Earthwork remains of St Bartholomew's Church, High Risby


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016931

Date first listed: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Earthwork remains of St Bartholomew's Church, High Risby
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Roxby cum Risby

National Grid Reference: SE 91887 14697


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

Reasons for Designation

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little fabric of the first church being still easily visible. Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of 1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are identified to be nationally important.

The earthworks of St Bartholomew's Church will contain valuable archaeological information about the construction and design of rural medieval churches that has often been lost through renovation at churches which have continued in use. The monument is thought to include rare features of a Saxon church which was recorded in the Domesday Book. The church and surrounding churchyard will also contain medieval burials undisturbed by later inhumations and these will retain important information about the population of a small medieval village.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of St Bartholomew's Church and churchyard, located adjacent to the west of the farm at High Risby. The medieval settlement of High Risby extended to the north east, but is not included within the monument as few remains survive. Risby is one of the few places where the Domesday Book of 1087 lists the existence of a church. The main land holder in Risby was recorded as being Roger de Bully, who had possession of a church and priest in Risby along with 31 villagers, 2 smallholders and 31 freemen, all as part of an estate valued at ten pounds. Two smaller holdings in Risby were in the possession of the Bishop of Bayeux and St Peter's Abbey, Peterborough. The church is thought to have passed into the possession of Thornholme Augustinian Priory sometime after the mid-12th century until the priory's dissolution in 1536. Vicars continued to be instituted at St Bartholomew's until 1631; however, the vicarage was united with that of Roxby in 1662 and in 1696 Abraham de la Pryme recorded that only the church's foundations remained. In addition he noted that the earthworks of the depopulated village could also be seen. The earthworks of the church measure approximately 35m east-west and 15m north-south and survive up to 1.5m high, rising to their highest at the eastern end. They indicate the position of the church walls which had dimensions of approximately 30m long and 10m wide. The church lacked transepts, although Abraham de la Pryme recorded that the church had a tower which the earthworks suggest must have been sited on the main axis of the church. The adjoining churchyard is flat, very slightly higher than the surrounding ground and defined by a stony bank up to 0.8m high. It measures 60m north- south and 95m east-west at its greatest extent. The northern and eastern sides are straight and form an obtuse angle, with the remainder of the circuit completed in three curving sections. The post and wire fence is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 32630

Legacy System: RSM


SMR record cards, North Lincolnshire SMR, 1989, (1998)

End of official listing