Danish Tower, Flamborough

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Manor House

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameDanish Tower, Flamborough
Alternative NamesFlamborough Castle; Flaynburgh; Constable's Tower
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityEast Riding of Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishFlamborough

Remains of a medieval fortified house and related earthworks known as Flamborough Castle, located in a field behind the war memorial in Tower Street, in the village of Flamborough. The most visible feature of the site is the ruined tower, which stands in the middle of the site. It is constructed of coursed squared chalk blocks and rubble, probably extracted from a small quarry around 100m to the north of the site. Originally rectangular in plan, only three sides now survive, and include the full length of the south wall, with parts of the east and west walls remaining to an estimated height of 4m. There is one altered doorway to the east with plain jambs and square head, whilst the interior retains putlog holes and chamfered springers for a barrel vaulted basement. Until a few years ago, the vaulted chamber was complete but, due to the decay of mortar, has now collapsed. Part of the first floor, with the footings of a door in the south wall, can be traced above the remains of the vaulting. The only evidence for a second floor is a garderobe drain in the south east corner wall. The drain was enclosed in masonry and can be traced up through the basement and first floor level. There are many putlog holes through the walls which may have been filled with clay or wood. This tower would have been only one element of a building complex. At the death of Sir Robert Constable in 1537, the complex is said to have included a tower, a hall, a 'great parlour', a 'lord's parlour', a chapel, a court house, a mill house, and a great barn. The foundations of other buildings are visible as overgrown earthwork banks immediately around the tower. Stone forming their upper walls has been largely robbed out, probably to construct later buildings in Flamborough, or for lime burning, leaving only foundations and associated demolition debris. The remains thus identified appear to occupy an almost square platform in the centre of the field; this was the core of the medieval manor house

Around this a series of further earthwork banks and ditches define and sub-divide a series of enclosures and access trackways. The earthworks are difficult to interpret clearly but are thought to include stock yards and enclosures within which lesser manorial buildings (those associated with agricultural activities such as barns) were located. There are good historical data which show that it was the seat of the Constable family for many years, until the death of Sir Robert Constable in 1537. In 1315, William the Constable was licensed to have an oratory, and later in 1351, Marmaduke Constable received licence to crenellate the house. In the 16th century, Leland described it as 'taken for a manor place rather than a castle'. The tower survived , and in 1798 it still contained a vaulted undercroft which was used as a cattle shed. Chalk was then being removed and burned for lime, the lime kilns for which are still evident as circular earthworks on the site, to the east of the tower. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Called stump of pele tower by some but clearly a fortified manor house of some size and quality. Marmaduck, Constable of Holderness, obtained a licence to crenellate in 1351, another licence obtained the next year may have been for this site or Beacon Farm. Leland described the place as "taken rather for a manor place than a castle". There may have been an earlier castle here in 1180-1193 when a constabularius is documented.

- 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 ReferenceTA226703
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Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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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Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1907, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1350-54) Vol. 9 p. 75 online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1907, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1350-54) Vol. 9 p. 225 online copy


  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk Yorkshire Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 1 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 1 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 Yorkshire (London: English Heritage) p. 1 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 18 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 Yorkshire and the Humber (London: English Heritage) p. 18 online copy
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