Sigston Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry footings remains

NameSigston Castle
Alternative NamesKirby Sigston; Kirkby Sigston; Berford; Beresend; Beresende
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishWinton Stank And Hallikeld

Sigston Castle, a 14th century enclosure castle situated 400m north of Kirby Sigston church. The castle lies on gently sloping land at the western edge of the floodplain of the Cod Beck stream and on the south side of a dry valley containing a piped tributary to the Cod Beck. Although they are not included in the scheduling, fields to the north of the castle contain extensive ridge and furrow earthworks indicating that they were in arable cultivation during the medieval period. The medieval village of Kirby Sigston, with which the castle must have been associated, is now deserted but survives as earthworks adjacent to the church. Although over the years the walls of the castle have been demolished to provide stone for buildings in the vicinity, the moat which surrounded it survives as an open ditch and, in places, the foundations of the curtain walls and central keep remain as upstanding earthworks. The castle has a trapezoidal plan, the moated island measuring 140m north-south by 110m east-west. The moat is up to 15m wide and varies between 8m deep on the uphill, north-western arm to 1m deep on the south-eastern arm which runs along the bottom of the slope at the edge of the floodplain. A 10m wide outer bank lies along the south- western, north-western and north-eastern arms of the moat and, although it has been altered in places by drainage works, road construction and possibly by quarrying, it survives up to 1.5m high on the north-western arm. There is no evidence of an outer bank along the south-eastern arm but it is thought that such a feature was not needed here, as the floodplain is likely to have been a marsh in the medieval period

The best-preserved part of the curtain wall lies on the inner edge of the north-western arm, where it survives as a 1.5m high, 4m wide bank containing fragments of building stone and a 0.3m high, 4m wide bank is also visible along the inner edges of the north-eastern and south-eastern arms; elsewhere the foundations will survive below ground. A modern causeway across the north-western arm of the moat indicates the position of the original entrance to the castle; it is aligned with the centre of the north-western side of the keep. This was a rectangular tower measuring 30m by 25m across at its base and its foundations survive as earth-covered banks. The space enclosed by these banks was the undercroft of the keep, the western corner of which has been removed apparently to facilitate the removal of stonework during the demolition and robbing of the tower. Other, less clearly defined earthworks to the south of the keep mark the location of ancillary structures within the castle. John de Sigston acquired the land in 1313 and the castle was built shortly after this; a licence to crenellate was granted in 1336. (Scheduling Report)

The castle of Sigston, called variously Berford (Dodsworth MSS. xci, 177b) or Bereshend, (Cal. Pat. 1334–8, p. 221) seems to have formed part of the manor of Winton. It had the same descent throughout. The land on which it was built was acquired by John son of John son of Michael de Sigston in 1313 on his marriage with the daughter of Henry Maunsell, and the castle seems to have been built shortly after this. In 1336 John de Sigston had licence to crenellate 'his manor of Beresende.' The castle probably began to fall into decay at the time of the division of Ralph Pigot's estates. No traces of the building remain, but the earthworks or foundations are visible. (VCH)

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 ReferenceSE416951
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  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 246
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 74-6 (plan)
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 92
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 22-3
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 301 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 520
  • Pevsner, N., 1966, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: North Riding (London) p. 212
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 p. 405-7 online transcription
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 51
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 261-2 online copy
  • Whellan, T., 1857, History and topography of the city of York and the North Riding of Yorkshire (T Whellan and Co) Vol. 2 p. 334 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 411 online copy


  • I'Anson, W.M., 1913, 'The castles of the North Riding' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 22 p. 342

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1895, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1334-38) Vol. 3 p. 221 online copy
  • Dodsworth MSS. xci, 177b


  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 288, 623 online copy