Medieval settlement, lordly residence, post medieval gardens and walls immediately south of Howgrave Hall
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Hambleton (District Authority)
- North Yorkshire
- Hambleton (District Authority)
- Sutton with Howgrave
- National Grid Reference:
- SE 31392 79096
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.
This monument lies in the Humber-Tees sub-Province of the Central Province
which comprises a great fertile lowland, with many local variations caused by
slight differences in terrain, but generally dominated by market towns,
villages and hamlets. The dispersed farmsteads between these are mainly of
post-medieval date, created by movement out of the villages and onto newly
consolidated holdings following enclosure. Some, however, are more ancient
dispersals, the result of manors, granges and other farmsteads being moved out
of villages in the Middle Ages; others have become isolated by the process of
village depopulation, which has had a substantial impact in the sub-Province.
The Vale of York local region is a rich agricultural lowland dominated by a
dense pattern of villages and hamlets founded in the Middle Ages, about one in
four of which have since been deserted. It contains low and very low densities
of dispersed settlements, some of which are isolated medieval moated manor
houses. The landscape was formerly dominated by communal townfields which were
mainly enclosed in the 18th century.
Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included the parish church within their boundaries. Most villages also included one or more high status residences which may belong to the lord of the manor. Such lordly residences may survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. They served as prestigious residences which, in general, included a great hall, private chambers, kitchens, service rooms and lodgings all arranged around courtyards. They were important foci of medieval rural life and local agricultural and village life was normally closely regulated by the lord of the manor. In the northern province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of rural life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman conquest. Post-medieval gardens are garden arrangements dating between the early 16th and 18th centuries, their most characteristic feature being a core of regular or geometric layout, typically located and orientated in relation to the major residences of which they formed the settings. Garden designs are numerous and varied and include a number of recognisable components such as flat-topped banks or terraces, walkways, waterways, ponds and multi-walled enclosures. Other features fashionable across the period include: mounds used as vantage points for views and vistas, walled closes of stone or brick, fountains, statuary and garden buildings such as summerhouses and pavilions. One popular garden building was the banqueting house. This was a building where meals could be taken away from the more formal dining arrangemnts found in the main house. It often involved informal leisure affecting a romantic, rustic attitude. The banqueting house would be two storey to command views over the garden and house whilst below could be kitchens where food was prepared. In addition to formal geometric planting arrangements some areas were set aside as romantic wildernesses. Formal gardens were created throughout the period by as a routine accompaniment of the country seats of the landed elite. Formal gardens have a particular imporance reflecting the social expectations and aspirations of the period. They represent a significant and illuminating aspect of the architectural and artistic tastes of the time. Surviving evidence can include standing structures, earthworks and buried remains which can include environmental evidence of plant species grown. The medieval settlement remains and site of the lordly residence at Howgrave are well-preserved and will retain significant archaeological remains. The early date of abandonment suggested for the village is unusual. The banqueting house and associated gardens are also noteworthy features, rarely found in this area. Together the various remains present the evolving story of settlement and related activity over several centuries.
The monument includes remains of the early medieval settlement and medieval
lordly residence of Howgrave and later formal gardens of Howgrave Hall located
in low lying undulating land in the Vale of Mowbray. The remains include
earthworks and buried remains and occupy the fields west and south of the
current Howgrave Hall. The monument also includes the brick and stone wall
separating the two northern fields and the ground beneath the former
The medieval village of Howgrave is mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086
when it is recorded that some of the land in the township was held by the
Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Durham. The village was in the area
devastated by the Harrying of the North when resistance to the Norman conquest
was brutally suppressed. After this villages were often replaced by a regular
planned pattern of settlement. There is no evidence of such a planned
settlement at Howgrave so it is possible that the village was spared the
destruction of the late 11th century or was not rebuilt. The site of the
lordly residence lies to the south west of the present Howgrave Hall. It is
thought that this building was demolished by the mid-17th century.
The parish boundary skirts around the edge of the medieval village and site
of the lordly residence and does not encompass the banqueting house nor the
current hall and village of Sutton Howgrave. As modern parish boundaries often
follow the course of medieval and earlier township boundaries this may
indicate that this was the edge of the medieval settlement and that the
banqueting house, which has been dated to the mid-1600s, is associated with a
new hall located to the east, the surviving remains of which, is the current
building, known as Howgrave HallHall is the surviving remains. It is recorded
that in 1640 there were no inhabitants in the township of Howgrave thus
implying that the medieval hall had ceased to be in use and the focus shifted
to a new location nearby in the adjacent parish.
The remains of the medieval village are located in the western part of the
monument beyond the retaining wall which separates the two most northerly
fields. The village took the form of an irregular arrangement of buildings and
enclosures grouped around a network of lanes and tracks. Such an informal
plan dates to before the Norman Conquest in 1066.
Level terraces identified as building platforms which would have contained
houses or agricultural and industrial structures survive as earthworks up to
10m by 8m in extent and 0.75m high.
Further remains of the village and its associated field system formerly
survived in the field to the west however these have been reduced by
agricultural activity and recent field walking failed to identify any
substantial remains there.
The lordly residence was located in the north of the monument in the field
enclosed by the stone and brick wall. The lordly residence would have included
a hall with domestic chambers and service rooms as well as a series of other
service buildings such as kitchens, stables and barns all enclosed by a
defined enclosure wall. The main hall stood on a prominent wide platform
measuring 30m by 40m clearly visible in the south eastern part of the
modern field. At Howgrave the southern enclosure boundary survives as the
stone and brick wall separating the two fields.
In the east of the monument and south east of the current hall are the
earthwork remains of the formal gardens. They extend over a rectangular area
100m by 120m. Along the south and west sides there is a wide flat-bottomed
ditch 7m wide and 1.5m deep. This may have been a water filled feature. Within
the gardens are a number of straight sided and flat-bottomed rectangular
features. Some of these are connected by regular shaped trenches which may
have been paths connecting different areas of the gardens. The location of the
gardens show that they were designed to be overlooked by a formal residence
situated where the current Howgrave Hall stands. The current Howgrave Hall has
thick walls and large internal timbers showing it was once part of a larger
and more impressive structure. It is not included in the scheduling as it
remains in occupation. In the 17th century a banqueting house was built in the
curtilage of the hall. It is a two storey red brick structure with a slate
roof and ornate Dutch style gables. It was positioned and built so that the
gardens to the south could be viewed from the banqueting hall which was
located on the upper floor. The exact date of the gardens is currently unclear
but they must have been in existence by the 17th century when the banqueting
house was built. It is possible that some of the medieval village remains were
cleared to make way for the gardens. The banqueting house is Listed Grade II.
Along, and just within the northern boundary of the monument there is a 17th
century brick wall with gate piers either side of a blocked entrance way. This
is contemporary with the banqueting house and is the remains of the enclosure
wall for the post-medieval hall. It probably follows the line of the medieval
lordly residence boundary. The wall and gate piers are Listed Grade II.
A number of features are excluded from the monument. These include all gates
and fences, the brick wall and gate piers and the banqueting house, although
the ground beneath these features is included.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England360
Everson, P, 'Garden Archaeology. CBA Research Report 78' in Field survey and garden earthworks, , Vol. No. 78, (1991), 6-20
Woodfield, P, 'Garden Archaeology' in Early Buildings in Gardens in England, , Vol. VOL 78, (1991), 123-138
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