Skipsea Hall Garth

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameSkipsea Hall Garth
Alternative NamesHallgarth; Hall Garths
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityEast Riding of Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishSkipsea

Although no remains of the monument remain above ground, both moat and building foundations will survive as buried features, and provide important evidence of the medieval occupation of this area, some of which has been lost to the ingression of the sea along this coast. The form of the site, using a natural hillock surrounded by a moat, is unusual, and suggests that the surrounding landscape was too wet and unsuitable for settlement.

The monument includes the site of a medieval hall and moat, on Hallgarth Hill 400m south east of Church Farm, on the southern side of the town of Skipsea.

A spread of medieval and post-medieval pottery, and probable building materials are scattered across the ploughed field on the northern side of the summit of the low natural hillock, roughly elliptical in form, called Hallgarth Hill. The hill is surrounded by low-lying ground which regularly floods in winter, and is composed of peat up to 5m thick.

There was once a shallow ditch feature around the north and eastern edge of this hillock, which is interpreted as a moat, later reused as a field drain. It has now been infilled through regular ploughing, and is no longer visible, but will survive as a buried feature.

An excavation of this site was conducted by S R Harrison in 1970 which confirmed the existence of a ditched enclosure here. The ditch measured about 300m by 170m, was 6m-7.5m wide and nearly 3m deep. Within this enclosure, evidence of burning was found, and pottery dating to between 1450 and 1650. Building materials in the form of large, shaped cobbles, some retaining traces of mortar, have been removed from the ploughsoil and heaped along the field boundary hedge line which divides the site across its east-west axis

No evidence of the original building which stood here survives above the ground, but foundations will be preserved below ground level and beneath the depth of the present ploughing.

The most prominent site in this area is that of Skipsea motte castle on the western side of the town. In 1271, an increment of 12 pence per annum appears among the Cleton rents for a 'domus' (residence) of the Guild of the Blessed Mary in Skipsea, although the site of Cleton village is now lost under the North Sea.

Tradition maintains that the hall here was destroyed during the Civil War. (Scheduling Report)

The manor house was presumably Hallgarth, situated on a small hill just south of Skipsea village. The site may have been moated. The chapel, hall, and great or high chamber of the house were mentioned in the 13th and 14th centuries, but by the 16th only the brick foundations remained. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

Although a moated site the moat here is probably to do with drainage and flood protection. However the large and deep ditches would have made this a defensible site so the story of Civil War occupation, siege and destruction are not improbable although, as with many such stories, it may well be fanciful. Although the VCH records documentary evidence of buildings in the C13 and C14 the archaeology appears to show occupation only from the C15-C17. It is, therefore, not certain this was the site of C13/C14 manor. Skipsea castle stopped being the caput of the Lords of Holderness after about 1200, when it moved to Burstwick but the manor of Skipsea must sill have had an administrative centre.

- 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 ReferenceTA170546
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  • Kent, G.H.R., 2002, 'North division: Skipsea' VCH Yorkshire: East Riding Vol. 7 online transcription
  • Le Patourel, H.E. Jean, 1973, The Moated Sites of Yorkshire (The Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 5) p. 116
  • Poulson, G., 1840, The History and Antiquities of the Seigniory of Holderness Vol. 1 p. 455 online copy

Primary Sources

  • The National Archive SC 6/1078/12, m. 6; [SC 6/1079/15, m. 8 >]; [SC 6/1082/5, m. 6 >]; [E 134/8 & 9 Chas. I Hil./4 >]
  • E.R.A.O., DDCC/139/7