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Danish Tower, Flamborough

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Flamborough Castle; Flaynburgh; Constable's Tower

In the civil parish of Flamborough.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of East Riding of Yorkshire.
1974 county of Humberside.
Medieval County of Yorkshire East Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: TA22607034
Latitude 54.11411° Longitude -0.12601°

Danish Tower, Flamborough has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.

Description

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)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1351 May 24 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).
A Royal licence to crenellate was confirmed in 1352 Feb 11.

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.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 16/11/2016 08:41:57

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