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Markenfield Hall

OS grid reference:- SE 294 673

Markenfield Hall was built in the early fourteenth century and still retains its moat, it is one of the finest surviving country houses from that era in England. The hall is siituated 3 miles (5 km) to the south of Ripon.

Markenfield Hall

The Markenfield estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086, by 1150 the estate was owned by the Le Bret family who adopted the name de Markenfield. A house existed on the site at that time.

The present house was built by John de Markenfield, Chancellor of the Exchequer during the reign of Edward II and a friend of Piers Gaveston. Sir Thomas Markefield, High Sheriff of Yorkshire, fought with King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

In 1569 Thomas de Markenfield became involved in the Rising of the North which planned to depose the Protestant Elizabeth I and replace her with her Catholic cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. On 20 November 1569 the rebels met in the courtyard at Markenfield Hall. They heard Mass in the chapel prior to setting out on their attempt to overthrow the queen. The rebellion failed and de Markenfield was forced to flee to the Low Countries. Markenfield Hall was confiscated and granted to Thomas Egerton, Master of the Rolls. In 1761 it was purchased by Fletcher Norton, 1st Baron Grantley. The property descended to the 7th Lord Grantley who began a restoration project in 1980.

The manor house is approached through farm buildings and across a moat. The earliest part of the house was built around 1230, with its Undercroft consisting of the three surviving vaulted rooms. A sixteenth century gatehouse provides access to the courtyard. The L-shaped main block stands on the north side of the courtyard.

The Great Hall, which dates to around 1280, was originally accessed by an external staircase which has since been demolished, the room has large windows with Gothic tracery and houses the library and archive. The chapel is situated in the cross-wing and has a traceried east window and picscina. To the north is the medieval solar or great chamber. From the chapel an original spiral staircase leads up to the roof.

Markenfield Hall is open for public tours during specific periods, for groups by appointment, and is also available for weddings.


3 miles South of Ripon on the A61 Ripon to Harrogate Road.

Historic Buildings of Yorkshire