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SKIPSEA CASTLE

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A well-preserved motte and bailey castle, built between 1071 and 1086 by Drogo de Beauvriere, first of the Lords of Holderness. The castle served as the principle residence of the Lordship until about 1200, to be replaced by Burstwick, near their port at Hedon. A chapel existed by 1102 and a planted settlement known as Skipsea Brough is assumed to have been founded circa 1135, although first referred to between 1160 and 1175. In 1221Henry III ordered it to be slighted, although this may not have been carried out as the castle appears to have been occupied up to 1250. An enquiry of 1350 suggests that part of the bailey was used as pasture for livestock by that date. The site has never been excavated. Most of the monument survives in good condition as earthworks, with a short length of wall made of cobbles on the east side of the large motte; this possibly represents a fragment of a fore building. A ringwork surrounding the foot of the motte follows the edge of a low island, surrounded by low-lying boggy ground, which was drained before 1720. Field investigation suggests that a dam may have been built across a natural constriction circa 200m north of the motte to create a large mere that would have completed the defences on that side, though this may be an inland harbour. The bailey appears to have originally been horseshoe-shaped, but part has been levelled and overploughed. On the ridge to the sout-west, an enclosure formed by a massive bank and ditch but open on the side backing towards the motte and bailey, may be the site of Skipsea Brough. Though there is no clear evidence for settlement remains in the interior, a track passes through gateways at the south-east and north-west ends, suggesting that it controlled access as well as protecting the only side of the motte and bailey overlooked by higher ground. A cluster of houses outside the south-east entrance bears the name Skipsea Brough today. The site is now in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the English Heritage website.