Moated site 50m north west of Red House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020887

Date first listed: 06-Dec-2002


Ordnance survey map of Moated site 50m north west of Red House
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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: Moor Monkton

National Grid Reference: SE 52909 57167


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

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The moated site 50m north west of Red House survives well and significant earthwork and buried remains are preserved. Its value is enhanced by its association with a significant family in the region. Taken as whole the monument offers important scope for the study of medieval domestic life as well as the development of expressions of status amongst the higher strata of society in Yorkshire.


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


The monument includes earthwork and buried remains of a medieval moated site. It is located on raised ground 200m south west of the River Ouse, 50m to the north west of Red House.

The date of construction of this site is currently unknown but it is thought to have been in existence by 1342 when Sir Thomas Ughtred, whose family had held the manor of Moor Monkton and Scagglethorpe since the Norman Conquest, was granted a licence to empark his woods and to crenellate what was called the `Rede House'. This was almost certainly located on the platform of the moated site. The medieval village of Scagglethorpe was located in the fields to the south of Red House. It was common for the more prestigious dwellings of medieval settlements to be located in a prominent position away from the main settlement. The prominent position of the moated site reflects its importance as the habitation of the lords of the manor. The village of Scagglethorpe no longer exists and it was probably abandoned during the 14th to 15th centuries when many villages in the north of England were deserted. The moated site was located in a prominent position overlooking the River Ouse and would certainly have had access to the river for transport and communication. Given the relatively poor state of medieval roads the river would have been a major source of access. In 1523 the estate was sold to the Seymour family and later in 1560 to Sir Francis Slingsby, son-in-law to the Earl of Northumberland. By the beginning of the 17th century the moated site had been abandoned. The reason for this is not fully understood, but it is likely to be because a newer, grander and more fashionable residence was required. In 1607 construction of a new building started, which evolved into the current Red House, chapel and walled garden.

In 1644 the Red House estate was involved in the English Civil War when Sir Henry Slingsby, also known as Sir Harry, led the Royalist defence of York. This ultimately failed when the Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas Fairfax defeated forces loyal to the King at the battle of Marston Moor, some 5km south of Red House. The estate stayed in the Slingsby family until the early 20th century. During this time the moated site remained as an earthwork feature within the grounds of the house.

In the 19th century the Red House was extensively rebuilt and modernised with the main aspect facing south and the stables and service buildings located to the rear, northern, side of the house. Prior to this the house had a more formal facade overlooking the river. A sketch by Samuel Buck from the 1720s shows the house with impressive gables and windows as seen from north of the river. From the 17th to 19th centuries the moated site may have been regarded as a garden feature lying to the front of the house. Other than the infilling of the southern moat ditch to allow access there is no evidence of any other works which incorporated it into a wider designed garden landscape. It may be that the change in the orientation of the house so that it faced south rather than north was to take account of improved vehicular access along and from the York to Harrogate road, 3km to the south.

The first edition Ordnance Survey map (1852) shows the house within the setting of a 19th century designed landscape. A number of the garden features shown on the map still survive including ornamental ponds forming the southern end of the garden, a pair of gate pillars and a raised walkway along the eastern side of the walled garden. The original date of construction of these garden features is not yet known. The form of the garden defined by the ornamental ponds and the raised walkway may indicate a 17th century origin. If this is the case these garden remains are of national interest and importance in their own right. In the fields to the south of this there was a wooded deer park through which the main approach to the house passed before crossing over the ornamental ponds and through the pillars to the house. No remains of any deer park features are known to survive.

The moated site survives as a rectangular shaped platform, orientated south east to north west enclosed on all but the south western side by a ditch. The ditch is steep sided with a flat bottom measuring up to 4m wide and is up to 2.5m deep. The maximum width at the top of the ditch is at the south eastern end where it is 20m wide. On the south western side there is a slight hollow visible which indicates the line of the now in-filled ditch. The central platform measures 50m by 28m. Whilst there are no traces of structures surviving as earthworks, evidence from other similar sites in the region demonstrates that significant remains will survive below ground. There is no trace of a causeway across the ditch along any of the sides so access would have been via a bridge. It is currently unclear where this was located as it is also unclear how water was fed into the moat ditch.

On the north west and northern sides of the ditch there is a raised outer bank 10m wide and 0.75m high and on the north western side there is a slight outer ditch beyond the bank which measures 2m wide. A number of small-scale excavations were carried out on the platform in the 1960s and 1970s, which uncovered 15th and 16th century pottery.

The horse jumps are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 24/08/2011


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 35466

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Samuel Bucks Yorkshire Sketchbook, (1979), 236
Red House School, , The Red House, (1999)
'Yorkshire Philosophical Society Annual Report' in Archaeology in York, (1968), 21
'Yorkshire Philosophical Society Annual Report' in Archaeology in York, (1969), 19
Everson, P, 'Garden Archaeology. CBA Research Report 78' in Field survey and garden earthworks, , Vol. No. 78, (1991), 6-20
Le Patourel, , 'Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series' in The Moated Sites of Yorkshire, , Vol. No.5, (1973), 126

End of official listing