Medieval moated site, settlement and cultivation remains, post-medieval park and garden, Thorpe Latimer


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010708

Date first listed: 18-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Medieval moated site, settlement and cultivation remains, post-medieval park and garden, Thorpe Latimer
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: North Kesteven (District Authority)

Parish: Helpringham

National Grid Reference: TF 13447 39673


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

Reasons for Designation

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches, often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some cases the islands were used for horticulture. 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 moated manorial site at Thorpe Latimer is associated with the remains of a small contemporary settlement and ridge-and-furrow cultivation which together represent an important period of expansion of arable into the marginal lands of the fen-edge which took place in the early Middle Ages. The manorial complex, settlement and cultivation remains survive in good condition as a series of earthworks and buried deposits preserved beneath a later park and garden. Archaeological deposits of both the medieval and post-medieval periods are likely to survive intact, and water-logging in part of the monument will preserve organic material such as timber, leather and food remains, which will provide an insight into the changing economic and social activity on the site.


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


The monument is located at Thorpe Latimer in a low-lying area at the edge of the south Lincolnshire fens. Thorpe Latimer is associated with the Latimer family, who established a manor here after the Norman Conquest; in the 18th century it was owned by Lord Willoughby de Broke. The remains take the form of a series of earthworks and buried deposits lying to the south, east and north of the present Thorpe Latimer House; they include the earthworks of a moated platform, believed to be the site of a medieval manor house of the Latimers, together with those of the medieval hamlet of Thorpe Latimer and associated ridge-and-furrow cultivation. The remains of the medieval period are partly overlain by post medieval features including a landscape park and garden.

The moated platform lies to the south of Thorpe Latimer House and is roughly rectangular in shape, measuring approximately 28m x 32m. The sides of the platform are steep, rising to a flattened rectangular area, approximately 15m x 20m, which stands about 3m above the level of the moat. Buried building material identified in this area is considered to represent the remains of the manor house around which the moat was first constructed. This dwelling was later succeeded by another building to the north of the moated site, outside the area of the scheduling, and the platform was reused as a garden. In the 19th century it was planted as an orchard.

The platform is surrounded by a rectangular water-filled moat varying between 7m and 13m in width. On the west and south west it is 10m wide, broadening to 20m in the south eastern corner; on the north and north east it is less regular, narrowing from approximately 16m in the north western corner to 7m on the east. The moat, like the platform it surrounds, is considered to be medieval in origin, although it has been re-cut in post medieval times both as a garden feature and for stock-watering. The moat is now crossed at the north eastern corner by a modern wooden footbridge, which is not included in the scheduling.

Adjacent to each of the west, south and east sides of the moat is an external bank. On the west it is low and flat and about 7m in width; on the east side it is less regular, and is broken about halfway along by a gap over 10m wide. Running eastwards from this opening is a linear depression about 0.3m deep and 5m wide with a low bank on each side. On the south side of the moat the external bank is slightly narrower, and at the south western corner it turns southwards to run along the eastern edge of a shallow linear depression about 8m wide and 40m long. This depression represents the remains of an outlet channel, now dry, which formerly linked the moat to a drain on the south. Where the channel meets the drain, at the southern edge of the field, the bank turns to run eastwards for a distance of about 100m and then northwards for about 60m to meet the linear depression running from the east side of the moat. Another bank runs northwards from this point for a distance of about 50m and then turns westwards; both banks are about 5m in width. There is a similar bank running north-south about 60m to the west of the moat, and an east-west bank to the south of it. These features represent the remains of a group of enclosures, further subdivided by small drainage channels, which surround and are aligned with the moat on the east, south and west sides; they are considered to be medieval in origin, representing closes for animals, gardens and orchards immediately associated with the moated manor.

The enclosures are partly overlain by later features of medieval and post medieval date. Running north-south about 25m to the west of the moat are the remains of a hollow way which formerly connected the manorial complex to the fields to the south. To the north west of the moat is a raised area, including a building platform, now partly overlain by a modern drive; this area is considered to be the site of outbuildings associated with the manor, such as agricultural and service buildings. Cutting through the southern bank of the moat and running southwards into the southern bank of the enclosure is a rectangular depression, about 10m wide, with a low bank on its western side; at its south eastern corner it is connected to a smaller, roughly circular depression. These features represent the remains of a small group of ponds added after the construction of the moat and associated enclosures. Adjacent to the west of the low bank which defines the western edge of the manorial complex are a group of four broad ridges, over 10m in width, aligned with the bank north-south. At the southern end of these ridges is a broad bank, also about 10m wide, running east-west; adjacent to it, at the southern edge of the paddock in which these remains lie, is a narrower bank about 5m wide. These features represent the remains of the south eastern corner of a field of ridge-and-furrow cultivation adjoining the manorial complex on the west. The broad east-west bank represents the remains of a headland, and the narrower bank of accumulated spoil from the drain to the south. This paddock, to the west of the moated site, was planted with trees in the post medieval period as a small park.

