Seamer Dower House

Has been described as a Possible Tower House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameSeamer Dower House
Alternative NamesSemere; Semer
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishSeamer

Remains of the medieval manor at Manor Garth, Seamer situated on the edge of the village on a low bluff overlooking low marshy land. The remains consist of a section of upstanding medieval masonry which was originally part of the manor house and further substantial earthwork remains of both the manor house and associated manorial complex which dates to the early 14th century. The upstanding ruins, which date to the 15th century, comprise a section of masonry wall 12m long and up to 4m wide with an arched doorway through the south west end. It is built of coursed limestone rubble, with some ashlar facing and some traces of architectural detail. Surrounding the ruins are substantial grass covered earthworks representing the buried remains of the manor house complex. The earthworks form terraces and banks, some of which are up to 1.5m high. Stonework from the manor is exposed at a number of places on the earthworks. A track crosses through the area of the scheduling north of the site of the manor house and at its east end is carried by a raised causeway 8m wide and 1m high. North of the track is a wide terrace and further earthworks which represent the remains of the wider manorial complex. The area to the south west of the monument is currently boggy land but in the medieval period was a more substantial lake or mere from which Seamer takes its name. The manor complex was thus situated on higher land overlooking the lake and as such occupied a prestigious position. A manor existed at Seamer before the Conquest and was granted to the Percy family by William I. The Percys were known to have had a house at Seamer in 1304. It seems to have been used as a dower house; a house provided for a widow, often on the estate of the deceased husband. In 1536 Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland made over the manor to the crown and by 1547 it was called a castle

The manor was granted to Sir Henry Gate in 1555, passed to his son in 1589 and passed through several lessees and owners. It is not known when the manor house was abandoned and demolished. The upstanding ruins are Listed Grade II. (Scheduling Report)

Manor House, ruinated. C15 and earlier. Coursed limestone rubble; dressed limestone. Arched doorway of two orders with 4-centred head to left of surviving wall. Shaped first floor band. Traces of extensive foundations around surviving wall. The manor was in the hands of the Percy family until 1555 when it passed to Sir Henry Gate. (Listed Building Report)

Remains of manor house surrounded by an extensive area of earthworks. A ruined fragment of wall containing a C15 doorway is the only extant part. Seat of the Percy Family and first mentioned in 1304. The house seems to have served as a dower house and was referred to as a castle in 1547. (North Yorkshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

The actual form of the building is unclear but was a baronial status house apparently at least once called a castle. The needs of a widow of high status would probably be best suited by some form of integral tower house.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTA013834
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, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 88
  • Jackson, M.J., 2001, Castles of North Yorkshire (Carlisle) p. 95
  • 1979, Samuel Buck's Yorkshire Sketchbook (Wakefield Historical Publications) p. 292 (Samuel Buck print of c. 1720)
  • Pevsner, N., 1966, Buildings of England: Yorkshire: North Riding (London, Penguin) p. 337
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1923, VCH Yorkshire: North Riding Vol. 2 p. 483-4 online transcription


  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 545
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 59 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
  • Hall, C., 2005, 'Recent Archaeological Investigations by Scarborough Archeological and Historical Society' CBA Forum (newsletter for CBA Yorkshire) p. 44-8

Primary Sources

  • 1895, Honor and Forest of Pickering (N. R. Record Society New Series) Vol. 2 p. 79, 83 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1906, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward II Vol. 5 p. 314, 323-4 no. 536 online copy
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1895 The Certificates of the Commissioners Appointed to Survey the Chantries, Guilds, Hospitals, Etc Part 2 (Surtees Society 92) p. 515 online copy
  • Martin, M.T. (ed), 1911 for 1909, The Percy Chartulary (Surtees Society 117) passim online copy
  • SC11/959 (Survey of 1538) The National Archives reference


  • Dennison, E. and Richardson, S., 2007, Seamer Manor House, Seamer, North Yorkshire: Photographic Survey and Archaeological Observations (Ed Dennison Archaeological Services report 2004/247.R02 for English Heritage) online copy
  • Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society, 2002, An Earthwork Survey of Seamer Manor House (unpublished Interim Report 34:2002)
  • GeoQuest Associates, 2002, Archaeological Geophysical Survey on the site of Seamer Manor House, Seamer, North Yorkshire (unpublished report for SAHS)