Monastic grange east of Manor Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014768

Date first listed: 13-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Monastic grange east of Manor Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: Daventry (District Authority)

Parish: Cold Ashby

National Grid Reference: SP 65623 76506


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.

The site of the important Cistercian grange to the east of Manor Farm survives in a good condition as earthworks. These provide evidence for the layout of the buildings and working areas of this complex site, while associated buried deposits will retain information about the function of the grange and the fluctuations in its economy. The site also includes several intact agricultural closes and other outlying earthwork features, including the hollow way in the northern part of the site, which are connected with medieval land division and management. These features illustrate the way in which the grange was incorporated into the surrounding agricultural community. Our understanding of the site also benefits from the survival of contemporary documentation.


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


The monument is situated to the north of Main Street on the northern outskirts of the village of Cold Ashby. It includes the earthwork and buried remains of a monastic grange and part of a hollow way. Throughout much of the medieval period the grange at Cold Ashby is thought to have belonged to either Pipewell abbey, a monastery of the Cistercian order, or Sulby abbey and documentary sources indicate that it was of considerable size and importance. The northern and eastern boundaries to the monastic grange are defined by ditches and low banks whilst Main Street is thought to represent the original southern boundary of the grange. This southern area is now occupied by houses, their respective gardens and a graveyard and it is not included in the scheduling. The original western extent of the grange is not known and Bridle Lane forms the present boundary to the grange earthworks. The central, southern part of the site forms the core of the monastic grange and includes small paddocks within which are a number of building platforms. These platforms are approximately 0.75m higher than the surrounding ground surface and are considered to represent the sites of buildings associated with the grange, including the monks' domestic accommodation, probably a chapel, and several agricultural buildings. Documentary references indicate that one of the buildings remained standing at the site during the early 18th century. To the west, north and east of the building platforms are five large rectangular closes which are bounded by low scarps and 0.25m high banks. These fields provide evidence for the agricultural activities of the grange. Immediately to the north of the grange's northern boundary are the earthwork remains of a hollow way which is 10m wide and 0.5m deep. It is visible running eastwards from Bridle Lane at the north western corner of the site to Naseby Road at the north east corner. There is slight evidence to indicate that the hollow way continues eastwards beyond Naseby Road in a mutilated form, but this section is not included in the scheduling. Immediately to the north of the hollow way are the remains of further earthworks which are believed to define several paddocks and are included in the scheduling.

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: 17133

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, , The County of Northamptonshire, (1981), 53

End of official listing