Adjacent to the east of the banks which define the eastern edge of the manorial complex is a large dry ditch, approximately 8m wide and 1m deep, which runs on a north-south alignment for a distance of over 170m. Directly east of the moat, where the enclosure banks are divided by an east-west depression, the ditch has been partially filled in to create a causeway. This ditch marks the limit of the manorial enclosures on the east and, where it turns eastwards around the present farmhouse garden, their north eastern limit. At this point it has been deepened to form a rectangular pond. On the north side of the pond is a raised area from which a broad linear bank runs northwards for a distance of about 140m, with a shallow ditch on its western side; this bank and ditch then run eastwards for a distance of 200m to the eastern edge of the field. Another bank runs along the eastern and southern edges of this field. The area thus enclosed, approximately rectangular in shape and measuring about 330m x 170m, contains the remains of ridge-and- furrow cultivation. The ridges are 6m-7m wide and stand to a height of over 0.5m; those in the south west part of the field run north-south for a distance of approximately 200m or 1 furlong. Adjacent to the north is a further area of ridge-and-furrow, running east-west from a bank on the east, in which the ridges are also 200m or 1 furlong in length. These features represent cultivation units of the medieval period, directly associated with the manor and its exploitation of the marginal land of the Kesteven fen-edge in the 12th and 13th centuries. In the post medieval period both areas of former cultivation were enclosed within a landscape park and planted with trees; the linear banks which enclose them on the east and south sides continued in use as the park boundary.

To the north of Thorpe Latimer House, and adjacent to the west of the principal areas of ridge-and-furrow remains, are a series of earthworks including a broad hollow way which runs northwards from the present farm buildings towards a bend in the Helpringham road. The hollow way represents an earlier, medieval, route between Thorpe Latimer and Helpringham which pre- dates the present route to the west. On each side of the hollow way are a series of small enclosures defined by banks and ditches. The enclosures are approximately rectangular in shape and vary between 20m and 70m in width. Adjacent to the enclosures in the westernmost part of the monument is a small pond. These earthworks represent the remains of the deserted medieval hamlet of Thorpe Latimer, the enclosures defining house plots grouped along each side of the street. The hollow way is considered to be contemporary with, and formerly connected to, the remains of the hollow way which lie on the west side of the moated manor site. This route went out of use in the post- medieval period after the desertion of the hamlet, when the site of the settlement was enclosed within the landscape park and the road was diverted to its present route on the west. The survival of a right-of-way, now obsolete, across the settlement enclosures is represented by a modern paved footpath running roughly parallel to the hollow way on the east; there is another former right-of-way across the enclosures on the west.

All fences, gates, gate-posts and troughs, and the modern gravel surfacing of the present drive, 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: 22626

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Beresford, M, Lost Villages of England, (1954), 360-363
White, W, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Lincolnshire, (1856)
White, W, Directory of Lincolnshire, (1872), 566
Foster, C W, 'The Lincolnshire Domesday and the Lindsey Survey' in Boroughs, Wapentakes, Villages And Other Places, , Vol. LRS 19, (1924), lxxiv
Platts, G, 'History of Lincolnshire' in Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire, , Vol. IV, (1985), 153-299
C.U. Collection of Aerial Photographs, Cambridge University Aerial Photography Unit, RC8-AN 184, 185, (1970)
Listed Building description 8/76, Department of the Environment, Thorpe Latimer House, (1976)
Listed Building description 8/76, Department of the Environment, Thorpe Latimer House, (1976)
owners, Watts, Mr. & Mrs. R., (1993)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6" Source Date: 1904 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Surveyed 1887, revised 1903-4
Title: Tithe Award Source Date: 1774 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Lincolnshire Archives
Watts, Mr & Mrs, (1993)

End of official listing