Scheduled Monument: Nether Poppleton medieval moated site, fishponds and earthworks around and associated with St Everilda's Church (1014621)

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Authority Department of Culture Media and Sport
Other Ref 28234, 1072
National Ref 1014621
Date assigned 23 October 1973
Date last amended 31 January 1997

Description

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in Britain in AD 597 churches became an increasingly established feature of the settled landscape. The majority were established on land given to the leading ecclesiastics of the day, the grantors often being royalty. The church soon established itself as a major power within society; this power being reflected in the building complexes it constructed. The church also established a hierarchy with different establishments having differing functions and status. St Everilda's at Nether Poppleton is a good example of an early church site of high status, probably being a monastic site. The associated complex of buildings appears to have been large and would have included the large halls characteristic of high status Anglo-Saxon sites. The construction of the moated site to the north of the earlier complex confirms the continued importance of the site in the medieval period. Moated sites consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry land on which stood domestic or religious buildings. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. There are often ancillary features and buildings located outside the ditches. Moated sites form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains. The moated site at Nether Poppleton survives well and evidence of date and function will be preserved within the platforms and ditches. The fishponds to the east will preserve significant remains including environmental evidence and are important for a fuller understanding of the economic and domestic functions of the moated site. The complex of remains at Nether Poppleton is important in preserving a sequence of remains which assist the understanding of the development of the earliest ecclesiastical establishment and the evolution of the site through to the medieval period. Details The monument includes a medieval moated site, a sample of the surrounding medieval field system, a group of associated fishponds and part of the high status Anglo-Saxon settlement complex which preceded it. It lies immediately adjacent to the Church of St Everilda which itself has Saxon origins. The monument lies 5km north west of York and is located on the south bank of the River Ouse on the north eastern edge of Nether Poppleton. St Everilda's Church is traditionally considered to have been founded during the seventh century. The evidence suggests that the site had been a Northumbrian royal estate which St Wilfred (Bishop of York c.660-691) passed to Everilda. Everilda is known to have established a nunnery on land given to her by Wilfred which, by her death in c.700, had 80 inhabitants. The Domesday Book records that Oddi, the deacon, held a substantial estate at Poppleton before 1066 and that this land was Everilda's. By the early Norman period the church had an unusual cruciform layout, indicating a high status as would befit a nunnery. The earliest features of the site were the church and a surrounding cluster of buildings used for religious, domestic and administrative functions which, given the standing of the church, would have been on a grand scale. The complex was likely to have included large halls similar to structures found elsewhere on high status Anglo-Saxon sites. This cluster of early buildings subsequently influenced the development and layout of Nether Poppleton. In particular Church Lane followed a route to the church which respected the position and extent of the existing complex. The larger settlement at Nether Poppleton developed as a regular or planned village in the early Norman period. The impetus for this was probably the acquisition of the church by St Mary's Abbey, York, in the late 11th century. Much of the form and fabric of the current church dates to rebuilding during this period. The medieval moated site and its fishponds were created between the 12th and early 13th centuries immediately north of the church and its related complex of buildings. Moated sites usually served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences, indicating that the settlement associated with St Everilda's Church was considered important well into the medieval period. The moated site consists of a rectangular platform enclosed by a ditch or moat with an outer counterscarp bank to the north. The platform measures 110m east to west by 45m north to south. The moat varies in depth from 1m on the south side to up to 3m on the remaining sides. The moat is up to 15m wide at the top, sloping down to measure 2m wide at the base. The counterscarp bank to the north is 10m wide and 1m high. A second smaller and more irregular platform lies to the east of the main platform separated from it by the eastern moat. There are low banks and a shallow moat round this second platform which on the south side appears to have been filled in. The fishponds lie on