After the Rising of the North
We know something of the form of the Markenfield Hall from the commissioners’ survey of 21st April 1570 after Thomas Markenfield had been attainted and the family expelled from the Hall, as follows:
As Norton’s house lies two miles from Ripon, N.E., Mr Markenfield’s is one [sic] mile S.W. An ancient house, built all in stone, to the outward show fair and stately; the hall and the lodging side embattled, more in length than breadth, and three* sides environed with an evil moat; but the house is served with a conduit very plentifully. Against the entry of the court is built the hall and kitchen, on the right of the court the lodgings, and the left the stables, brewhouses, and offices.
The hall and lodgings arte all vaults and were first built all about one high room. Besides the vaults the walls are of a great height, without order, whereof part is divided at the mid-transom of the window, so that the rooms are all out of order.
The house is placed in a park of the like quality with Mr Norton’s, but better ground, and well planted with large timber. There is a demesne adjoining of 800 acres, with no quantity of water meadow, but much hay is made in seasonable years.
*A moat on three sides could hardly have been intended for defence. The fourth side, most likely that to the west of the Hall, was presumably dug out later, accounting for the bank of earth that runs most of its length.
Most of the history of Markenfield Hall before the Norton ownership is unknown due to the lack of any archival evidence. The known history has been gathered from secondary sources. We lack primary evidence such as estate papers and accounts, maps and the daily more mundane details of the running of the house and estate.
All that is known of any written records is that in around 1601:
‘A Mr Johnson of Ripon removed from Markenfield 79 boxes of evidence, 1 little coffer and 2 littell bagges by commission (and to deliver) the same to the Exchequer’
It was thought that these boxes may be held in the National Archive at Kew but as yet such searches have proved to be in vain.