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Markenfield Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Markingfield Hall; Merkyngfeld

In the civil parish of Markingfield Hall.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE29466739
Latitude 54.10157° Longitude -1.55096°

Markenfield Hall has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


The medieval fortified house complex at Markenfield Hall survives well. The full extent of the outer court is known and earthwork remains of its enclosing wall and buildings are preserved. The associated park pale also survives well and is unusually complete. Taken together the remains demonstrate a rare survival, offering important scope for understanding the nature and functions of a medieval complex and its impact on the wider economy and landscape. The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Markenfield Hall medieval fortified house and the surviving remains of the park pale which enclosed the immediate estate of Markenfield. Markenfield first appears in records in the Domesday Survey in the late 11th century. The core of the present hall was built by John de Markenfield in 1300 and a licence to crenellate was granted in 1310. The hall remained in the Markenfield family until the Rebellion of the North in 1569. Following the suppression of the uprising, Thomas Markenfield fled abroad and the house was abandoned. After some years the estate passed into the hands of the Egertons, Earls of Bridgwater and in due course to the Grantley family. The core of the complex includes a water filled, stone revetted moat 8m wide with external dimensions of 80m north to south by 70m east to west. The central platform is occupied by four ranges of buildings which extend around all four sides of the platform. The principal northern range includes the main hall which stands at the eastern corner with service buildings to its west. The hall is an 'L' shaped building dating to the 1300s with late 16th century additions and alterations. The open hall occupies the first floor of the north wing and the chapel is located in the east wing. Attached to the west end of the north wing is a lower two storey range which was the great kitchen built in the early 15th century. The eastern range includes further service buildings attached to the southern end of the east wing of the hall. The southern range is dominated by a 16th century gatehouse with flanking walls linking it to the western and eastern ranges. The gatehouse is a later replacement of an earlier structure. The western range includes two storey structures built as stores and service buildings. These were converted in the 17th century for use as farm buildings. Although altered over the years, the buildings on the moated platform are medieval in origin and have remained in use for most of their life. They are Listed Grade I and are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included, as remains of further structures within the courtyard will also survive below ground. In the field to the east of the moat a natural slope has been modified to create a wide level area which is interpreted as the location of formal gardens, lying as it does next to the main residential wing of the medieval hall. North of this levelled area are a set of large earthen banks and to the south east is a further bank. The exact nature and function of these banks is not yet fully understood. To the west of the moat there is a further substantial earth bank 5m wide extending parallel to the moat. Further slight earthworks of buildings and walls survive in the field to the west although their exact function is, at present, unclear. To the south of the current farm buildings, which lie to the immediate south of the moat, are the substantial earthwork remains of the service buildings for the medieval complex. These buildings lay within an outer court and include well defined remains of at least four buildings laying either side of a later field wall. The remains survive up to 0.5m high and include a building platform 10m by 5m surrounded by a shallow gulley some 1.5m wide. To the east of these remains are two substantial earthen banks 5m apart and up to 0.5m high which extend east for 70m then turn to extend south for 100m, and which are interpreted as the sides of a track way. The curtain wall which surrounded the outer court survives as a prominent bank along the western side of a track extending south west from the farm buildings. To the west of this wall, outside the outer court, are remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. The southern and eastern sides of the outer court are defined by the park pale but the location of the boundary on the north side is currently unknown. The park pale originally extended for 2.8km around Markenfield Hall and a continuous length of 2.4km still survives as a stone wall. Only the section of the eastern side nearest to the hall is no longer extant although its location is suggested by a trackway that continues the alignment of the park pale. This section is not included in the scheduling. The park pale originally consisted of a stone wall built in places on an earthwork bank up to 5m wide. The surviving wall is semi-ruinous for much of its length but stands in places up to 2m high. Although medieval in origin it has been rebuilt and maintained over the years and it is unclear how much of the present above ground fabric is medieval. For this reason only the foundation course and the below ground remains are included. On the eastern, northern and north western sides there was an internal ditch up to 3m wide and probably an external ditch. On the western side the pale extended along a slope so that there was no need for an internal ditch on the down slope. However an external ditch lay on the up slope side and this still survives as an earthwork. For much of the length of the pale agricultural activity has led to the infilling of the ditches. They will survive as buried features and are included in the scheduling. The protected area therefore includes a zone of 4m along each side of the wall. (Scheduling Report)

