Cropton T'Hall Garth

Has been described as a Certain Timber Castle (Motte), and also as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are earthwork remains

NameCropton T'Hall Garth
Alternative Names
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishCropton

Norman motte and bailey castle containing a later medieval manor house complex which is situated immediately to the west of St Gregory's church, at the top of the steep scarp known as Hallgarth Hill. The motte lies in the western corner of the bailey, close to the brow of the hill; it comprises a mound 45m in diameter at the base and rising 6.5m to a flat top which is up to 18m across. At the centre of the mound there is a roughly circular depression 2m deep by 5m across and, although it has been suggested that this is the result of an unrecorded excavation by 19th century antiquarians, this may well be the remains of a collapsed undercroft of the wooden tower which originally stood on the motte. A ditch originally encircled the motte but has been partially infilled by material gradually eroded from the mound and also deliberate levelling in the area of the medieval manor house to the east of the motte. The bailey is roughly triangular, measuring 125m east-west by 105m north-south and occupying the whole of a natural plateau with the steep scarp of the hill on the north-west and south sides. An earthen bank up to 1m high runs along the eastern side and at the edge of the scarp on the north-west side as far as the western side of the motte; in places the bank has been partially altered and revetted by a modern dry stone wall. On the southern side the bank is no longer visible as an earthwork as it was levelled to make way for the later manor house complex. An outer ditch, 8m wide by 1.2m deep, is visible to the north of the bailey and is thought to have continued down the eastern side, although here it has been altered by the construction of a modern Forestry Commission track, a modern causeway at the site entrance and a circular pond

To the west the bailey defences were strengthened by artificially altering the natural scarp of the hill; 12m beyond the edge of the bailey a terrace was constructed to increase the steepness of the slope above and there are slight indications of an outer bank on the outer edge of the terrace. The entrance to the castle is thought to have been located on the eastern side where a slight hollow way leads into the bailey from the modern causeway; this also lines up with a footpath to the north of the churchyard. Building foundations, surviving as turf-covered stone wall footings, low banks and platforms, are visible in the bailey; most belong to a manor house founded in the 13th century, although some structures may originally have been part of the castle. The main building complex, which lies to the east of the motte, comprises a rectangular range 60m long by 18m wide, with adjacent outbuildings and walled enclosures. One such enclosure, measuring 80m east-west by 75m north-south lies to the south-east of the manor house and spans the earlier bailey defences to enclose a triangle of sloping land to the south; this enclosure continued in use after the demise of the manor house and is depicted on the 1848/9 Ordnance Survey map. To the east of this enclosure the land falls sharply towards Church Lane, a deeply eroded hollow way, and a number of old inter-twined trackways rise up this slope, joining to form a single trackway. This trackway dates to the medieval period and once ran along the eastern bailey ditch before continuing north for 650m towards Lady Keld Spring, although it has now been altered by the modern Forestry Commission trackway. A circular pond, which lies to the east of the bailey and north of the modern causeway, is relatively modern and is not depicted on the 1848/9 Ordnance Survey map. Cropton is recorded as a royal manor in Domesday but the castle was probably erected by Robert de Stuteville (nicknamed 'Frontdebos') who received the manor from William Rufus. In the 13th century, the manor passed by marriage to Hugh Wake whose grandson John, Lord Wake, built the manor house between 1290-5. (Scheduling Report)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE754893
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Primary Sources

  • Brown, W., 1892, Yorkshire Inquisitions of the reign of Henry III and Edward I Vol. 1 (Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Association Record Series 12) p. 170 online copy
  • Turton, Robert Bell, 1894, The Honour and Forest of Pickering Vol. 3 (North Yorkshire Record Society) p. 149-52 online copy
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  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online
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