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Hornsea Hermitage

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Hornsea.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of East Riding of Yorkshire.
1974 county of Humberside.
Medieval County of Yorkshire East Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: TA18684734
Latitude 53.90865° Longitude -0.19476°

Hornsea Hermitage has been described as a probable Timber Castle.

There are uncertain remains.


Site of a possible motte. (PastScape ref. King 1983)

Situation: The mound rises from an area of marshy, low-lying ground on the north side of Hornsea Mere.
Preservation: A minor earthwork now under permanent pasture.
Description: The earthwork known variously as the ‘Beacon’ or ‘Hermitage’ comprises a small artificial mound raised c. 1.5m above the surrounding terrain, with traces of an associated earthen causeway on the landward (north) side. Although the feature has been claimed as a motte, post-medieval origins as a hunting stand have also been suggested.
Excavation: Excavations on the summit of the mound in 1961 revealed traces of a building of ‘wattle and daub’ construction with vestiges of plaster. The results are otherwise unknown. (Creighton 1998)

Shown as a steep mound, on northern edge of Hornsea Mere, on 1854 map labled 'Hermitage'. Actually a low mound but part of a larger raised area of lumpy ground with some suggestion of infilled ditches. The site was excavated over 5 days by school children in 1962. The report in a school magazine reports finds of plaster and wooden building 28' x 18' with a hard packed mud floor. How much of the site could be excavated in 5 days? Probably the found building was part of a larger complex.
Although granted to St Marys Abbey York, soon after the Conquest, Hornsea was an important possession for the house and usually had a man of rank for its seneschal. The mere, in particular, was a source of revenue from fish and fowl. Was this motte like mound a form of 'hunting lodge' for the mere, a house of some status for the seneschal and a safe place to store revenue from the mere?
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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