Rest Park, Sherburn in Elmet

Has been described as a Questionable Masonry Castle, and also as a Questionable Palace (Bishop), and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameRest Park, Sherburn in Elmet
Alternative NamesReste; Manor Garth; Sherburn Palace
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishSherburn in Elmet

Manor Garth, Rest Park, near Sherburn, property of the Archbishops of York who were licenced in 1382 to build a fortlettum for defence of the manor. Rest Park was in use as a residence until the Reformation, being mentioned in a letter of 1500. The lands were sold in 1647, since then the 'Archiepiscopal Palace' has been destroyed (VCH; Wheater). "The site has now been entirely cleared and levelled, leaving no trace of the former extensive earthworks". (PastScape)

Excavation by Mrs. J. Le Patourel for M.P.B.W. on the site of the archbishop's manor house of Rest Park showed it to have had a life of under 200 years. The earliest buildings, erected about the middle of the 14th century, had stone foundations, were rather dispersed and had no moat. All save one were destroyed for the rebuilding which followed Alexander's licence to crenellate dated 13 November, 1383. The ensuing residence consisted of a main 'fortelet' or residential block, backed by an enclosed courtyard of half-timbered buildings, one of which, a reused part of the earlier building, was probably a chapel, since window mouldings and stained glass were found in the vicinity. The main block was 150 ft. by 36 ft. with walls 6 ft. thick and a tower at the S. end. There was probably a vaulted undercroft and the principal rooms were at first-floor level. The buildings were set within a double moat and traces of the bridge-pit were found. Remnants of a stone pier suggest the drawbridge may have been replaced by a fixed bridge. No evidence of outlying fortifications was found, nor was there any sign of defensive work save that provided by the dual moat and the character of the main building itself. The destruction-level was well marked and of uniform date; the pottery compares very closely with that from the Dissolution levels of local monasteries. The house is known to have been occupied in 1528, but after demolition the site was completely deserted and reverted to woodland. (Med

Arch., 1964)

Gatehouse Comments

Called courtyard castle by King, despite the buildings mainly being half-timbered and there being no corner towers. Now only visible as the slightest of crop marks on air photos.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSE542336
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Keevill, Graham D., 2000, Medieval Palaces, An Archaeology (Stroud; Tempus) p. 161
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 168, 188
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 533
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 17-8, 21, 37-50, 66, 68-70, 89, 91, 93, 95-9, 105-8, 127
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 46-7
  • Wheater, W., 1882, The History of the Parishes of Sherburn and Cawood p. 19-25 online copy
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 419 online copy


  • Hurst, G., 1964, 'Medieval Britain in 1962 and 1963, II. Post-Conquest' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 8 p. 276 view copy
  • 1964, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 41 p. 174

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1897, Calendar of Patent Rolls Richard II (1381-85) Vol. 2 p. 333 online copy


  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)
  • Creighton, O.H., 1998, Castles and Landscapes: An Archaeological Survey of Yorkshire and the East Midlands (PhD Thesis University of Leicester) p. 621 online copy