Huttons Colswain at Huttons Ambo

Has been described as a Rejected Timber Castle (Ringwork), and also as a Rejected Fortified Manor House

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameHuttons Colswain at Huttons Ambo
Alternative NamesLow Hutton
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishHuttons Ambo

Medieval moated site visible as a regularly shaped enclosure surrounded by a bank and ditch. It is situated on a bluff overlooking the River Derwent. The site is nearly rectangular in shape with a substantial bank and external ditch on the north, south and west sides with the east side formed by the top of the slope down to the river. The enclosure measures 55m east to west and 60m north to south with the banks standing up to 1.5m above the interior. The ditches to the north and west are up to 1.5m deep. The ditch to the south has been incorporated into a later deep hollow way. The interior of the enclosure is level with some evidence of earthworks in the south west corner. There is an entrance through the bank in the north side of the enclosure. The site was partly excavated in 1956 and the remains of a 13th century medieval timber hall were uncovered. Further earthworks lie to the west of the monument. Their origin and function are not fully understood and they are therefore not included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

Medieval moat that contained a medieval hall with two phases of occupation, excavated in 1953-1954. The first structure was a C12 timber hall set within a roughly triangular enclosure. This was later replaced by a larger, stone-built hall within a larger enclosure. Pottery of mid C12 to late C13 date was also found, along with Neolithic and Roman artifacts. (PastScape)

Excavation in 1953/4 by Thompson for the MOW (because of a proposal to level the site) established that there were two phases of mediaeval occupation:-

I) A 12th century timber-built hall within a roughly triangular enclosure

The small bank and ditch showed no traces of defences and it may have been merely to contain stock.

II) A larger stone-built hall within a much enlarged defensive enclosure.

Pottery found represents a period from the middle of the 12th to the end of the 13th centuries, and documentary evidence seems to confirm that the site was abandoned before the end of the 13th century. A Roman coin and sherds of Crambeck ware were also found, as well as Neolithic flints, including a leaf-shaped arrowhead. (PastScape ref. Thompson)

Gatehouse Comments

Has been called a castle by Renn but the first phase does not seem to have had defences of the strength of contemporary timber castles whilst the defensible later phase is more like that of what would usually be called a fortified manor house.

- Philip Davis

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 ReferenceSE763673
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