Reasons for Designation
English Civil War fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during military
operations between 1642 and 1650 to provide temporary protection for infantry
or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced
with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in
complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and
interconnected trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks
or as crop- or soil-marks on aerial photographs. The circumstances and cost
of their construction may be referred to in contemporary historical documents.
Fieldworks are recorded widely throughout England with concentrations in the
main areas of campaigning. Those with a defensive function were often sited
to protect settlements or their approaches. Those with an offensive function
were designed to dominate defensive positions and to contain the besieged
There are some 150 surviving examples of fieldworks recorded nationally. All
examples which survive well and/or represent particular forms of construction
are identified as nationally important.
Although this monument has been altered by agricultural activity it survives
well. Evidence of its construction and the manner and duration of its usage
will survive, as may remains of the hall which it has been suggested that
these works enclosed.
The monument includes a 17th century earthwork fort situated on high ground
close to the road from the Humber to Boston and Kings Lynn, and within easy
reach of the road from Newark to the Humber via Gainsborough. It comprises a
rectangular earthen rampart with projecting bastions at each of its four
corners, an enclosing ditch, and a counterscarp bank.
The area enclosed by the rampart is 130m long, south-west to north-east, and
50m wide, south-east to north-west. The surrounding rampart is up to 1.5m
high, 6m wide at the base, and between 1m and 1.2m wide at the summit. A
square earthen bastion projects from each corner of the rampart. They are each
between 10 and 12m square. These bastions would have provided positions for
guns giving covering fire for the ramparts and gateways.
The waterlogged ditch is 8m wide and up to 2m deep and the counterscarp bank
which encloses it is up to 1m high and 3m wide. This bank has been eroded in
places by plough action.
Access is now afforded to the interior of the fort by two earth causeways
which cross the south-eastern and north-western arms of the ditches. Although
these causeways are not considered to be original features, being formed by
pushing part of the rampart into the ditch after the fort was abandoned, they
may mark the site of original access points or gateways.
The fort is believed to have enclosed a hall belonging to the Holles family.
The Holles family, ennobled by James I, was split by the Civil War; Denzil, an
MP, commanded Parliamentary troops, while his cousin Gervase, MP for Grimsby,
was a prominent supporter of Charles I. Such fortification of manors was
fairly common during the first English Civil War (1642-46), and is also
recorded in Humberside at Scorborough, home of the Hotham family.
The battle to control Lincolnshire was fiercely contested throughout late 1642
and 1643. For much of this time the king's forces controlled much of the
county and sought to prevent the Parliamentarians in Hull and Boston from
communicating and from moving troops up and down the county. It is likely
that this monument was built at about that time, by the king's forces, to keep
a watch on the major north-south routes.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.