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Thornhill Hall, Dewsbury

In the civil parish of Dewsbury.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Kirklees.
1974 county of West Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE25631889
Latitude 53.66587° Longitude -1.61357°

Thornhill Hall, Dewsbury has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Thornhill Hall moat occupies the north-east corner of Thornhill Rectory Park in the Thornhill area of Dewsbury. In addition to the moat and central island, the monument contains a number of related features. These include a remnant of an earlier open-field system, the site of the formal gardens of the seventeenth century hall and the site of its bowling green. Deposits relating to ancillary and agricultural buildings survive outside this scheduling to the east. These are not at present included in the scheduling as their precise location and extent is uncertain. The moated site itself consists of a trapezoidal island measuring c.70m by 60m at its widest point and surrounded by a partially water-filled ditch varying between 5m and 30m wide and up to c.4m deep. A series of partial excavations were carried out between 1964 and 1972 when the remains of two houses on slightly different alignments were discovered. The earlier was a large thirteenth century timber-framed hall with clay-bonded foundation walls. The later was a stone-built building of H-plan which showed signs of being reconstructed in c.1600 when it was given a paved floor, plaster walls and a chimney. The remains of the fireplace and solar, or private apartment, of the later hall are still standing and are Grade II Listed. A site survey carried out in 1964 revealed a bridge abutment on the north side of the island while, on the south side, the remains of a gatehouse were uncovered indicating that there were two bridging points across the moat. Excavation also revealed a wall round the island along the east side and also most of the south side. This wall was demolished in c.1600 and the gate rebuilt with a porter's lodge on the west side. The bridges would have been timber and their remains will be preserved in the water-logged deposits of the ditch along with other organic and environmental material. The ditch itself dates to c.1450 and is therefore of similar date to the first stone house but later than the thirteenth century timber-framed hall. The moat also post-dates an earlier field-system which may be contemporary with the thirteenth century hall or even earlier. The remains of this can be seen to the south of the moat where traces of ridge and furrow cultivation survive as faint linear earthworks lying at right-angles to the moat and clearly truncated by it. Also to the south are the issues which feed the moat while a drain lies midway along the west side. Immediately to the north is the site of the seventeenth century bowling green noted on Saxton's map of c.1600 while, to the west, lies an area recorded by Saxton as 'New Orchard'. Orchard was a term often used of formal gardens as well as fruit orchards, and three terraces running parallel with and respecting the west flank of the moat have been interpreted as the formal gardens of the later hall. Thornhill was the principal seat of the Savile family from the fourteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, having been acquired by Henry Savile upon his marriage to Elizabeth de Thornhill. It became the main administrative centre of the Savile estate and remained so until 1648 when, either accidentally or as a deliberate ploy to prevent the besieging Parliamentarian army from capturing it, it was burned to the ground, after which the site was abandoned in favour of Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire. (Scheduling Report)
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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