Medieval lordly residence immediately west of Church Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020313

Date first listed: 20-Jul-2001


Ordnance survey map of Medieval lordly residence immediately west of Church Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Old Byland and Scawton


National Grid Reference: SE 54784 83593


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

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 past 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the East Yorkshire sub-Province of the Central Province, an area characterised by marked local terrain variations: from the North York Moors, to the Tabular Hills and Howardian Hills, to the Vale of Pickering and the chalk Wolds, to the Hull Valley and the silt lands of the Humber and Holderness. The sub-Province has the relatively low density of dispersed settlements which marks the Central Province, but this uniformity masks strong settlement contrasts. Some regions were typified by low density dispersed settlement in the Middle Ages, whereas others have achieved a similar pattern through extensive depopulation of medieval villages. The Tabular Hills local region is a limestone plateau on the southern fringe of the North York Moors. Where it dips beneath the younger, softer deposits of the Vale of Pickering, varied soils and assured water supplies have encouraged a distinctive chain of villages and hamlets along the break of slope. Nevertheless nucleations are also found high on the plateau and in the deep valleys between the moors and the limestone.

Most villages included one or more high status residences typically owned by a Lord of the Manor. In the medieval period these prestigious residences generally included a great hall, private chambers, kitchens, stores, and service rooms, frequently housed in a series of separate buildings or ranges, typically around one or more courtyards. Lordly residences were also often the centre of the Lord's home farm and would thus include one or more barns and other structures like granaries and buildings for livestock. They were typically sited next to the parish church or included a chapel which in some places became a parish church at a later date. Sometimes the outer boundary of the complex of buildings making up the lordly residence was defined by a bank or ditch. Those lordly residences defined by a substantial ditch are normally identified as moated sites. Fish ponds, dovecotes and mill sites are also often associated with lordly residences, although often placed beyond the boundary of the main concentration of buildings. Lordly residences may survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. They were important foci of medieval rural life as typically the Lord of the Manor closely regulated local agriculture and village life. Towards the end of the medieval period, this form of lordly residence with its scatter of separate buildings was increasingly replaced by larger, more comfortable houses, often set apart from the core of the village itself. The medieval lordly residence immediately west of Church Farm, was abandoned at a relatively early date and was not replaced by a larger house on the same site. The earthworks are well-preserved and will retain significant information providing insights into the layout and function of an early lordly residence.


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


The monument includes buried and earthwork remains of a medieval lordly residence located immediately west of the buildings of Church Farm and Pond Farm. This is interpreted as the residence of the Lord of the Manor. The Domesday Survey of 1087 recorded that Scawton was divided between two manors; the smaller had passed from Uhtred to Count Robert Mortain, William the Conqueror's half brother, and the larger from Asketill to Robert Malet, Sheriff of Suffolk. Both men rebelled in support of Robert Duke of Normandy and their lands were forfeited to the Crown. After 1106, Henry I granted Scawton along with Old Byland and other lands to Nigel d'Aubigny. His family name subsequently changed to de Mowbray and Scawton became part of the Honour of Mowbray. The manor of Scawton was held from the Mowbrays by the Malebys family and is thought to have formed the principal family residence as, for example, in around 1148 the monks of Old Byland Abbey built a chapel in Scawton for the benefit of Hugh de Malebys and his household. This chapel later developed into the parish church which is still in use today. The manor house in Scawton is specifically mentioned in a document dated 1339, but following the death of the last of the de Malebys in the 1360s, Scawton passed to the Fairfax family whose principal seat was at Gilling. The 1694 survey of the Fairfax estate does not mention the lordly residence at Scawton, although it does refer to a field called Hall Ing, it is thus thought to have been abandoned sometime after the 1360s. Towards the centre of the paddock to the west of Church Farm there are the earthwork remains of a large building with linear banks marking buried wall lines and depressions as the centre of rooms. This is the principal building of the lordly residence with the main part being a hall measuring 9m by 20m which is orientated north east to south west. Extending north west from the northern and western corners of this hall there are a pair of wings 8m by 6m and extending from the north eastern wall there are further wall lines interpreted as a pair of outbuildings both 6m by 5m. Immediately beyond these earthworks there is a sharp break of slope down to a level area to the north east interpreted as a garden area or courtyard. To the north west the ground also drops away down to a level terrace, the outer edge of which is partly marked by a buried wall line. Beyond this, the hill slope continues down a further few metres to the modern field boundary which runs along a sharp break of slope at the edge of Brignal Gill. This gill is very steep sided and over 40m deep at this point. It would thus have formed a very good natural defence on the north western side of the complex. To the south west of the terrace, west of the hall, there is a sunken area around 10m across interpreted as a small yard. South west of this, across the drystone field wall, there are the earthworks of another building orientated on the same line as the hall with wall lines marked by banks up to 0.4m high and 3m wide. This building was about 8m by 25m with 4m wide entrances midway along the two long walls and is interpreted as a barn. Attached to the south west end of the barn there are the earthworks of another outbuilding 11m by 11m and to the north there is another separate building 5m by 5m. Across the whole area of the monument there are other more ephemeral earthworks of additional features. For example, to the south of the hall, south of the public footpath, there is a slightly raised level platform around 8m by 8m which is thought to be the site of another building, but one of timber rather than stone construction. The monument will also retain buried medieval remains such as rubbish pits, post holes and scatters of material which will not necessarily show as upstanding earthworks. The origins of Church Farm and Pond Farm, and their relationships to the earlier lordly residence, are not yet fully understood. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are all modern fences, walls, stiles and gates, water troughs and the platforms that they stand on, and all telegraph poles, however, the ground beneath all of 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: 32664

Legacy System: RSM


Letter, Burton, Janet Dept. History, Lampter, (1999)
Letters, Scott, Haydn , (1999)

End of official listing