North Lees moat

Has been described as a Possible Pele Tower

There are earthwork remains

NameNorth Lees moat
Alternative NamesNorth Leys
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishNorth Stainley With Sleningford

The small island of the moated earthwork at North Lees is considerably raised above the natural level and there are the vestigia of what would seem to have been a large drum tower, which occupies almost the entire width of the north end through which passed the approach. It is locally spoken of as Roman but traces of the usual feeders and water courses show it to be mediaeval. It stands in Ripon Parks and perhaps represents a keeper's lodge provided with a look-out tower (Allcroft, 1908). The moated feature shows clearly and what may be the outline of associated buildings possibly associated with the site appear to the north west (F1 RDL 01-DEC-61). The moat is now dry, and is little more than a superficial depression. The central platform, has an average height of 1.0m. No foundations are visible, but some isolated stones are evident at the northern end. Surrounding the moated feature are the remains of an outer enclosure. A further series of slight banks and baulks to the north and west are probably the remains of associated cultivation and pastoral enclosures (F2 RWE 15-FEB-64). Elements of this site are visible as earthworks on historic air photos and more recent lidar-derived images. The moat is located at SE 3017 7368, its inner platform measures approximately 36x16m. At its northern end there is a small sub-circular depression, which is perhaps the robber trench identified by Allcroft. There is a trace of an outwork or outer enclosure of rectilinear form visible at SE 3015 7365. There are traces of other ditches and banks to the west of the moat and these may be the remains of a settlement. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

The suggestion this was a lookout tower is open to question but the circular foundations remain visible on the air photo.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE301736
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 82
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 531 (possible tower)
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 126
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 464-6 (plan) online copy


  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 619 online copy