Low Butterby Manor House, Croxdale

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry footings remains

NameLow Butterby Manor House, Croxdale
Alternative NamesBeautrove
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDurham
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishCroxdale And Hett

The moated site at Low Butterby Farm is well preserved and is one of only a small number of moated sites identified in Durham. The monument includes a moated site of medieval date, the site of the manor house of Butterby or Beautrove which passed to the Lumley family in AD 1240. The site has a flat platform or island, rectangular in shape measuring 65m north west to south east by 55m north east to south west. It is surrounded by a broad flat ditch, now dry, 8m wide and on average 3m deep. This is very well preserved on the north, east and west sides but has been partially infilled on the southern side. The edges of the ditch are revetted with a brick and stone wall with one course clearly projecting at the bottom. Access to the island was provided at the east side by a bridge across the ditch, which has now been replaced by a causeway. A late 16th or early 17th century gatehouse of two storeys was constructed at the eastern end of the bridge; this has subsequently been demolished but its foundations are still visible in the roadway approaching the moat. The moated site was originally the home of Roger d'Audre who was granted licence to build a chapel or chantry in his oratory at Beautrove in the 12th century. Low Butterby Farmhouse and the adjoining farm are Listed Grade II-star, as are the moat walls, two bridges across the moat and the garden wall and gate piers. The listed walls revetting the moat are included. (Scheduling Report)

Farmhouse, now 2 dwellings, and linked barn, the latter now partly domestic. Mainly C17 and early C18 but incorporating some late medieval masonry; C19 alterations. Squared, coursed rubble; purple slate roofs and rebuilt brick chimney stacks. Linked U-plan group in 2 parts around entrance yard: L-plan farmhouse and rear wing; barn at right-angles on wing. Group bounded on 2 sides by a walled moat (see Item 6/64). Farmhouse entered from yard

2-storey, 3-bay block facing garden has C19 window openings and steeply-pitched roof with end stacks. Battered abutment with stone-flagged top, rising from moat, and 2 blocked attic windows, flanking old-brick flue, on right return. 2-storey, 4-bay wing, overlooking moat at right-angles on rear of front block, with lower 2-storey, 2-bay section at right. 4-bay section has identical abutment, blocked cross windows, late C20 casements in C18 first-floor openings and steeply-pitched roof with right endandridge stacks. Lower section has fragmentary chamfered plinth, off-centre straight joint, altered openings and roof hippped at right. Facing yard: taller section of wing has chamfered Tudor-arched doorway behind C20 porch; similar doorway in lean-to addition on lower section of wing. 2-storey, 5-bay barn overlooking moat: Squared quoins, chamfered plinth and probably medieval masonry in lower courses. First-floor partly rebuilt and roof replaced in C19. Moat bridge (Item 6/64) leads to central C17 Tudor- arched doorway with faceted keystone. Flanking blocked breathers, 2 altered openings in domestic section at left; stone gutter spout and C19 opening to right; 2 altered openings above. Roof has coped right gable and is hipped at left. Identical Tudor-arched doorway and chamfered loading-door surround on right return. Interior of 4-bay section of wing: Closed-string, L-plan staircase: balusters removed from lower flight; upper flight rises between early C18 panelled walls. On landing: 2-panel door at right into altered room; 8-panel door in architrave at left into bedroom with early C18 panelling, dado rail, window shutters, ceiling cornice and 2 jib doors flanking fireplace. C20 additions, in textured concrete blocks, on wing facing yard are not of interest. Low Butterby was in important medieval manor occupied by the Lumley and Chaytor families. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Strong House. Moated and walled. The Elizabethan gatehouse, mentioned as the main survival by King, was demolished in 1966, despite being a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Butterby, formerly Beautrove, is first noticed when Roger d'Audre was granted a licence to have a chapel or chantry within his oratory, which he had built within his manor of Beautrove. In c.1240, the manor passed to the Lumleys, and it was probably the occasional residence of this family until 1566 when it passed to the Chaytors.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNZ275393
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Corfe, Tom (ed), 1992, 'The Visible Middle Ages' in An Historical Atlas of County Durham p. 28-9
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  • Pevsner, Nikolaus; revised by Elizabeth Williamson, 1983, Buildings of England: Durham (Harmondsworth) p. 64, 355-6
  • Gould, Chalkley, 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Durham Vol. 1 (London) p. 357 online copy
  • Boyle, J.R., 1892, Comprehensive Guide to the County of Durham: its Castles, Churches, and Manor-Houses (London) p. 466
  • Surtees, R., 1816 (1972 Reprint), The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 4 Part 2 p. 109
  • Hutchinson, Wm, 1785-94, The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham Vol. 2 p. 416 online copy