Kirkbymoorside, Stutevilles Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Other/Unknown), and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are earthwork remains

NameKirkbymoorside, Stutevilles Castle
Alternative NamesKirkby Moorside; Vivars Hill; Viviers Hill; Vivers Hill
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishKirkbymoorside

The remains of the moated manor house site on Vivers Hill, overlooking the church and centre of Kirbymoorside. The scheduling includes all earthwork remains of the moat with associated banking, together with the terraced island with buried remains of the house and associated features. The earthwork remains of the 19th century reservoir, which lies adjacent to the north west, are not included in the scheduling. The moated manor house site known as Vivers Hill Castle was inhabited by the Stuteville family by 1200. From this date, the ownership of the manor of Kirbymoorside (which included Farndale, Bransdale and Gillamoor) is well documented, changing ownership a number of times. In the early 15th century, ownership passed to the Neville family who owned a hunting lodge sited 0.5km to the north west (Neville's Castle, which is the subject of a separate scheduling). However it is believed that the manor on Vivers Hill had been abandoned in favour of this new site before the 15th century. The monument is sited on a hillside just below the spring line. The moat is a well preserved earthwork with a ditch typically over 2.5m deep and 8m wide with a slight bank on its external side. It encloses a roughly rectangular island, c.90m by 70m, which is slightly raised and divided into three west facing terraces. This island contains a number of low earthwork features, especially on the two uppermost terraces, which are interpreted to be the remains of buildings and other features. The lowest terrace is noticeably flat and may have been a garden. The moat ditches on the north and south sides of the island run downhill and would not have contained standing water. Instead these would have been purposefully designed for drainage, the south ditch still acting as a seasonal stream course. The east and west moat ditches follow the contours of the hillside and would have contained standing water

These, especially the uphill eastern ditch which broadens to a still quite boggy c.15m wide area, are considered to have formed fishponds. Approximately 20m to the east of the main moat there is a c.5m wide ditch that runs north west to south east, parallel to the edge of the eastern fishpond. The area between this second moat ditch and the fishpond also retains a number of low earthworks amongst the trees. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Despite appearing quite close to the church the hillside is steep here and access to the site is difficult, particularly in wet weather. However the site is overlooked to the north and east and is not particularly defensible. The site is clearly visible from the town which would not be the case if this castle had been more defensibly located. The result is a castle that dominates the town visually.

- 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 ReferenceSE699867
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 16' 19.24" Longitude 0° 55' 38.36"

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Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 54° 16' 19.24" Longitude 0° 55' 38.36"

View full Sized Image

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.

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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. 36-7
  • Ingham, Bernard, 2001, Bernard Ingham's Yorkshire Castles (Dalesman) p. 20
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 520, 533
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 119-120 (Where grid ref given is for Neville Castle)
  • Pevsner, N., 1966, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: North Riding (London) p. 216
  • 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
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  • Eastmead, W., 1824, Historia Rievallensis p. 84-5 online copy


  • Parker, T., 1982, 'History of Kirkdale with the towns and villages adjacent' Ryedale Historian Vol. 11 p. 14
  • 1977, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 49 p. 87
  • 1967, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 42 p. 98-9, 101-2


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 49 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 58 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 66 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 69 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 89 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 83 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 89 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 98 online copy
  • Constable, Christopher, 2003, Aspects of the archaeology of the castle in the north of England C 1066-1216 (Doctoral thesis, Durham University) Available at Durham E-Theses Online
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 603-4 online copy