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Huttons Colswain at Huttons Ambo

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Low Hutton

In the civil parish of Huttons Ambo.
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: SE76316738
Latitude 54.09667° Longitude -0.83462°

Huttons Colswain at Huttons Ambo has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Medieval moated site visible as a regularly shaped enclosure surrounded by a bank and ditch. It is situated on a bluff overlooking the River Derwent. The site is nearly rectangular in shape with a substantial bank and external ditch on the north, south and west sides with the east side formed by the top of the slope down to the river. The enclosure measures 55m east to west and 60m north to south with the banks standing up to 1.5m above the interior. The ditches to the north and west are up to 1.5m deep. The ditch to the south has been incorporated into a later deep hollow way. The interior of the enclosure is level with some evidence of earthworks in the south west corner. There is an entrance through the bank in the north side of the enclosure. The site was partly excavated in 1956 and the remains of a 13th century medieval timber hall were uncovered. Further earthworks lie to the west of the monument. Their origin and function are not fully understood and they are therefore not included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

Medieval moat that contained a medieval hall with two phases of occupation, excavated in 1953-1954. The first structure was a C12 timber hall set within a roughly triangular enclosure. This was later replaced by a larger, stone-built hall within a larger enclosure. Pottery of mid C12 to late C13 date was also found, along with Neolithic and Roman artifacts. (PastScape)

Excavation in 1953/4 by Thompson for the MOW (because of a proposal to level the site) established that there were two phases of mediaeval occupation:-
I) A 12th century timber-built hall within a roughly triangular enclosure. The small bank and ditch showed no traces of defences and it may have been merely to contain stock.
II) A larger stone-built hall within a much enlarged defensive enclosure.
Pottery found represents a period from the middle of the 12th to the end of the 13th centuries, and documentary evidence seems to confirm that the site was abandoned before the end of the 13th century. A Roman coin and sherds of Crambeck ware were also found, as well as Neolithic flints, including a leaf-shaped arrowhead. (PastScape ref. Thompson)

Has been called a castle by Renn but the first phase does not seem to have had defences of the strength of contemporary timber castles whilst the defensible later phase is more like that of what would usually be called a fortified manor house.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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