John of Gaunts Castle, Haverah Park

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Royal), and also as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry footings remains

NameJohn of Gaunts Castle, Haverah Park
Alternative NamesHaywra; Heywra; Haywrocastell; Skargill; Skirgill; Scargill
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
1974 AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Civil ParishHaverah Park

The medieval royal hunting lodge known as John of Gaunt's Castle, immediately north west of Haverah Park Top survives well and significant evidence of the domestic arrangements within the lodge will be preserved. It served as a royal residence when the king was hunting in the forest and as an administrative centre when the royal party was within the park. The lodge will contain important information about the workings of royal and high status buildings as well as the nature and development of deer parks. The monument includes the standing ruins, earthworks and buried remains of a royal hunting lodge known as John of Gaunt's Castle. The monument is situated on a spur of land projecting north into the valley now occupied by the Beaver Dyke reservoirs. The monument was a royal hunting lodge for the medieval park of Haverah lying within the Forest of Knaresborough. It would serve as a royal residence and administrative centre when the king was hunting in the forest. The first reference to the lodge was in 1333 when substantial repairs were carried out to what was an already established building. Haverah Park was created in the late 12th century and the lodge may date to this time. The 1333 repairs also included the construction of a moat. The lodge was in the king's hands until 1372 when it was acquired by John of Gaunt. The hunting lodge took the form of a stone tower standing on a square- shaped platform surrounded by a moat with a large outer bank. The tower no longer stands, but the foundations for it survive as prominent earthworks. Records from 1333 show that the building had a chapel, a hall and a queen's chamber and was roofed with lead. Remains of a shallow ditch 2m wide, surround the base of the tower. At the southern edge of the platform are the remains of a gatehouse. This was a stone structure built across the north end of a causeway spanning the moat. Two sections of masonry from the gatehouse still survive up to 3m high

The moat surrounding the platform is 4m wide and 2m deep. The east and west outer banks are substantial, measuring 12m in width with steep sides up to 2m high. At the north there is only a low outer bank grading into the natural fall of the land. At the south side there is a wide flat topped bank with a short slope to the rear. The inner faces of the moat were revetted with stone, one section of which is exposed within the south east angle of the moat. At the south east of the outer bank two stone chambers have been built into the slope. One of these still has an arched roof surviving and both have the remains of a narrow access chute at the north end. These are interpreted as being for storage of root crops, game or possibly ice and are associated with the now semi-ruined post-medieval farm complex built adjacent to the monument. (Scheduling Report)

Gatehouse Comments

Was a royal hunting lodge for the medieval park of Haverah lying within the Forest of Knaresborough. The first reference to the lodge was in 1333 when substantial repairs were carried out to what was an already well established building. Haverah Park was created in the late C12 and the lodge may date to this time.

- 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 ReferenceSE219545
Latitude53.9864387512207
Longitude-1.66673004627228
Eastings421960
Northings454550
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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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Books

  • Turner, Maurice, 2004, Yorkshire Castles: Exploring Historic Yorkshire (Otley: Westbury Publishing) passim
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 42
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 310 (slight)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 518
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 108-22
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 671-3
  • Illingworth, J.L., 1938 (republished 1970), Yorkshire's Ruined Castles (Wakefield) p. 127
  • Armitage and Montgomerie, 1912, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Yorkshire Vol. 2 p. 21
  • Allcroft, A. Hadrian, 1908, Earthwork of England (London) p. 431-2 online copy
  • Grainge, 1871, History and Topography of Harrogate and the Forest of Knaresborough (London) p. 345-7

Journals

  • 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

Primary Sources

  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 481-2

Other

  • Richardson, S. and Dennison, E., 2007, John of Gaunt's Castle, Haverah Park: Photographic Survey and Archaeological Observations (Ed Dennison Archaeological Services report 2004/247.R05 for English Heritage) online copy