Reasons for Designation
Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
The Yorkshire Wolds local region is a soft, rolling, chalk landscape with deep
valleys. Dispersed farmsteads, usually impressive creations of the late 18th
and 19th centuries, are present in small numbers. The earlier pattern of
medieval nucleated settlements - villages and hamlets - still dominates the
archaeological landscape as either deserted settlement sites or sites still
occupied by rural communities.
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 moated islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic or seigniorial residences with the
provision of a moat primarily as a status symbol rather than as a means of
defence. The peak period of moat building was between about 1250 and 1350 and
by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern England. However
moated sites were built throughout the medieval period and are widely
scattered throughout England, demonstrating a wide diversity of forms and
sizes. They are 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
Harpham is a good example of a medieval nucleated settlement. The survival of
medieval earthworks and buried deposits of the manor house and associated
features, together with the earthworks of much lower status crofts and tofts
will provide information about the medieval life and economy of the village.
The fact that these earthworks lie at the core of the village, adjacent to the
medieval church, is of additional interest because such locations typically
contain the earliest remains of a settlement.
The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the medieval manor
house of the St Quintin family together with an area of medieval settlement
remains. The monument lies at the heart of Harpham village adjacent and to the
west of St John's Church.
Reputed to be the birthplace of St John of Beverley in 640 AD, Harpham was
recorded as Arpen in the Domesday Book. Before the Norman Conquest the
village was in the hands of three landowners, two holding it as part of larger
manors. The principal landholding was the manor of Burton Agnes which was held
by Earl Morcar but which then passed to William the Conqueror after Morcar
rebelled in 1071. In 1199 Harpham was separated from Burton Agnes and passed
from the Stutvilles to the St Quintin family via marriage. Harpham then became
the principal seat of a branch of the St Quintin family until they moved to
Scampston Hall some time in the 17th century, perhaps around the time of the
creation of the St Quintin baronetcy in 1642. The village of Harpham appears
to have been relatively prosperous and was valued at 60 shillings for the 1334
lay subsidy compared to 67 shillings for Burton Agnes and the average of 46
shillings for the 60 settlements of the wapentake (local administrative area).
In 1377 there were 153 poll tax payers recorded. Documentary references
concerning the manor house at Harpham include a licence to crenellate the
belfry of its chapel in 1374, but the house was not assessed for the hearth
tax of the 1670s so it is believed that it was demolished by this time. Other
references to the settlement includes some early enclosure of Harpham's
medieval field system in 1633-4, 1714 and 1724. The remaining land was
enclosed in 1776, which is when the existing pattern of farm houses within
the village is believed to have been created.
The monument lies at the heart of the village and includes a series of
levelled areas marking the position of early buildings set within strips of
land defined by banks. Behind these, adjacent to the parish church, is a
larger enclosure which is partly defined by a moat and partly by a broad bank.
This enclosure contained the medieval hall of the St Quintins' together with a
number of additional manorial buildings and features.
The field to the north of the church is divided by banks and breaks of slope
into four north-south orientated strips ranging between 20m and 30m wide, each
with at least one levelled building platform at their northern end. These are
crofts and tofts, with the levelled areas, the tofts, representing the
locations of houses and associated outbuildings set within the gardens or
yards (known as crofts). Each of the middle pair of crofts have their building
platforms separated from the road by a sunken area which are interpreted as
fold yards for keeping stock in at night. The western of this pair has its
strip further subdivided with two parallel banks extending south from its
building platform. The south end of the easternmost of the four crofts has a
larger sunken area about 40m by 30m with a small building platform immediately
to the east. At the west end of the field to the west, north of Hall Garth
Farm, there is a series of four to five smaller crofts, both narrower and
shorter than those north of the church. These are clearly defined by banks
standing up to 0.4m high and also front onto the main street to the north. To
the east there is a large depression over 25m across and up to 1.5m deep which
is interpreted as the silted remains of a village pond. Between this and an
embanked hedge which runs south from opposite the St Quintin's Arms there is a
broadening trackway that runs from the main street southwards to the manorial
enclosure. Defining the west side of this trackway there is a broad
flat-topped bank up to 6m wide and 0.5m high which turns a right angle to run
towards and disappear at Hall Garth Farm. The manorial enclosure is partly
defined on the north side by this bank and to the west and south by a moat
ditch up to 20m across and 1m deep which is flanked on either side by broad
banks. The eastern side of the enclosure is obscured by the later Manor Farm
and the north eastern corner is occupied by the St John's Church. There is
evidence that the enclosure was enlarged at some point in history. The
southern moat ditch can be divided into two parts: the western section is
broad and regular in profile with flanking banks. At its east end it is joined
at right angles by a 50m long moat ditch of a similar form running northwards.
From this junction, a more irregular moat ditch continues eastwards on a
slightly different line implying that it is a later addition. At the north end
of the 50m long moat ditch, following a slightly different line, there is a
bank with an external ditch which runs a further 40m north before turning west
to mark the south western quarter of the manorial enclosure. This includes a
north-south orientated, 40m by 15m depression 1.5m deep which is interpreted
as a fishpond and is connected to the moat to the south by a shallow channel.
To the east of this, adjacent to the north end of the 50m long moat, there is
a 20m by 10m raised building platform with an irregular depression immediately
to its north. There are at least four further building platforms, some with
stone footings appearing through the grass, in the north western quarter of
the manorial enclosure. Around them there are broad gentle depressions and
hollows that extend from the trackway that links the enclosure with the
village's main street. These building platforms are considered to be the
locations of farm buildings attached to the manor house and the depressions
are the result of the passage of livestock over the centuries when the
site formed the centre of the St Quintins' farming operations. Just to the
east of this area, to the north of the 50m long moat, the general ground level
is higher. This is considered to be the location of the manorial hall and the
core service buildings. This area includes the Drummer's Well into which one
of the St Quintins is reputed to have pushed a drummer boy. To the north of
this there is a broad level area approximately 50m east-west and 20m wide. At
the east end of this, extending northwards and partly overlain by a tennis
court there is a set of depressions which are interpreted as cellars.
Immediately to the east of this, facing the west end of the church, there is a
broad ramp running downhill towards the church which is interrupted by the
post-medieval westward extension to the churchyard. To the south of the
churchyard, north of the eastern extension of the southern moat, there is a
series of broad terraced areas which are interpreted as gardens attached to
the manor house.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are the two
wooden huts adjacent to the tennis court and the hut to the south of the
church, and all modern fences, walls, styles, gates and posts, although the
ground beneath all these features is included.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.