Markenfield Hall

A recent archaeological survey has established that the Great Hall is older than the other buildings around the Courtyard. It was probably built about 1280 and was free standing. Thirty years later Canon John De Markenfield completed the building, when licence to crenellate (fortify) was given to him by King Edward the 2nd in 1310. John De MArkenfield held high office under the king, his family inter married with the greatest ruling houses of the North. They fought for the king at Agincourt, Bodsworth and Flodden while all the time increasing their wealth and national standing, but this powerful family was brought to its tragic end by their leadership of the Rising in 1539. This was the rebellion which following the dissolution of the Monasteries 30 years before in the reign of King Henry the 8th, was launched by many nobles and ordinary working people of Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland and Westmorland. Its object was the replacement of Queen Elizabeth the 1st by Catholic Mary Queen of Scots and thus in the North East at least to remain freedom to practice their Catholic faith and deny the attempt of the state to suppress it in place of Protestantism.
The rising was put down with great savagery. Over 200 who took part were hung drawn and quartered. The Markenfield family was forced to flee abroad and the hall was confiscated for high treason. The Hall became a tenanted farmhouse, its 250 years as a home of a great Yorkshire family was over.
For two centuries Markenfield was largely neglected and forgotten by its absentee landlords. In 1761 it was bought by Sir Fletcher Norton the first Lord Grantley a direct descendant of Sir Thomas Markenfield who had led the 1569 uprising. The Halls fortunes started to improve. The Grantley family still owns it and in 1980s embarked on a programme of restoration which is almost complete. The Hall built by John de Markenfield seven centuries ago is now a much loved family home once again, and still remains the only moated manor home in England. Its owners are still descendants of the Grantley family but now in the Curteis name.

Thanks to the owners of the Hall for allowing me to use this history from their own web site.