Markenfield Hall moated medieval fortified house with associated service buildings and park pale


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Markenfield Hall moated medieval fortified house with associated service buildings and park pale
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Harrogate (District Authority)
North Yorkshire
Harrogate (District Authority)
Markingfield Hall
North Yorkshire
Harrogate (District Authority)
Markington with Wallerthwaite
National Grid Reference:
SE 29303 67052

Reasons for Designation

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers, gunports and crenellated parapets. Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables, brew houses, granaries and barns were located. Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

A park pale was the boundary around an area of land often set aside and equiped for the management and hunting of deer and other animals although farming also took place. They were generally located around or adjacent to a manor house, castle or palace. Parks could contain a number of features, including hunting lodges, a park keepers house, rabbit warrens, and enclosures for game. They were usually surrounded by a park pale, a fenced, hedged or walled boundary often on a massive bank with an internal ditch. The peak period for the laying out of parks, between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility. Parks were established in virtually every county in England and were a long lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of medieval nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern landscape. Where a park pale survives well, and is well documented or associated with other significant remains they are normally identified as nationally important. The medieval fortified house complex at Markenfield Hall survives well. The full extent of the outer court is known and earthwork remains of its enclosing wall and buildings are preserved. The associated park pale also survives well and is unusually complete. Taken together the remains demonstrate a rare survival, offering important scope for understanding the nature and functions of a medieval complex and its impact on the wider economy and landscape.


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Markenfield Hall medieval fortified house and the surviving remains of the park pale which enclosed the immediate estate of Markenfield. Markenfield first appears in records in the Domesday Survey in the late 11th century. The core of the present hall was built by John de Markenfield in 1300 and a licence to crenellate was granted in 1310. The hall remained in the Markenfield family until the Rebellion of the North in 1569. Following the suppression of the uprising, Thomas Markenfield fled abroad and the house was abandoned. After some years the estate passed into the hands of the Egertons, Earls of Bridgwater and in due course to the Grantley family. The core of the complex includes a water filled, stone revetted moat 8m wide with external dimensions of 80m north to south by 70m east to west. The central platform is occupied by four ranges of buildings which extend around all four sides of the platform. The principal northern range includes the main hall which stands at the eastern corner with service buildings to its west. The hall is an `L' shaped building dating to the 1300s with late 16th century additions and alterations. The open hall occupies the first floor of the north wing and the chapel is located in the east wing. Attached to the west end of the north wing is a lower two storey range which was the great kitchen built in the early 15th century. The eastern range includes further service buildings attached to the southern end of the east wing of the hall. The southern range is dominated by a 16th century gatehouse with flanking walls linking it to the western and eastern ranges. The gatehouse is a later replacement of an earlier structure. The western range includes two storey structures built as stores and service buildings. These were converted in the 17th century for use as farm buildings. Although altered over the years, the buildings on the moated platform are medieval in origin and have remained in use for most of their life. They are Listed Grade I and are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included, as remains of further structures within the courtyard will also survive below ground. In the field to the east of the moat a natural slope has been modified to create a wide level area which is interpreted as the location of formal gardens, lying as it does next to the main residential wing of the medieval hall. North of this levelled area are a set of large earthen banks and to the south east is a further bank. The exact nature and function of these banks is not yet fully understood. To the west of the moat there is a further substantial earth bank 5m wide extending parallel to the moat. Further slight earthworks of buildings and walls survive in the field to the west although their exact function is, at present, unclear. To the south of the current farm buildings, which lie to the immediate south of the moat, are the substantial earthwork remains of the service buildings for the medieval complex. These buildings lay within an outer court and include well defined remains of at least four buildings laying either side of a later field wall. The remains survive up to 0.5m high and include a building platform 10m by 5m surrounded by a shallow gulley some 1.5m wide. To the east of these remains are two substantial earthen banks 5m apart and up to 0.5m high which extend east for 70m then turn to extend south for 100m, and which are interpreted as the sides of a track way. The curtain wall which surrounded the outer court survives as a prominent bank along the western side of a track extending south west from the farm buildings. To the west of this wall, outside the outer court, are remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. The southern and eastern sides of the outer court are defined by the park pale but the location of the boundary on the north side is currently unknown. The park pale originally extended for 2.8km around Markenfield Hall and a continuous length of 2.4km still survives as a stone wall. Only the section of the eastern side nearest to the hall is no longer extant although its location is suggested by a trackway that continues the alignment of the park pale. This section is not included in the scheduling. The park pale originally consisted of a stone wall built in places on an earthwork bank up to 5m wide. The surviving wall is semi-ruinous for much of its length but stands in places up to 2m high. Although medieval in origin it has been rebuilt and maintained over the years and it is unclear how much of the present above ground fabric is medieval. For this reason only the foundation course and the below ground remains are included. On the eastern, northern and north western sides there was an internal ditch up to 3m wide and probably an external ditch. On the western side the pale extended along a slope so that there was no need for an internal ditch on the down slope. However an external ditch lay on the up slope side and this still survives as an earthwork. For much of the length of the pale agricultural activity has led to the infilling of the ditches. They will survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling. The protected area therefore includes a zone of 4m along each side of the wall. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are Markenfield Hall and all structures on the moated platform, the farm buildings, Markenfield Hall Cottages, all fences, gates, the surfaces of drives, hard standing, the farm yards, the field wall extending south from the cattle grid, the cattle grid, the electricity poles and supports, the wooden footbridge and the stone park wall to ground level; although the ground beneath all these features is included. Also excluded is the stone wall, although its foundation courses and the ground beneath it are 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:
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Books and journals
Hebden, W, The Story of Markenfield, (1971)
Title: Ordnance Survey Map Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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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