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Kirkbymoorside, Stutevilles Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Kirkby Moorside; Vivars Hill; Viviers Hill; Vivers Hill

In the civil parish of Kirkbymoorside.
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: SE69968678
Latitude 54.27190° Longitude -0.92720°

Kirkbymoorside, Stutevilles Castle has been described as a probable Timber Castle, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The remains of the moated manor house site on Vivers Hill, overlooking the church and centre of Kirbymoorside. The scheduling includes all earthwork remains of the moat with associated banking, together with the terraced island with buried remains of the house and associated features. The earthwork remains of the 19th century reservoir, which lies adjacent to the north west, are not included in the scheduling. The moated manor house site known as Vivers Hill Castle was inhabited by the Stuteville family by 1200. From this date, the ownership of the manor of Kirbymoorside (which included Farndale, Bransdale and Gillamoor) is well documented, changing ownership a number of times. In the early 15th century, ownership passed to the Neville family who owned a hunting lodge sited 0.5km to the north west (Neville's Castle, which is the subject of a separate scheduling). However it is believed that the manor on Vivers Hill had been abandoned in favour of this new site before the 15th century. The monument is sited on a hillside just below the spring line. The moat is a well preserved earthwork with a ditch typically over 2.5m deep and 8m wide with a slight bank on its external side. It encloses a roughly rectangular island, c.90m by 70m, which is slightly raised and divided into three west facing terraces. This island contains a number of low earthwork features, especially on the two uppermost terraces, which are interpreted to be the remains of buildings and other features. The lowest terrace is noticeably flat and may have been a garden. The moat ditches on the north and south sides of the island run downhill and would not have contained standing water. Instead these would have been purposefully designed for drainage, the south ditch still acting as a seasonal stream course. The east and west moat ditches follow the contours of the hillside and would have contained standing water. These, especially the uphill eastern ditch which broadens to a still quite boggy c.15m wide area, are considered to have formed fishponds. Approximately 20m to the east of the main moat there is a c.5m wide ditch that runs north west to south east, parallel to the edge of the eastern fishpond. The area between this second moat ditch and the fishpond also retains a number of low earthworks amongst the trees. (Scheduling Report)

Despite appearing quite close to the church the hillside is steep here and access to the site is difficult, particularly in wet weather. However the site is overlooked to the north and east and is not particularly defensible. The site is clearly visible from the town which would not be the case if this castle had been more defensibly located. The result is a castle that dominates the town visually.
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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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