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Cowick Kings Manor

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Manor Hill, Snaith and Cowick

In the civil parish of Snaith and Cowick.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of East Riding of Yorkshire.
1974 county of Humberside.
Medieval County of Yorkshire West Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: SE65202055
Latitude 53.67736° Longitude -1.01442°

Cowick Kings Manor has been described as a probable Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


A polygonal moated site, 450m south of Little London. It has two sides of just under 90m long, meeting almost at right angles to form a westward pointing projection, each flanked by two shorter sides - the northern being around 40m long and the longer, southern side being 68m. The fifth side is about 95m in length and contains the single causewayed entrance to the central island. Overall, the monument is 150m at its widest, east-west by 136m north-south. The surrounding moat is 20m at its widest at the western projecting point, narrowing in places to under 7m and is between 3m and 4m deep. It was surrounded by an exterior bank which, although surviving in places, has been largely levelled through ploughing activity over the course of the years. This ploughing has also removed the above ground remains of the moated site's outer courts. The moat arms were dredged in 1976, when upstanding traces of an inner bank were removed, and the moat bottom was over-cut. During these operations, a large quantity of late medieval to early 16th century pottery, building materials, timber planks, fragments of three wooden bowls, leatherwork, decorated floor tiles and food remains were found. Excavations carried out in the same year located the site of bridge emplacements on the northern side of the western projection, and scatters of medieval tiles on the moat island, although no structural remains were otherwise found to survive within the moated enclosure. Kings Manor moat dates from about 1320, although the evidence from written sources suggest that the moat was dug around the buildings of an existing complex. The original buildings may have been a royal hunting lodge, as King John is known to have hunted in the area. In 1295 Edward I gave the manor of Cowick to Henry de Lacy. By the early 14th century, Cowick manor was an established part of the lands of the house of Lancaster, but then passed into Crown ownership in 1322 during the reign of Edward II, following the fall of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. Following his acquisition of the manor in 1322, Edward II, who stayed at Cowick frequently during visits to Yorkshire, had a number of improvements and renovations carried out, including the excavation of the moat around the inner court of the manor in 1323. He is also recorded as spending two hundred pounds on improvements, including tiling the roof and installing fire places. Edward III spent a further one hundred and forty pounds on the house and then conferred it on his mother Queen Isabella as a gift in 1327 and then to his Queen, Philippa. In 1370, Cowick moat was granted back to the house of Lancaster, and it is referred to in Duchy of Lancaster papers in an account of 1373-4, which describes the configuration of the hall, living quarters and associated rooms and passages of the manor. The manor later became the residence of Catherine Swinford, third wife of John of Gaunt. In 1422, Thomas Rothwell and Elizabeth his wife, formerly married to Sir Thomas Swinford, owned the property. Following the battle of Bosworth in 1485, the manor again reverted back to the Crown, remaining so for much of the 16th century. The manor house was reputedly in a ruinous state by the Tudor period, with Cowick Manor being removed to a different site - Cowick Hall 600m to the north of the monument between East and West Cowick, where it became the seat of the Dawnay family. The moated site was abandoned sometime after this. (Scheduling Report)

The original buildings may have been a royal hunting lodge. Emery writes the wide ditch was dug in 1323, one of only 3 royal manors in the North of England. Little London, just to the north of the manor, may have been the site of a welsh drovers market, both serving this manor and a camp of 'aliens' gaining royal protection. See Llundainfach
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

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