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Seamer Dower House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Semere; Semer

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TA01328341
Latitude 54.23638° Longitude -0.44695°

Seamer Dower House has been described as a probable Tower House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

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


Remains of the medieval manor at Manor Garth, Seamer situated on the edge of the village on a low bluff overlooking low marshy land. The remains consist of a section of upstanding medieval masonry which was originally part of the manor house and further substantial earthwork remains of both the manor house and associated manorial complex which dates to the early 14th century. The upstanding ruins, which date to the 15th century, comprise a section of masonry wall 12m long and up to 4m wide with an arched doorway through the south west end. It is built of coursed limestone rubble, with some ashlar facing and some traces of architectural detail. Surrounding the ruins are substantial grass covered earthworks representing the buried remains of the manor house complex. The earthworks form terraces and banks, some of which are up to 1.5m high. Stonework from the manor is exposed at a number of places on the earthworks. A track crosses through the area of the scheduling north of the site of the manor house and at its east end is carried by a raised causeway 8m wide and 1m high. North of the track is a wide terrace and further earthworks which represent the remains of the wider manorial complex. The area to the south west of the monument is currently boggy land but in the medieval period was a more substantial lake or mere from which Seamer takes its name. The manor complex was thus situated on higher land overlooking the lake and as such occupied a prestigious position. A manor existed at Seamer before the Conquest and was granted to the Percy family by William I. The Percys were known to have had a house at Seamer in 1304. It seems to have been used as a dower house; a house provided for a widow, often on the estate of the deceased husband. In 1536 Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland made over the manor to the crown and by 1547 it was called a castle. The manor was granted to Sir Henry Gate in 1555, passed to his son in 1589 and passed through several lessees and owners. It is not known when the manor house was abandoned and demolished. The upstanding ruins are Listed Grade II. (Scheduling Report)

Manor House, ruinated. C15 and earlier. Coursed limestone rubble; dressed limestone. Arched doorway of two orders with 4-centred head to left of surviving wall. Shaped first floor band. Traces of extensive foundations around surviving wall. The manor was in the hands of the Percy family until 1555 when it passed to Sir Henry Gate. (Listed Building Report)

Remains of manor house surrounded by an extensive area of earthworks. A ruined fragment of wall containing a C15 doorway is the only extant part. Seat of the Percy Family and first mentioned in 1304. The house seems to have served as a dower house and was referred to as a castle in 1547. (North Yorkshire HER)

The actual form of the building is unclear but was a baronial status house apparently at least once called a castle. The needs of a widow of high status would probably be best suited by some form of integral tower house.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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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 09:21:01

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