Moated site of Newhall Grange
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1009981
Date first listed: 15-Dec-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: South Holland (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TF 19529 26987
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
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.
Newhall Grange moated site survives very well, having undergone little disturbance by later activity, and it will retain varied archaeological information concerning the construction, organisation and use of the site as a manor and grange belonging to Spalding Priory during the medieval period. Evidence of the house which stood on the site, and of structures adjoining or surrounding it, will be preserved below the ground surface, and waterlogged deposits in the moat ditches will contain organic remains including environmental material. Evidence of earlier land use will be preserved beneath the raised surface of the central island. The existence of documentary records which provide further information on the grange gives the monument additional interest. The relationship of the monument to the adjacent medieval fen bank, and its proximity to another moated site and grange at Rigbolt House, less than 1km to the north in the neighbouring parish of Gosberton, are features of wider interest for the study of the medieval landscape in this part of the Fenland region.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes a moated site identified as Newhall Grange, belonging to
Spalding Priory. It is located alongside the medieval Newdyke, now known as
Beck Bank, on marine silts which were probably taken in from the fen in the
early 12th century.
The moated site is sub-rectangular in plan and has maximum overall dimensions of approximately 300m east-west by 293m north-south. A rhomboidal central island with internal dimensions of approximately 155m east-west by 93m north-south is surrounded by an inner and an outer moat, spaced between 23m and 80m apart, with a number of ditched enclosures between.
The surface of the central island is raised up to 1m above the prevailing ground level. The inner moat which encloses it is between 13m and 15m in width and has an overall depth of approximately 1.7m, including approximately 1.4m of silt deposits in the bottom. The outer moat is of similar form and width on three sides, and remains open to a depth of 1.5m, with a similar depth of silt. The moat ditches are wet at the bottom in many places, and the lower fill deposits are known to be permanently waterlogged. The northern arm of the outer moat is in use as a modern drainage dyke, although the modern dyke is wholly within the original moat ditch, which will survive as a buried feature. The entrance causeway was probably across the southern arm of the outer moat, in the area now partly obscured by standing farm buildings.
On the western side of the site, where the space between the inner and outer moat is narrowest, two drainage channels up to 1.2m deep lead from the north west and south west corners respectively of the inner moat into the adjacent arm of the outer moat. On the eastern side of the site, a series of ditches between and connected to the two moats divides the intervening area into a number of rectilinear closes. These ditches have been recorded in plan and, although recently they have been partly or wholly infilled, they survive as buried features, and some of them are still visible as slight linear hollows in the ground surface.
The first reference to the site is in a charter of 1229-1259, and between 1274 and 1295, Prior William de Littleport built a manor house there, from which the name of the site presumably derives. A description of the moated site dating from 1535 provides valuable detail as to its layout. Certain pastures and lands leased to Geoffrey Chambre by Prior Thomas Spalding are described as `lying wythout the mote of Newhall and all other houses or offices belongyng to the same .... and also all the ffyshyng and fowlyng in the little mote and the grete mote'. This can be taken to refer to the inner and outer moats visible as earthworks today. Certainly the arrangement of the earthworks suggests a central building, surrounded by an outer court with yards and closes, where agricultural buildings will have stood. All field boundary fences and gates within the area are excluded from the scheduling, as are derelict farm buildings on the southern edge of the site, and a water trough, with concrete standing and supply pipe, although the ground beneath all these feature is included.
MAP EXTRACT 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 20818
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Hallam, H E, Settlement and society, (1965)
Hayes, P P, Lane, T M, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 5: Lincolnshire Survey, The South West Fens, , Vol. 55, (1992), 117, 18
copy in FEP dossier, Ancliffe, V, (1979)
copy in FEP dossier: Pinchbeck (N)24, Healey, RH & Roffe, DR, Some medieval and later earthworks in South Lincolnshire: Newhall,
Dossier for H B M C, Fenland Evaluation Project: Lincolnshire, (1990)
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