Medieval settlement, lordly residence, post medieval gardens and walls immediately south of Howgrave Hall


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement, lordly residence, post medieval gardens and walls immediately south of Howgrave Hall
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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 banqueting house. 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.

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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.

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