Remains of medieval monastery, moated manor house, fishponds and post-medieval garden


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1008317.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 16-Oct-2021 at 22:46:48.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Kesteven (District Authority)
South Kyme
National Grid Reference:
TF 16942 49622

Reasons for Designation

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England. These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout, although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning, and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 225 of these religious houses belonged to the order of St Augustine. The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they came to be known as `black canons' because of their dark coloured robes and to distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. From the 12th century onwards, they undertook much valuable work in the parishes, running almshouses, schools and hospitals as well as maintaining and preaching in parish churches. It was from the churches that they derived much of their revenue. The Augustinians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

Around 6000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally waterfilled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. The majority of moated sites served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

The adjacent sites of the Augustinian priory and moated manor house at South Kyme represent contemporary and interrelated features of the medieval landscape. The remains of the priory include both earthworks surviving in good condition, and valuable, related buried deposits indicated by substantial cropmarks visible from the air. The site preserves evidence of a long tradition of ecclesiastical activity from the early Anglo-Saxon period to the present and will provide rare insights into the interrelated development of the monastic site and its adjoining secular centre from the Anglo-Saxon to the post-medieval periods. The moated site itself is rare in including impressive contemporary architectural remains surviving in good condition. The monument also preserves evidence of the relationship between the medieval manor house and its post-medieval successor, with formal gardens and other earthworks.


The monument includes the remains of a priory for Augustinian canons, founded by Philip de Kyme in the mid-12th century on the site of an Anglo-Saxon establishment. It received further endowments but retained a small population of nine to twelve canons. After the dissolution in 1539 the site passed to the king and the priory church was adapted for use as a parish church. Adjacent to the south are the remains of the moated manor house of the Kymes and their descendants, the Umfravilles, who fortified it in the mid-14th century. The house was largely dismantled in the early 18th century and a new house and garden constructed to the east. The monument includes the buried remains of the medieval monastery and its Anglo-Saxon predecessor, the standing remains of the fortified manor house, the earthworks of the moat and fishponds and the remains of the post-medieval garden.

The monument is situated at and around the present church and manor of South Kyme which lie on the west side of the village on the north bank of the River Slea. The Church of St Mary and All Saints is a Listed Building Grade II* and excluded from the scheduling. This church incorporates fragments of the priory church including the western part of the south aisle, the south western part of the nave and the south porch. Surrounding the church in the northern part of the churchyard is an area of earthworks including two raised rectangular platforms standing approximately 0.5m above the rest of the churchyard. Building foundations were revealed in this area in the last century. This is the site of the southern part of the medieval monastic church including the south transept and chancel. Fragments of Anglo-Saxon sculpture discovered during restoration of the church in the late 19th century indicate that the remains of the medieval priory church overlie those of an earlier foundation.

To the north of the present church is an arable field known as Abbey Yard in which further remains of the Augustinian priory are located. Within this field, immediately to the north of the church is a raised area in which the northern parts of the medieval church, including the north transept, have been identified. Finds made in this field include building stone, floor tiles, stained glass and pottery fragments. Cropmarks visible from the air indicate the location of the remains of the priory's inner precinct, including a cloister and a series of enclosures bounded on the western, northern and eastern edges of the field by a moat with an internal bank.

To the west of the churchyard is an area of pasture in which a series of earthworks is evident. Immediately to the west of the church is a group of large building platforms; on the eastern side of this field is a group of fishponds; and on the north side of the road a linear depression with a broad, low bank on its northern side. These features represent further remains of the Augustinian priory, including part of the southern boundary of the precinct. The remains of the medieval period are partly overlain by traces of post-medieval activity.

