Braithwell Moat Hall

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameBraithwell Moat Hall
Alternative NamesLe Priorie
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityDoncaster
1974 AuthoritySouth Yorkshire
Civil ParishBraithwell

Ruins of a medieval house. c1430. For John Vyncent of Braithwell (Hey, p78). Magnesian limestone. Probably a 1st-floor hall house with cross-wing and service wing; an intact archway into the central cross-wing survives with the outline of the hall to left being defined by rubble walls which rise no more than 1 metre in height; service rooms on opposite side of passage are less clearly defined and have as yet to be fully excavated, a well and oven site are exposed. The arch is pointed and of 2 hollow-chamfered orders and has rebate to rear with draw-bar sockets. Occupies a moated site originally a grange of Lewes Priory (Sussex) but leased in 1427 to John Vyncent who was allowed to build 'a hall with room to the west end 32 feet long by 18 feet broad' (Hey op.cit). A series of 3 round-headed arches from the service wing was removed in 1939 and one survives at Lambcote Grange in Staintcn parish. C20 excavation (Green, p 233) recorded a site approximately 70 feet x 20 feet and attributed earlier dates to the building. (Listed Building Report)

Moat Hall, Braithwell is an important example of a moated site containing in situ foundations of medieval buildings and with ancillary buildings close by. Indeed it is the best-preserved medieval grange site in the county. In addition, organic material will have survived in the waterlogged areas of the moat.

The monument comprises a rectangular island measuring c.30m by c.45m surrounded by a 10m wide moat, filled in to the south and east but still waterfilled to the west and north-west. The moat was fed from the south by a now filled-in channel leading from a tributary of Ruddle Dike. A depression shows the position of the south arm of the moat, which is still inclined to marshiness at its western end. In the centre of the island are the ruins of a group of sixteenth century cottages, demolished in the 1940s and found to contain parts of earlier buildings

These included an in situ 13th century archway and the remains of "Moat Hall", a 15th century timber-framed grange of Lewes Priory leased to John Vincent of Braithwell in 1427 and known as "Le Priorie". Associated buildings stood outside the moated area and included a tithe barn demolished early this century. The present house is reputed to have been the dovecote and at least two other barns are referred to in the Lewes Cartulary. (Scheduling Report)

The Moat Hall, Braithwell, now completely ruined, '... is surrounded by a moat still visible on three sides and in wet weather partially filled with water.' In the 16th c. the house was converted into a private residence. It was again converted into two cottages, in the 19th c. These were recently demolished.

The remains {1942} include:- the 13th c. arch of the main entrance, in the S. wall; the remains of 16th c. window sills and mullions, in situ; a carved stone which was part of a traceried window. (Mr T Salvin (plan & illust.))

An arcade of '... three arches of an earlier type than the main entrance. These arches were dismantled in 1939 and are now erected in the garden of Mr. H. Brown of Maltby.'

Recent investigations, by various persons, have proved inconclusive. One suggestion is that the Moat Hall '... had once been used as a hospital for the Abbey of Roche ... ,' the west side being the dwelling-place and the east side used as a chapel. "Moat Cottage" near to the Holywell Lane was obviously once a dovecot and a large barn with pantiled roof occupies the eastern portion of the ground (Greene 1938-43).

The remains of Moat Hall comprise portions of three exterior walls, and fragments of the fourth. Also included are the foundations of the lean-to scullery shown in the plan photographed on A0/59/199/7, and portions of internal walls.

All walling is built of stone, roughly faced and coursed, and is 0.6m. thick. A portion of the south wall contains a two centred arch (referred to by Greene) and stands to a height of 3m. The remainder have been levelled to a uniform height of 1m. Set into the S wall adjoining the W side of the arch is the remains of the 16th c. mullion described by Greene, but no obvious remains of the tracery could be located. Much debris is scattered in and around the structure.

The corner of the extension to the E as shown in A0/59/199/7 is not visible on the ground.

Of the three arches ascribed to the possession of Mr Bown (not Brown) of Maltby, one remains erected in his garden. One other is reconstructed in the garden wall of Lambcote Grange.

The moat is well defined on all but the south side. Here it is traceable as a shallow depression of average depth 0.8m. The average depth elsewhere is 1.3m. It is water filled in the western arm, and NE corner.

Moat Cottage at SK 5343 9433 is a renovated, two gabled and two storeyed structure built of faced coursed rubble. Several large apertures in the north and east walls have been blocked. It appears lofty for the average cottage; but the impression gained is that it was constructed as a dwelling. Mr Sawyer is the present tenant.

The barn at SK 5343 9434 is a roofless ruin. Only the north gable, and fragments of the east and west walls remain standing. These are built of roughly dressed and coursed stone, and are 0.6m thick.

A 25" A.M. survey of the moat and ruin has been made (F2 RWE 29-JAN-60).

Should be site of capital messuage called Le Priorie, leased in 1427 to John Vyncent of Braithwell by prior of Lewes. John was to rebuild 'a hall with a room at the west end 32 ft by 18 ft broad'. Prior retained right for monastic servants or himself to stay for three weeks in year if necessary. (Lewes had estates in vill). Priory kept two tithe barns, but two others as well as Kylnehouse, malthouse and stone well were to be leased with the property (Le Patourel 1973).

Survey of ruined timber framed hall (CBA Group 4 Register 1980).

SK 535 943. Moated site. A rectangular moated site of about 1.25 acres, the N and W sides more distinct than the S and E which have been filled in. The 'Moated Cottage' which stands on the site is reputed to be a converted dovecot, but it is very large for this. Much of the island is taken up with private lawns and gardens. On the N side of the moated platform there stand the foundations of a set of 16th century cottages demolished in the 1940's, but which were then found to incorporate portions of earlier buildings, including a 13th century archway still in situ. The foundations of these cottages (and the medieval masonry they may contain) still survive as a garden feature. There are distinct traces of other portions of this building-range underneath the garden lawn (Scheduling Report). (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Moated house of a size, form and status similar to many 'fortified' manor house and houses granted a licence to crenellate.

- 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 ReferenceSK534943
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  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 316
  • Sneyd, Steve, 1995, The Devil's Logbook Castles and Fortified Sites around South Yorkshire (Hilltop Press) p. 7
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 84
  • Hey, D., 1979, The Making of South Yorkshire p. 78-9
  • Magilton, J.R., 1977, The Doncaster District: An Archaeological Survey (Doncaster) p.
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 122-3


  • 1980, CBA Group 4 The Yorkshire Archaeological Register p. 5
  • Greene, D., 1938-43, 'The Moat Hall, Braithwell' Transactions of the Hunter Archaeological Society Vol. 5 p. 233


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 66, 68 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 78 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 88 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 90 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 111 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 103 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 107, 108 online copy