Fortified manor house, with offices and outbuildings. 1310-1323 for John de Markenfield, with late C16 additions and alterations for Sir Thomas Egerton. Further alterations c1780 for Sir Fletcher Norton. first Baron Grantley of Markenfield, and C1850 by J R Walbran for the fourth Lord Grantley. Restoration 1981-4 by J S Miller for seventh Lord Grantley. Ashlar and coursed limestone rubble with ashlar dressings. Stone slate roofs. Quoins. The buildings are ranged round a rectangular courtyard and enclosed by a moat. There are 4 ranges: 1) south range, with 2-storey gatehouse, bridge over moat and flanking walls; 2) low 2-storey west range of outbuildings, probably stables and barns, now stores; 3) 2-storey east range of accommodation and offices and probably the original entrance to the courtyard; and 4) the principal north range composed of the 3-storey L-shaped block at north-east corner of the courtyard, with a 2-storey service block attached to the west end of the north wing. South range - C16 gatehouse: 2 bays. Central 4-centred carriage arch flanked by single-light chamfered windows. First floor - two 2-light chamfered mullion windows. Kneelers with pyramidal finials; raised verges with coping and ball finial. Left and right returns: blocked doorway; 2-light chamfered mullion window with hoodmould, first floor. Bridge: a single arch with band at road level and low gabled parapet. Flanking walls linking gatehouse to east and west ranges: approximately 3.5 metres high with gabled coping of 3 courses of stone. Narrow slit openings, gateway with board door to left in each wall. West range, courtyard side: approximately 9 bays, at southern end. Central barn door flanked by round- arched doorways; double garage doors near left end. Irregular fenestration of chamfered rectangular lights. Rear, overlooking moat: windows as front; remains of corbelled external first-floor chimney at south end (right). East range, courtyard side: approximately 5 bays. Central blocked archway with C20 glazed door and window flanked by fine moulded C15 arched doorways. Single-light chamfered windows throughout. 3 evenly-spaced ridge stacks. Rear, overlooking moat: projecting bay to right has C20 glazed door in Gothic arch. Irregular fenestration of 1-, 2- and 3-light mullioned windows, corbelled stack first-floor left. Main L-shaped range, north wing, courtyard side. The important medieval features of this facade are: the narrow pointed chamfered arch giving access to the service rooms, and at first-floor above it the scar of the gabled roof covering the external staircase which originally lead to a first-floor doorway immediately above; the enlarged corner buttress to left of the ground-floor door enclosing a privy; to right of the blocked first-floor door two 2-light hall windows with trefoil-headed lights and quatrefoils. East wing, courtyard side, has a fine staircase tower with blocked ground-floor door and narrow lights. Bay to right added early C16 with pointed-arch doorway and, in south wall, a 2-light recessed mullion window with moulded reveals to each floor. A moulded first-floor string course to east wing, and north and east wings have string and embattled parapet. North wing, rear (from moat): 3 bays, central pointed-arch entrance with double doors; projecting 2-storey pent- roofed guarderobe bay to left; 4 buttresses to right; central external stack flanked by first-floor hall windows as courtyard side. East wing, rear (from moat): board door in round arch to left; chapel window of 3 trefoil- headed lights with quatrefoils above in the centre, first floor. Pairs of 2-light C16 windows to right on each floor. 5 buttresses along this face of the building, and 2 ornate medieval chimney stacks (restored) behind battlements to right. The lower, 2-storey service block at the west end of the north wing has C20 doorway; one 2-light mullioned window to left and 2 to upper floor; a row of carved heads and shields below eaves level; and an external stack to left with elaborate crenellated top. It was the great kitchen built early C15. Interior: recent restoration has shown that the whole of the ground floor of the main building was vaulted. The chapel retains its piscina with shield bearing the Markenfield Arms. Solar and south chamber have medieval fireplaces. The wide fireplace below the great hall was inserted in the C18 when the cross-beams were positioned on the pavements of the wall-walks of the battlements. The restoration work of 1981-84 (Miller 1985) revealed much new information about the medieval structure. (Listed Building Report)

A recent archaeological survey has established that the Great Hall is older than the other buildings around the Courtyard. It was probably built about 1280 and was free standing. Thirty years later Canon John de Markenfield completed the building, when a licence to crenellate (fortify) it was granted to him by King Edward II in 1310. (Markenfield Hall website, 2008)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1310 Feb 28 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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