on the site of the manor, but by 1405 the site was recorded as being worthless due to flooding and in 1421 it was assessed as being worth 3 shillings and four pence in herbage. The monument is typical of a nobleman's moated manor house of the 12th to 13th centuries, with a 55m square island raised above the level of the surrounding fields with material dug from a deep encircling moat ditch. On the outside of the moat ditch there is a substantial encircling bank, up to 15m wide, which would have typically derived from material dredged from the ditch after the initial construction. The entire circuit of the moat ditch survives as an earthwork except in the north eastern part of the monument where it survives as an infilled feature. The moated island is now occupied by a farm house and a number of out houses and other farm buildings, one of which has been converted into domestic accommodation. On the south side of the island there is a slight earthwork depression which is intepreted as a fishpond. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all buildings, concrete and tarmac surfaces, fencing, gate posts, telegraph poles and the cellar under the western half of the farm house, although the ground beneath all these features is included in the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30108

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Le Patourel, H.E J, 'Monograph Series No 5' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, , Vol. 5, (1973), 124

End of official listing