Adjacent to the south of the remains of the priory, and separated from them by a causewayed lane, is a moated enclosure roughly triangular in form. The enclosure is bounded by a linear depression approximately 10m in width; the northern arm runs along the south side of the lane, meeting the eastern arm at right angles; this latter runs along the eastern side of the present Manor garden. The third arm curves from the western side of the monument south eastwards to run as a depression past the northern edge of the present stable block. These features represent the remains of a medieval moat surrounding the manor house. The eastern arm of the moat has been recut in post-medieval times to run into the present course of the River Slea. Near the centre of the moated enclosure stand the remains of a fortified manor house constructed by the Umfravilles in the mid-14th century. The remains include a stone tower approximately 23.5m in height with four storeys and a battlement. At ground floor level is a chamber with a vaulted stone ceiling and an inwardly splayed window in each of the east, west and north walls. This chamber is approached through a doorway in the south wall, which also provides access to a stair-turret occupying the south eastern corner of the tower. The stair-turret rises through all four storeys, lit by narrow slit windows and terminating at roof level in an elaborately carved stone boss. On the first floor is a single chamber with a simple traceried window in each wall, and a doorway in the south wall which formerly led into the first floor of an adjoining building. This chamber is now unroofed, and the positions of the two upper floors are marked by beam holes and by further traceried windows placed above those of the first floor. The position of the tower's roof is marked by a shallow gable within and at a lower level than the battlements, which rise around the stair-turret. On the external face of the south wall of the tower, at ground and first floor level, are a series of beam holes indicating the position of an adjacent two-storeyed structure believed to have been of timber construction. Cuts in the stonework of the east and west walls indicate the position of further adjacent structures, and there are low earthworks of buildings to the south and east of the tower. The tower is thus considered to have formed part of a complex of buildings, originally a dwelling incorporating a timber hall to the south and later including additions to the east and west. These remains, representing the mid-14th century manor house of the Umfravilles, are believed to overlie those of an earlier manor house occupied by the Kymes, who refounded the adjacent priory 200 years earlier.

To the south of the moated enclosure is an area of low-lying pasture on the north bank of the river. Traces of channels are visible as earthworks running parallel with the southern arm of the moat and southwards from it into the river. These channels represent a series of water-control features designed to divert the main course of the river away from the moated site, and are probably late medieval or early post-medieval in date.

To the east of the moated enclosure is a further area of pasture; in the northern part of the field is a series of low earthworks representing the remains of a formal garden, including a raised L-shaped terrace. This garden is believed to have been laid out in the early 18th century, when the medieval manor house was abandoned and the present Manor constructed. In the southern part of the field are a pair of large interconnected ponds aligned east-west and linked to the moated site by a series of earthwork channels. These two ponds are considered to lie on an earlier course of the river; they were originally constructed in medieval times and later altered to become a feature in the post-medieval garden. In the southernmost part of the field is a regularly laid out area of low-lying land with water-control ditches running across it from north to south. They may have been seasonally filled pond bays deliberately created when the course of the river was moved southwards.

Excluded from the scheduling are the present Manor, which is Listed Grade II, associated outbuildings and the Church of St Mary & All Saints, although the ground beneath these features is included. The standing remains of Kyme Tower, which is Listed Grade 1, are included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Knowles, D , Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, (1971), 141-475
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Lincolnshire: Volume II, (1906), 172-174
Taylor, H M, J , , Anglo Saxon Architecture, (1965), 365-366
Trollope, E, Sleaford, and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Arwardhun, (1872), 249-262
Trollope, E, Sleaford, and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Arwardhun, (1872), 249
Trollope, E, Sleaford, and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Arwardhun, (1872), 249-262
'Archaeological Journal' in Archaeological Journal, , Vol. XLIII, (1886), 61
Kirk, C, 'Assoc'd Architectural & Archaeological Societies' Reps. & Papers' in Kyme and its Tower, , Vol. XVI, (1881), 27-31
Stocker, D, 'Pre-Viking Lindsey' in The Early Church in Lincolnshire, , Vol. 1, (1993), 112-113
Everson, P. and D.A. Stocker, Lincolnshire, forthcoming
farmer's wife, Lamyman, Mrs., (1992)
Phillips, C W, (1930)
ref. AP 37-40, Peach, Alison, (1990)
Title: Source Date: Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
White, A J, Kyme Priory,
White, A J, Kyme Tower,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].