Summerhouse Moat

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameSummerhouse Moat
Alternative NamesThe Castle Garth
Historic CountryDurham
Modern AuthorityDarlington
1974 AuthorityCounty Durham
Civil ParishSummerhouse

The site at Summerhouse survives well and features such as the tower suggest it formerly supported a building of some importance. Additionally, its dominant position at one end of the village green indicates that it had an important role in the life of the medieval village. The monument includes a medieval moated site and its related drainage channels, a rectangular enclosure and part of an adjacent field system. The monument is situated on level ground immediately adjacent to Summerhouse Beck and at the southern end of a long village green, now encroached upon by other buildings. The moated site is rectangular in shape and measures 15m east-west by 20m north-south within a ditch 10m wide and up to 1m deep. At the south- western corner of the enclosed island there are the remains of a circular structure measuring 12m in diameter interpreted as the remains of a tower. The site has the appearance of a defended manor house situated at one end of the village green. Adjoining the moated site at its south-eastern corner is a series of ditches, drainage channels with well defined banks to the outside. The ditches are 10m wide and the banks survive to a height of 1.5m above the bottom of the ditches. These channels are placed roughly at right angles to each other and represent a form of water regulation associated with the moated site. Immediately to the south of the moated site is a rectangular enclosure, the remains of a substantial building measuring 23m by 10m within a slight bank 2m across. The remains of at least two other enclosures, of agricultural function, lie to the west of the moated site. At the southern end of the site part of the rig and furrow cultivation of the associated medieval field system is preserved, apparently bounded by the banks and ditches of the drainage system

(Scheduling Report)

Obscure traces of extensive foundations remain in a field on the south side of the village, which are locally called "The Castle Garth." (Surtees conjectures the name of the township to have been originally applied to a summer residence of the early lords of Raby.) At the feast of St. Cuthbert, in September, 1207, William, son of Robert Beneit, gave to the monastery of Durham certain lands in Summerhouse; and by another charter, he added six oxgangs which William Mastel held. These lands were afterwards granted by the prior and monks to the Nevilles. After the attainder, the estate was sold, and became the property of the Sandfords of Hewgill Castle, Westmoreland, and subsequently passed by marriage to Philip and Filmer Honeywood, of Markshall, Essex, from whom it was purchased, in 1786. (Fordyce)

Gatehouse Comments

Given the nearby location of Raby Castle (8km west) seems unlikely as a Neville residence. Ancillary accommodation? Hunting lodge? Bailiffs house in a demonstrative style?

- 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 ReferenceNZ201188
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, 2002, The Castles and Tower Houses of County Durham (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 58
  • Jackson, M.J., 1996, Castles of Durham and Cleveland (Carlisle) p. 74
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 140
  • Gould, Chalkley, 1905, 'Ancient Earthworks' in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Durham Vol. 1 (London) p. 358 online copy
  • Fordyce, W., 1857, History and antiquities of the county palatine of Durham (Durham) Vol. 2 p. 139-40 online copy
  • Surtees, R., 1816-40 (1972 Reprint), The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham (London) Vol. 4 p. 32