GATEHOUSE
The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
 
 
Home
The listings
Other Info
Books
Links
Downloads
Contact
 
Print Page 
 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Tanfield, Magdalen Field

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
L'ermitage

In the civil parish of West Tanfield.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of North Yorkshire.
1974 county of North Yorkshire.
Medieval County of Yorkshire North Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE23807742
Latitude 54.19192° Longitude -1.63732°

Tanfield, Magdalen Field has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Magdalen Field "The Rev. W.C.Lukis, a few years ago, excavated the foundations of a large house supposed to have been a private chapel, probably dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen" ONB Yorks 101 NE 1928 p. 16). The main earthwork at Magdalen Field, though suggestive of a Roman Camp is without question mediaeval. North of the smaller enclosure are the ruined foundation walls of an old chapel, and the ground-plan of walls and a round tower can at times be traced (Allcroft, 1908). Magdalen Field is situated on the western extremity of a high open spur overlooking the River Ure, and is inaccessible from all sides but the east. On this side is a well defined bank and ditch which divides the spur and has a probable entrance at the N. The separated area contains one major enclosure and fragmentary traces of a second. The main earthwork comprises a well defined bank with outer ditch and is divided into two courts by an internal bank, with remains of building foundations in the north. The west bank has massive internal slopes of varying length and suggests that buildings abbutted on this side. The build up of the SW corner to a height of approx. 4 m. also suggests a possible corner tower as any structure just a few feet higher at this point would have commanding views. The remains of the supposed tower mentioned by Allcroft exists at SE 2380 7739 and consists of a ruined circular stone wall built into a bank and now partly covered by earth. It appears badly sited for use as a tower, and seems more likely to have been a well. This 'tower' or well is built into the scarp forming the N. side of the second 'enclosure'. There is, however, no justification for supposing that this second enclosure ever existed as such, and the two minor banks on its E. & W. sides could have originated by husbandry. The inclusion of these banks by Allcroft was probably due to the reference of an early motte and bailey, as S. of the enclosure the ground rises steeply to its highest point on the edge of the spur. The hill is of natural formation however, and there are no remains of a motte and bailey within Magdalen field. The site as a whole probably represents a variation of the conventional manor house with outer fold. The building foundations indicate a structure of larger proportions than a single chapel, and probably incorporates the remains of a Md. manor house as well (Field Investigators Comments–F1 ECW 29-MAY-62). (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1314 Sept 24 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

Large enclosure formed by bank and ditch cutting off natural spur containing smaller semi-circular enclosure with foundations of probable medieval manor house and private chapel. Jackson suggests was also the site of a motte and bailey, Probably abandoned in favour of Tanfield Castle. A licence to crenellate granted to Sir John Marmion in 1314, for his house called L'Ermitage' and another licence was granted in 1348 to his widow Matilda for her manor of Westtanfield. Since the 1314 licence referred to his house in his wood this almost certainly refers to the isolated Magdelan Field site, rather than the old manorial center in the village by the church. Depending on the date of the abandonment of the site at Magdelan Field the 1348 may refer to either site but it seems likely, since the surviving Marmion Tower dates from the mid C14 that this second licence was for a rebuilding of the old manorial centre. The reason for the abandonment of the relatively new Magdelan Field house is unknown but it is possible that Maud, then in her late 50's and with the Black Death approaching Yorkshire, felt a need to be nearer the parish church.
Jackson's suggestion as the site of a motte and bailey is clearly wrong. It has the form of a an Iron Age promontory fort but with the clear foundations of medieval mansion within it, there is no evidence of any form of motte. It may have had Norman use but the original manorial centre is, more likely, the Tanfield Castle site by the parish church. Possibly Sir John built a new house here about 1314, when a fashion for isolated high status house was beginning, but then his widow Maud moved back to the old house after his death and rebuilt that.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LIDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
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.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
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.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact
¤¤¤¤¤