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Name:John of Gaunt’s Castle, Haverah Park
NY SMR Number:MNY21049
Type of record:Building
Last edited:May 11 2018 1:10PM

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument () 29547: Medieval royal hunting lodge known as John of Gaunt's Castle, immediately NW of Haverah Park Top
Grid Reference:SE 219 545
Parish:Haverah Park [6119]; Harrogate

Monument Type(s):

  • HUNTING LODGE (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1539 AD?)

Other References/Statuses

  • AMIE Reference / HOB UID: 51828 JOHN OF GAUNTS CASTLE
  • National Monuments Record: SE25SW2

Full description

The monument includes the standing ruins, earthworks and buried remains of a royal hunting lodge known as John of Gaunt's Castle. The monument is situated on a spur of land projecting north into the valley now occupied by the Beaver Dyke reservoirs.

The monument was a royal hunting lodge for the medieval park of Haverah lying within the Forest of Knaresborough. It would serve as a royal residence and administrative centre when the king was hunting in the forest. The first reference to the lodge was in 1333 when substantial repairs were carried out to what was an already established building. Haverah Park was created in the late 12th century and the lodge may date to this time. The 1333 repairs also included the construction of a moat. The lodge was in the king's hands until 1372 when it was acquired by John of Gaunt.

The hunting lodge took the form of a stone tower standing on a square- shaped platform surrounded by a moat with a large outer bank. The tower no longer stands, but the foundations for it survive as prominent earthworks. Records from 1333 show that the building had a chapel, a hall and a queen's chamber and was roofed with lead. Remains of a shallow ditch 2m wide, surround the base of the tower. At the southern edge of the platform are the remains of a gatehouse. This was a stone structure built across the north end of a causeway spanning the moat. Two sections of masonry from the gatehouse still survive up to 3m high.

The moat surrounding the platform is 4m wide and 2m deep. The east and west outer banks are substantial, measuring 12m in width with steep sides up to 2m high. At the north there is only a low outer bank grading into the natural fall of the land. At the south side there is a wide flat topped bank with a short slope to the rear. The inner faces of the moat were revetted with stone, one section of which is exposed within the south east angle of the moat.

At the south east of the outer bank two stone chambers have been built into the slope. One of these still has an arched roof surviving and both have the remains of a narrow access chute at the north end. These are interpreted as being for storage of root crops, game or possibly ice and are associated with the now semi-ruined post-medieval farm complex built adjacent to the monument (5).

Sources and further reading

<1>SNY1 - Card Index: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Record Card. Various authors. SE25SW002.
<2>SNY9534 - Database File: Harrogate Museums and Arts Community Archaeology Project. 2005. Nidderdale Prehistory. Access Database. 61071009.0000.
<3>SNY11754 - Report: Ed Dennison Archaeological Services. 10/2007. English Heritage Buildings at Risk (2004) Project, North Yorkshire. John of Gaunt's, Haverah Park. Photographic Survey and Archaeological Observations. Richardson, S, Dennison, E. 2007/10/30.
<4>SNY11768 - Article: Ed Dennison Archaeological Services. 2007. Recent Work on Some North Yorkshire Castles. Dennison, E & Richardson S. 2007/11/23.
<5>SNY19369 - Catalogue: Historic England (formerly English Heritage). 2011-Ongoing. The National Heritage List for England (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/).

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