Monastic grange and water control features immediately south of Thrussington Grange


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016316

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Monastic grange and water control features immediately south of Thrussington Grange
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Feb-2019 at 18:23:47.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Leicestershire

District: Charnwood (District Authority)

Parish: Thrussington

National Grid Reference: SK 64395 18339

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 earthwork remains of the monastic grange south of Thrussington Grange have been relatively undisturbed by later activity. Earthwork and buried remains at the site survive well and will provide evidence for the secular and agricultural buildings which were constructed at the grange. Archaeological deposits will also retain information about the economy and environment of the site during the medieval and early post-medieval periods.


The monument is situated approximately 2km north of the village of Thrussington on the west side of Ox Brook. It includes the earthwork and buried remains of a monastic grange, associated water control features and an area of ridge and furrow cultivation. The grange at Thrussington belonged to the Gilbertine priory at Sempringham in Lincolnshire and occupies a roughly rectangular area. It is bounded on three sides by 5m wide ditches and on the fourth, eastern side, by a former course of Ox Brook. The course of the brook has altered over the years and now lies further east. In the north western part of the site, the boundary ditch is not visible on the ground surface but will survive as a buried feature. The area thus enclosed measures approximately 300m east-west and 140m north-south. The grange can be divided into two parts: the eastern part, which forms the core of the grange and includes levelled terraces and a number of building platforms; and the western part, which includes a number of enclosures defined by a series of boundary banks and ditches. In the north eastern part of the site are the remains of two terraces; the western one is well-defined and is occupied by two raised building platforms, whilst several hollows are visible within the eastern terrace. Slight earthworks on the surfaces of these terraces are thought to indicate the position of buried features. The eastern part of the grange is considered to have included the monks' domestic accommodation, probably a chapel and several agricultural buildings. In the western and southern parts of the monument a number of enclosure banks and ditches, and further terraces are visible. The defined enclosures or paddocks provide evidence for the agricultural activites of the grange. One enclosure, situated in the south western part of the grange, is bounded by a bank and ditch along its northern, western and eastern sides and by the grange's boundary ditch to the south. It measures approximately 65m square and retains evidence of ridge and furrow cultivation. A further enclosure is visible beyond the southern boundary ditch. It has a linear plan and is bounded along its northern side by the southern boundary ditch and by a slight bank to the south. This enclosure appears to overlie an area of ridge and furrow visible to the south of the grange and is, therefore, considered to be later in date than the ridge and furrow. Adjacent to the north east and south of the grange are the earthwork remains of ridge and furrow cultivation which are aligned east-west. These remains provide evidence for the land use beyond the boundary ditches of the grange and are thought to be contemporary with the occupation of the monastic grange. The ridge and furrow to the south extends southwards for approximately 40m and is included in the scheduling. A 26m wide sample area of that to the north east is also included in order to preserve the relationship between the monastic grange and the ridge and furrow. Approximately 50m to the north east of the grange is a retaining bank which has been constructed across the channel of the Ox Brook. The pond formed behind this bank, now dry, would have originally served as a supply pond of some extent. A 10m wide sample area of the floor of the pond is included in the scheduling. Immediately to the south west of the retaining bank is a levelled platform which is believed to include the buried remains of a watermill associated with the monastic grange. The pond would have originally provided the water supply to drive the mill's water-wheel. The platform has been overlain by later ridge and furrow cultivation, which is in turn partly overlain by a modern farm track. The bridge across the northern boundary ditch, the surface of the farm track and all fence posts 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: 17112

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of Central Leicestershire, (1989), 12,30

End of official listing