Site of Heynings Priory


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008685

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1993


Ordnance survey map of Site of Heynings Priory
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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 - 1008685 .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 24-Jan-2019 at 04:09:43.


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

County: Lincolnshire

District: West Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Knaith

National Grid Reference: SK 84621 85353


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A nunnery was a settlement built to sustain a community of religious women. Its main buildings were constructed to provide facilities for worship, accommodation and subsistence. The main elements are the church and domestic buildings arranged around a cloister. This central enclosure may be accompanied by an outer court and gatehouse, the whole bounded by a precinct wall, earthworks or moat. Outside the enclosure, fishponds, mills, field systems, stock enclosures and barns may occur. The earliest English nunneries were founded in the seventh century AD but most of these had fallen out of use by the ninth century. A small number of these were later refounded. The tenth century witnessed the foundation of some new houses but the majority of medieval nunneries were established from the late 11th century onwards. Nunneries were established by most of the major religious orders of the time, including the Benedictines, Cistercians, Augustinians, Franciscans and Dominicans. It is known from documentary sources that at least 153 nunneries existed in England, of which the precise locations of only around 100 sites are known. Few sites have been examined in detail and as a rare and poorly understood medieval monument type all examples exhibiting survival of archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

The site of Heynings priory has never been excavated archaeologically, and post-medieval activity on the site has been of limited impact, largely overlying rather than destroying earlier remains. Substantial earthworks, buried walls and finds of human burials indicate a good state of preservation below ground.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of the medieval nunnery of Heynings, a priory of Cistercian nuns founded after 1135 and dissolved in 1539. The remains include part of the inner precinct, most of the outer precinct and associated earthworks. The remains of the inner precinct of the nunnery lie beneath the present farmhouse, farmbuildings, yards and gardens of Park Farm South. The farmhouse and adjacent farmbuildings stand on a slightly raised platform which preserves remains of the conventual buildings and cemetery. The buried foundations of stone walls and finds of medieval pottery and tile from the lawn south of the house indicate the location of the conventual buildings, and a number of burials from the area of the adjacent farmbuildings indicate the site of the conventual cemetery. The precinct is bounded on the west by a stream. In the north-west corner a fragment of the boundary moat visibly survives, with associated ditches. On the east the precinct is bounded by the remains of a medieval headland. The outer precinct of the nunnery, immediately adjacent to the north of the inner precinct, survives as an area of earthworks within a paddock between the farmhouse and road. The earthworks represent the remains of monastic outbuildings, including a barn, which have been subjected to stone-robbing since their abandonment. Lying approximately at the centre of the precinct enclosure are the earthwork remains of a large rectangular building, partly overlain by a pair of modern cottages. A hollow way leads from this building out of the precinct towards Park Farm North. The precinct is bounded on the west and north-west by a ditch, and on the east by the remains of a medieval headland. The headland is overlain by ridge-and-furrow which also extends across the easternmost part of the precinct. Adjacent to the outer precinct on the north is a small area of associated earthworks. These include the hollow way running north-west from the precinct boundary. In the north-east corner of the site is a group of earthworks representing a small settlement site partly overlying the precinct boundary. The present farmhouse, farmbuildings, cottages and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is 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: 22603

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Knowles, D , Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, (1971)
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Lincolnshire: Volume II, (1906)
RCHM(E), Everson, P L and Taylor C C and Dunn, C J, Change And Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, (1991)

End of official listing