Kirkbymoorside, Neville Castle

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameKirkbymoorside, Neville Castle
Alternative NamesKirkby Moorside; Manor Garth; Castle Wall
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishKirkbymoorside

buried and standing remains of a late medieval hunting lodge known as Neville Castle, located on the north side of Kirkbymoorside. Neville Castle is believed to have replaced the moated manor house on Vivier's Hill, 500m to the south east, as the main seat of the manor of Kirkbymoorside which was held by the Neville family from the beginning of the 15th century until 1569, when it was forfeited to the Crown following the rebellion of Charles Neville, Earl of Westmoreland. The Nevilles were an important and influential family throughout this period. Their numbers included Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as the Kingmaker for his role in the Wars of the Roses, and Charles Neville, who rebelled in support of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1570 Neville Castle was described as a 16th century hunting lodge set in a park with a boundary circuit 2.5 miles (3.75 km) in length. Two small areas of the monument were excavated in advance of building work over several seasons in the early 1960s and in 1974. These excavations uncovered a complex sequence of buildings and modifications to buildings on the site, starting with a timber cruck framed hall which was occupied until about the end of the 15th century, when it was replaced by a larger, more grandiose set of stone buildings arranged around a courtyard. Most of the remains of Neville Castle survive as buried deposits, but there are at least four sections of exposed masonry. The largest is the wall fragment standing to the west of the path that leads from the end of Castlegate lane along the side of Manor Vale. This is of rough rubble stonework standing some 6m high, 1m thick and 4m long. It retains part of a buttress at the north end of its west face along with a number of putlog holes (sockets for timber scaffolding). Approximately 25m south of this wall fragment there is the chamfered base of a finely dressed stone wall forming the south west corner of a tower or building

Another corner of walling, interpreted as the corresponding north west corner, was mapped in 1974. This lay 15m south of the 6m high wall fragment, but now lies buried. The excavation in 1974 uncovered the floor levels of a kitchen within the west end of the garden of the property known as Squirrels Lea and the southern wall of a hall running along its northern boundary. This section of wall, which stands up to about 0.5m high and includes the base of a south facing oriel window with a fireplace to its west and a doorway to the east, survives as a feature within the garden. About 30m to the south, within the garden of Castle Walls, there are the bottom three to four courses of a circular kiln or oven approximately 1.5m in diameter, which was uncovered during the construction of a sunken garden. Within the field to the south there is a series of low earthworks of buried wall footings for an east-west range of buildings, whilst within the field to the north of Squirrels Lea cropmarks of further features have been photographed. The excavations in 1974 and the early 1960s showed that the medieval buildings originally extended into the northern field. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

King writes appears not to be genuinely fortified. This is a statement that probably equally applies to many other castles King has not problems with. The problem lies in an understanding of the function of most medieval fortifications in such baronial castles, which is much more about symbolic representations of martial derived authority than practical concerns regarding the very slight possibility of being besieged.

- 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 ReferenceSE694869
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 16' 25.25" Longitude 0° 56' 6.54"

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 16' 25.25" Longitude 0° 56' 6.54"

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 16' 25.25" Longitude 0° 56' 6.54"

View full Sized Image

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  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) p. 241
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 53
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 38
  • Rushton, J., 1986, The Ryedale Story (Ryedale District Council) p.48
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 520 (reject)
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 108-22
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 119-20 (Where description seems to half apply to Stutville Castle)
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 128
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1914, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 1 p. 511-14 online transcription
  • Whellan T, 1859, History and topography of the city of York and the North Riding of Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 235, 238 online copy
  • Eastmead, W., 1824, Historia Rievallensis p. 87 online copy


  • Dennison, Ed and Richardson, Shaun with contributions by Erik Matthews, 2007-8, 'Recent Work on some North Yorkshire Castles' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 21 p. 157-166
  • Williams, R., 1977, 'An Excavation at Neville Castle, Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, 1974' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 49 p. 87-96
  • Dornier, A., 1970, 'Neville Castle, Kirkbymoorside: Excavations 1963 and 1965' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 42 p. 87-96
  • 1966, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 10 p. 205 download copy
  • 1964, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 274-5 download copy

Primary Sources

  • 1903, 'Humberstone's Survey' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 17 p. 129-154 esp. 146-7 (Survey of 1570) online copy


  • Richardson, S. and Dennison, E., 2007, Neville Castle, Kirkbymoorside: Photographic Survey and Archaeological Observations (Ed Dennison Archaeological Services report 2004/247.R01 for English Heritage) online copy
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 604 online copy