Site of medieval chapel and section of Fountains Park park pale, 170m south west of How Hill Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020119

Date first listed: 07-Aug-2001


Ordnance survey map of Site of medieval chapel and section of Fountains Park park pale, 170m south west of How Hill Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Harrogate (District Authority)

Parish: Markington with Wallerthwaite

National Grid Reference: SE 27530 67064


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

Reasons for Designation

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house, castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of cover and grazing for deer. Parks were usually surrounded by a park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks, between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility. Although primarily the preserve of the nobility deer parks were also laid out by the wealthier of the monastic houses. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks 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 deer park survives well and is well-documented or associated with other significant remains, its principal features are normally identified as nationally important. Ridge and furrow is the remains of pre-modern agricultural methods. Most of the surviving ridge and furrow in England dates from the medieval period and is associated with the medieval open field system. However, agricultural methods resulting in ridge and furrow lasted through to the 19th century. The remains of ridge and furrow can illustrate the farming practices of the time and offer scope for understanding the use of the wider landscape. Although no longer standing, the chapel remains offer important scope for understanding the function and development of the building and its role in the wider monastic landscape. The section of park pale survives well and significant evidence of its construction will be preserved. The tower built on the hill is part of the important post-medieval Studley Royal landscape and makes a significant contribution to its understanding. The monument preserves important remains of a variety of periods which, taken together, assist in the understanding of the wider landscape.


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


The monument includes the site of a medieval chapel of Fountains Abbey and a section of the monastic deer park boundary known as a park pale. The monument occupies the prominent natural hill known as How Hill. The whole of the western flank and part of the northern and eastern flanks are included in the protected area. The top of the hill is dominated by an 18th century tower, which was constructed as part of the designed landscape of Studley Royal, 1.7km to the north west. How Hill was part of a larger tract of land granted to Fountains Abbey by Robert de Sartis in 1134. This was the first endowment given to the Abbey after its foundation and enabled the Abbey to become a viable concern. The first documentary reference to a chapel on How Hill is in 1346 when a chapel dedicated to St Michael de Mont is recorded. The chapel is known to have been repaired during the time of Abbot Huby between 1494 and 1526. It is thought to have been for the use of workers on the nearby monastic granges of Haddockstanes, Morker and possibly from the adjacent deer park. There is also a reference, supported by the dedication, that the chapel may have been a pilgrimage centre. The chapel fell into disuse at the dissolution of Fountains Abbey in 1539 when the chapel and surrounding lands passed into the Weeks family of Sawley. In 1716 How Hill and the chapel were bequeathed to John Aislabie of Studley Royal. The chapel was partly robbed of stone in 1719 when a tower was built on the hill and it appears to have been an extant ruin in the 19th century. Although there are now no surface remains of the chapel, there is a 19th century reference to ruins standing next to the tower. The tower is built on the eastern edge of the hill, on partly made up ground, and it is suggested that this location was chosen to avoid the standing ruins of the chapel lying to the west. The level top of the hill where the chapel site is thought to be measures approximately 30m square. Excavations in the 19th century uncovered a number of human burials on How Hill assumed to be associated with the chapel. Further possible burials were identified by geophysical survey to the south of the tower. The tower is a square two storey building with a stone pyramid shaped roof. The four faces each have a round-headed window with simple `Y'-shaped stone tracery. The building reused stone from the former chapel to the west, in particular there is a decorative frieze with the Latin inscription `Sol Deo Honor MH et Gloria' around the south side of the tower, the `MH' standing for Marmaduke Huby, Abbot of Fountains Abbey. The tower was part of the wider designed landscape of the Studley Royal estate located 1.7km to the north east. It was built primarily as the focal point at the end of a grand axial vista extending along the canal through the water gardens and was designed to be seen in conjunction with the remains of the adjacent chapel. As such the whole building was constructed with a church like appearance. Soon after its completion an external stair turret was added in order to increase the usable space inside as the tower became more of a functional building and there is evidence of its occasional use for gaming. In the 19th century a series of domestic buildings were added to the east side of the tower. These were partly cut into the hillside so that the tower and chapel ruins were still a visible landmark and was thus still an important detached element of the wider designed landscape. The tower was occupied until the mid-20th century. Both it and the adjacent buildings are Listed Grade II*. On the western and northern flanks of the hill there are a series of earthwork features associated with the monastic and post-monastic use of the site. On the western flank there is a substantial earth and stone bank extending north to south for 150m. This measures up to 7m wide and 1.75m high. It forms a boundary between the area surrounding the chapel and the arable agriculture to the west and may have originally defined the curtilage of the chapel. Between the bank and the top of the hill there are a series of terraces and platforms, interpreted as the site of buildings and trackways giving access to the top of the hill. Some of these are thought to be modified natural features. On the northern flank of the hill there are further trackways, a large platform and quarry scoops. Immediately to the west of the boundary bank there is an area of ridge and furrow extending east to west. A further area of ridge and furrow lies to the north west, extending parallel to the deer park boundary. Both these areas are currently undated but are included in the monument as they represent agricultural exploitation of the area by the monastic community or in the immediate post-medieval period and will preserve information about the relationship between other features in the monument. The section of monastic deer park boundary lies along the western side of the monument. It is part of the eastern boundary of Fountains Park. The park was established as a hunting park by the Abbots of Fountains Abbey. The northern part of the park was part of the original de Sartis grant of 1134 and the park was completed by 1458. It extended over some 212 acres and is known from documentary sources to have included 91 acres of woodland, the 16 acre great pond, areas of mixed agriculture as well as areas of the chase. Whilst functioning primarily as a deer park the area would also have served to supply the abbey with a constant and sustainable supply of food and wood throughout the year. After the dissolution of Fountains Abbey the park was bought by the Gresham family, who maintained it as a hunting estate. The surviving section of the boundary within the monument extends for a distance of 120m and includes an earth and stone bank up to 4m wide and 1m high. There are stone footings for the original medieval wall surviving along the length and in places the wall stands two courses high. The park pale originally continued to the north and south but has been reduced by agricultural activity and no longer survives as an earthwork. Further sections of the pale survive elsewhere and are the subject of separate schedulings. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are How Hill tower and the adjacent buildings, all tree guards, fence posts and the metalled surface of the farm track, 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: 31368

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bettey, JH, Estates and the English Countryside, (1993)
Menuge, A, How Hill Tower Historic Building Report, (1994)
Menuge, A, How Hill Tower Historic Building Report, (1994)
Moorhouse, S, (1998)
National Trust Archaeologist, Newman, M,
National Trust Archaeologist, Newman, M, (2000)
National Trust Archaeologist, Newmans, M, (2000)
Tagel and Williamson , Parks and Gardens, (1993)

End of official listing