Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008815
Date first listed: 21-Jul-1994
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 18:08:17.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Melton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SK 76808 26889
Reasons for Designation
A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th
century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution.
This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon
imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers
(secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident
labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were
specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms,
bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and
industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the
wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands
immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange.
Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands.
On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the
parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular
farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the
size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the
buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to
be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was
without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed
is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of
monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small
percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of
identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the
evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to
medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological
survival are identified as nationally important.
The grange site at Blesswell survives well and retains the foundations of many stone buildings which, together with the associated enclosures and a fishpond, comprise an important medieval complex.
The monument at Eaton, known as Blesswell Grange, is situated 1km north west
of the village of Goadby Marwood. It is a medieval grange site - an estate
farm belonging to a monastic institution - and contains the earthwork remains
of farm buildings, including a barn and a dovecote, associated enclosures, and
a fishpond bordering its western side.
The earthworks at Blesswell Grange are contained within an area measuring
approximately 300m x 150m situated alongside a north-south flowing stream. The
main focus of the site is on the highest ground towards the south east where a
group of rectangular earthworks up to 1.5m high represents the remains of the
principal farm buildings; on the eastern side, the most prominent earthwork
represents the remains of a barn. Associated with these remains are a series
of enclosures, bounded by banks and ditches, and other rectangular building
platforms to the west and to the north of the main group; a circular feature,
9m in diameter, has been identified as the remains of a dovecote. On the
western side of the site the stream was dammed to form a fishpond measuring
200m long and up to 50m wide. Part of this area has been modified by
quarrying, as has an area to the south of the main group of building remains,
but it is considered that archaeological information will be retained in these
areas and they are included in the scheduling.
Documentary evidence suggests that Blesswell Grange was in existence by the
end of the 12th century as a grange of Garendon Abbey in Leicestershire. The
field is identified as `Grange Field' on the tithe map of 1843. The outlines
of stone buildings have been visible beneath the turf from the air in dry
conditions as parch marks in recent years.
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: 17110
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1987), 9,23
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