Little Kelk

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameLittle Kelk
Alternative NamesNunnery Hill
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityEast Riding of Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishKelk

Any village of Little Kelk probably stood at the junction of roads leading to Lowthorpe, Burton Agnes, and Great Kelk. A causeway crossing the Great Kelk road was described in 1850 as the track of a paved road, and there are other earthworks to the west, in Ash garths. These features forming no coherent pattern, may mark the site of a grange established here by Bridlington Priory, rather than a village site. Nunnery Hill in Ash garths appears to be a tumulus (VCH). There is little on the ground apart from a linear superficial depression in Ash Garths, which suggests a former roadway, and tends to support the claim of a village here rather than a grange. One of two large stones set into the crossroads noted by the VCH may represent remnants of the paved causeway. 'Nunnery Hill' is a ploughed-down mound 42.0m diameter and 1.7m high. According to the farmer, prior to being bulldozed during the war it was about 15ft high and ditched (OS 25" 1926 confirms this). As it stands, it appears large for a tumulus, and in view of the farmer's evidence, Nunnery Hill seems likely to have been a small motte (Field Investigators Comments–F1 RE 19-AUG-74). (PastScape)

A ploughed and spread mound, 30 by 20 m., initially observed on an aerial photograph, has been located by H. G. Ramm. After autumn ploughing a chamfered stone plinth with Norman tooling was found on the mound, while to the E. 15th-century pottery and oyster shells lay in the plough-soil. (Med. Arch.)

Gatehouse Comments

Jean le Patourel writes granted to Bridlington Priory in 1271. Was this a small village with manorial site, with a small motte, that failed to develop and was, therefore, relatively easy to grant to Bridlington? A village failing to develop in the C13 (when there was generally considerable population growth) would be a rare event but could have happened.

- 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 ReferenceTA095601
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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 1' 25.06" Longitude 0° 19' 45.13"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 1' 25.06" Longitude 0° 19' 45.13"

View full Sized Image

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  • Allison, K.J. (ed), 1974, VCH Yorkshire: East Riding Vol. 2 p. 245
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 113
  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longman) p. 483
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 52, 70


  • 1980, Moated Sites Research Group report Vol. 7 p. 15-17
  • 1971, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 43 p. 196
  • Wilson, D M and Moorhouse, Stephen, 1971, 'Medieval Britain in 1970' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 15 p. 170 online copy
  • 1968, Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 31 p. 27-37


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 11 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 13 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 15 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 14 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 32 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 30 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 30 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 40 online copy