Blesswell Grange


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008815

Date first listed: 21-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Blesswell Grange
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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.

County: Leicestershire

District: Melton (District Authority)

Parish: Eaton

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

End of official listing