the land sloping down from the east of the moat. They extend eastward for 140m ending at the railway line. They remain visible as a linear depression divided into a series of tanks. The westernmost section is a prominent earthwork up to 1.5m deep and 65m long, and is 25m wide at its west end, tapering to a rounded end 5m wide at the fence crossing the field from north to south. At this point there is an irregular earthwork measuring 40m by 20m and forming a further pond. The fishponds continue eastward and can be identified as a broad depression, partly infilled in places, ending at a further hollow 30m wide by 60m long and up to 0.75m deep. This last pond is truncated by the fence line and the disturbed ground beyond. In the orchards to the south of the moat a number of linear earthworks are visible. These include a ditch extending southwards adjacent to the west wall of the orchard and an embankment extending east to west along the south side of the moat. The exact nature and function of these earthworks is not yet fully understood. They are probably medieval in date and relate to wider activity around the moated site but they may also relate to earlier Saxon activity. In the field to the east of the churchyard a large raised platform measuring around 50m east-west by 80m north-south extends from the churchyard wall. It predates the present churchyard boundary, and the eastern extent of the present churchyard must overlie part of this platform. It is surrounded by a slight ditch and is interpreted as medieval in date. Buildings associated with the moated site and church will have occupied the level platform. To the east of this platform ridge and furrow earthworks, the remains of the medieval field system, extend east to west and are truncated on their eastern side by the railway embankment. St Mary's Abbey held the site from 1088 until the dissolution in 1540, although throughout this period the site was leased out. During this period works were undertaken, including the rebuilding of the church and the construction of the moat and its internal structures. In the late 15th century a timber frame barn was built to the south of the site. The barn, known as Rupert's Barn after it was used to billet Royalist troops prior to the Battle of Marston Moor during the Civil War in 1644, still survives, although it was altered in the 18th century. St Everilda's Church and its graveyard remain in ecclesiastical use and are not included in the scheduling. Rupert's Barn, which is Listed Grade II, also lies outside the monument. All walls, fences, gates and the surface of tracks, drives and yards are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included. Selected Sources Book Reference - Title: The Archaeology of Nether Poppleton; NYCC Evaluation - Date: 1989 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: QP 52HO308 Book Reference - Title: The Archaeology of Nether Poppleton; NYCC Evaluation - Date: 1989 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: QP52HO308 Book Reference - Title: The Archaeology of Nether Poppleton; NYCC Evaluation - Date: 1989 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: QP52HO308/3-6 Book Reference - Author: Addyman P V - Date: 1989 - Type: PERS COMM Book Reference - Author: Addyman P V - Date: 1989 - Type: PERS COMM - Description: Comment in letter on file Book Reference - Author: Butler and Morris (Eds) - Title: The Anglo Saxon Church - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: CBA Research Report number 60 - Volume: No. 60 - Page References: p48 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Butler and Morris (Eds) - Title: The Anglo-Saxon Church - Date: 1986 - Journal Title: CBA Research Report number 60 - Volume: No. 60 - Page References: 48 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Falkenham G - Title: Parish Survey of Nether and Upper Poppleton - Date: 1989 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Falkingham G - Title: Parish Survey of Nether and Upper Poppleton - Date: 1989 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Farmer DH - Title: Oxford Dictionary of Saints - Date: 1982 - Page References: 145 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Le Patourel H E J - Title: The Moated Sites of Yorkshire - Date: 1973 - Page References: 19 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Le Paturel H E J - Title: The Moated Sites of Yorkshire - Date: 1973 - Page References: 19 - Type: DESC TEXT Book Reference - Author: Palliser DM - Date: 1990 - Type: PERS COMM Book Reference - Author: Palliser DM - Date: 1990 - Type: PERS COMM - Description: Comment in letter on file Book Reference - Author: Taylor C C - Date: 1990 - Type: PERS COMM - Description: Comment in letter on file Book Reference - Author: Taylor CC - Date: 1990 - Type: PERS COMM

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Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SE 5643 5515 (398m by 264m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SE55NE
Civil Parish Nether Poppleton, City of York, North Yorkshire
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Record last edited

Apr 8 2021 12:43PM

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