- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 08-Dec-2019 at 19:13:28.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Boston (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TF 33085 43632
Reasons for Designation
Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most
powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic
and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic
additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military
aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with
individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture
often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification
varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers,
gunports and crenellated parapets.
Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic
and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later
houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often
receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some
fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables,
brew houses, granaries and barns were located.
Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between
the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as
the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I
and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further
back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland
areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses
which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with
fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant
surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.
The medieval fortified house at Hussey Tower survives well as a series of standing remains and buried deposits. It has close architectural parallels with other medieval fortified houses located within a relatively small area of the fenland, and as such it will preserve valuable evidence of the way in which this group of high status sites inter-related as distinctive components of the medieval landscape. It is a rare example of the early use of locally produced brick.
The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the medieval brick
fortified house at Hussey Tower. The house is believed to have been built in
the mid- to late 15th century for Richard Bennington; `Richard Benyngton
Toure' being mentioned in a rental of 1489. The tower, a Listed Building Grade
II, was later owned by Lord Hussey, and following his death, in 1537, the
estate was granted to the Corporation of Boston. A gatehouse was demolished in
1565, and repairs were made to the remainder of the buildings, which were then
rented by Joseph Whiting. In the early 18th century further buildings were
dismantled including the domestic range adjoining the tower, and in 1728 the
lead and timber were removed from the tower.
The tower is rectangular with an octagonal stair turret projecting from the north east corner. The buried remains of a former range will survive immediately east of the tower. The tower measures approximately 9m by 8m, with walls 1m in width, and stands three storeys high with a portion of the crenellated parapet. The structure is chiefly of red brick, believed to have been locally produced, laid in English bond with some stonework used in the window and doorway dressings together with moulded and cut bricks. At ground floor level is a formerly rib-vaulted chamber which would have provided a storage area and is now entered by the doorway in the east wall. There are two blocked openings in the south wall, one of which is thought to represent an original doorway, and a fireplace in the north wall. A door in the north east corner of the chamber leads to the stair which gave access to each floor and to the roof of the tower. The staircase, also of brick, rises around a central pillar and includes a moulded inset handrail.
The first floor chamber has two stone dressed windows, one in the south and the other in the north wall, with brick relieving arches above. In the east wall there is a fireplace and the doorway which formerly led to the adjoining range. The second floor chamber has windows in the south and north walls, similar to the first floor windows, and there is a fireplace in the west wall. The first and second floor chambers would have provided private accommodation for the family.
The tower was formerly part of a larger building as shown by the bonding and roof scars of a two storey range on the exterior of the east wall of the tower. The range, forming part of the domestic accommodation, was slightly narrower than the tower with communicating doorways between the range and the tower at ground and first floor levels. The former range, running east from the tower, and associated features will survive as buried remains around the tower. Excavations around the tower have revealed brick footings on the west side of the tower, part of a small brick vault on the south side of the tower and an area of paving adjacent to the entrance.
The tower has close architectural parallels with three other brick-built fortified houses surviving within a small area; Rochford Tower, 3km to the east, Tower on the Moor at Woodhall Spa, and Tattershall Castle, all constructed during the same period. Richard Bennington was a prominent Lincolnshire man and was associated with Ralph Lord Cromwell, who was responsible for the brick-built fortified house at Tattershall, started in about 1434, and Tower on the Moor. Hussey Tower is thought to have been influenced by Tower on the Moor, probably as a result of the connections between Bennington and Cromwell. It is thought that the bricks were locally produced, supplied from a kiln at Boston.
All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Thompson, P, The History and Antiquities of Boston, (1856), 242-244
Smith, T P, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Hussey Tower, Boston: A Late Medieval Tower-House Of Brick, , Vol. 14, (1979), 31-37
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