Campsall Old Rectory

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameCampsall Old Rectory
Alternative NamesCampsall Vicarage
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityDoncaster
1974 AuthoritySouth Yorkshire
Civil ParishNorton

The Old Rectory 5.6.68 (formerly listed as Campsall Vicarage) GV 1 Vicarage now a private house. c1400 with c1800 additions; C19 and C20 alterations. Ashlar magnesian limestone, the later additions pebble-dashed; stone slate roof. 2 storeys; T-shaped medieval house with oblique cross-wing across north end of hall-block, the latter having the c1800 additions to its east. Entrance front (to west): chamfered plinth. Hall-block on right has C19 moulded, pointed doorway with 2-light chamfered, mullioned window on left and C19 cross-window on right; beyond, on right, a lateral stack with offsets which terminates at the eaves. 1st floor: C19 cross-window flanked by blocked original window openings; rendered ridge stack. Gabled wing on left has 1st-floor casement and rendered end stack; the short right return of the gable lit by 16-pane sash beneath casement with glazing bars. Rear: cross-wing gable on right has C20 casement beneath 3-light Perpendicular window with panel tracery and hollow-chamfered hoodmould with mutilated stops; gable copings with apex cross. Left return: chamfered surround to part-glazed door with stained-glass overlight; on left are two C20 casements with glazing bars, that to right in C17 or earlier chamfered surround. 1st floor: 2 similar windows, that on left in original opening with grotesque head-carved hoodmould stops; brick gable to right of centre with cross-window and end stack. Right return: hall-block gable has enlarged ground-floor opening with glazed door flanked by sashes with glazing bars beneath hoodmould of earlier mullioned window; large medieval window opening over has sash with Gothick glazing bars beneath pointed arch and hoodmould with head-carved stops; gable copings with apex cross. Addition on right has mock-ashlar render.

Interior: northern ground-floor room of hall block has original studded partition with 2 ogee-headed doorways (that to west renewed); 2 original studs survive above

Non-original 1st floor of this room removed c1980 to make an open-galleried hall off which, to east, opens a 1st-floor doorway of c1400 with double-quadrant moulding and 2-centred arch. Hall-block roof of 3 bays terminating at closed truss over the stud partition; arch-braced collars to principal rafters with side and collar purlins; collared common rafters, no ridge piece. The closed northern truss has tie beam; purlin mortices on north face suggest the roof continued. West wing: medieval shouldered-arched ground-floor doorway. East wing: 1st-floor room, probably a former chapel, has original roof similar to that of hall-block but of 2 bays with end and central trusses having arch braces forming a continuous pointed arch.

The building, as a 1st-floor hall of c1400, is late for that tradition; the heated ground-floor of the hall-block indicates a habitable domestic use beneath what was, perhaps, an assembly room of some importance. The Church of St. Mary Magdalene situated opposite is known to have held great wealth in the C13. In 1481 Edward IV granted the rectory to the Benedictine nunnery of Wallingwells (Nottinghamshire), it being appropriated to this purpose in 1482 by Thomas Rotherham, Archbishop of York who ordained that the church should in future be served by a vicar, rather than a rector, appointed by Cambridge University. At the Dissolution much of the income of Wallingwells was derived from Campsall. (Listed Building Report)

The house consists of a T plan medieval building (a north-south block with short wings to east and west at its north end), with a late 18th or early 19th century addition on the east side of the main block. The medieval building is constructed of Magnesian Limestone ashlar with a bold chamfered plinth all round, and has been two-storied throughout. The internal arrangements of the house have been much altered, although many original features survive including the roofs of both the hall and the east wing, which housed what was probably a chapel at first floor level, an apartment which retains a good three light east window (YAJ 1982).

This house, probably of early 15th century date, was examined and recorded by P. F. Ryder of SYCAS and S. H. Jones of Shefflild City Polytechnic. The building is constructed from magnesian limestone ashlar, and consists of a north-south block containing a first-floor hall the doorway of which survives, formerly reached by an external stair - with a cross-wing at its north end. At the east end of the wing is a first-floor chamber traditionally said to have been a chapel, with a fine three light east window. Both hall and chapel retain their original roofs, of an unusual form with collared rafter pairs and principal rafter trusses, which carry both collar and side purlins. The element of security was perhaps a consideration in the construction of a stone first floor hall house at this period and was perhaps prompted by the notorious medieval outlawry Barnsdale Forest, in which Campsall was situated. (South Yorkshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

This was probably a somewhat above the average manor house in a relatively large and wealthy manor (The fine and large Romanesque parish church of St Mary Magdalene on the other side of the road shows the wealth of Campsall.) The high quality of the house may just represent this and the supposed 'element of security' may just be high quality architecture. However medieval crime rates were, in all probability, higher than modern rates and security was an issue. Whether these domestic security aspects amount to a house being 'fortified' is a semantic issue (that is an important matter of meaning not a trivial issue).

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceSE544140
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  • Sneyd, Steve, 1995, The Devil's Logbook Castles and Fortified Sites around South Yorkshire (Hilltop Press) p. 9
  • Pevsner, N. and Radcliffe, E., 1967, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: West Riding (London, Penguin) p. 156


  • 1982, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 54 p. 179


  • Ryder, P. F and Jones, S.R., 1981, Campsall Rectory (Unpublished document in S. Yorks HER)