Belleau Manor moated site and dovecote


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019069

Date first listed: 19-Feb-1979

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Belleau Manor moated site and dovecote
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Belleau

National Grid Reference: TF 40205 78550, TF 40248 78392


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.

Dovecotes are specialised structures designed for the breeding and keeping of doves as a source of food and as a symbol of high social status. Most surviving examples were built in the period between the 14th and 17th centuries, although both earlier and later examples are documented. They were generally freestanding structures, square or circular in plan and normally of brick and stone, with nesting boxes built into the internal wall. They were frequently sited at manor houses or monasteries.

The moated site and dovecote at Belleau Manor survive well as a series of standing, earthwork and buried remains. The dovecote will contribute to our understanding of the domestic and economic activity of the manorial complex. In addition, waterlogging in the moat will preserve organic remains such as timber, leather and seeds, which will also provide valuable information about domestic and economic activity on the site. Associated with a well-known family and formerly part of a larger manorial complex which was occupied over a long period of time, the site contributes to our understanding of the development of a relatively high status component of the medieval and later landscape.


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


The monument, which is in two separate areas of protection, includes the medieval moated site and post-medieval dovecote at Belleau Manor. During the 14th and 15th centuries the manor of Belleau was held by the Welles family and subsequently passed to the Willoughby family. The medieval manor house, which formerly occupied the moated site, was said to be the seat of the Lords of Willoughby d'Eresby. This house was replaced in the 16th century by a hall, which following the Civil War belonged to Sir Harry Vane. The remains of the 16th century hall, with 18th and 20th century alterations, stand at the centre of the moated island and are now incorporated into a barn which is a Listed Building Grade II. A late 17th century Manor House with medieval features, thought to have been an extension to the hall, was demolished in 1978 but survives as a buried feature. A 20th century brick-built stable block, at the north edge of the island, includes a 16th century stone arch taken from the former gatehouse of the manor and is also a Listed Building Grade II.

The island is rectangular in plan measuring approximately 140m by 95m and is surrounded by a moat measuring up to 14m in width. The moat is water-filled to the west, south and north east; part of the eastern and northern arms have been infilled but survive as buried features. The western and southern arms carry part of a stream supplied by water from a nearby spring. Water flows in at the north west corner of the moat and out at the south east corner. The southern moat arm and part of the western arm are lined by internal and external banks. The northern moat arm is crossed by an arched brick-built bridge of post-medieval date, which is included in the scheduling. It is thought to stand on or near the site of the original access to the island.

Associated with the manor is an early 16th century brick-built dovecote located approximately 150m to the north of the moated site. The dovecote is a Listed Building Grade II*. It is single storey and octagonal in plan, measuring approximately 6m in width, and is built in red brick laid in English bond. The dovecote has a facetted slate roof with a boarded lantern at the roof apex with holes allowing the birds access and egress. There is a low doorway with a pointed arch giving access at ground level on the south eastern side of the building. Two arched windows, toward the top of the structure, in the southern and western walls, face the approach to the moated site and are thought to be ornamental. Internally there are square brick nesting boxes arranged in continuous rows, from floor to eaves, around two thirds of the dovecote with a course of projecting bricks providing a ledge for each row of boxes.

All farm buildings including the barn and stable block, boundary walls, sluices, weirs and 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. 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: 33124

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Foster, C W, Longley, T, The Lincolnshire Domesday and the Lincolnshire Survey, (1976)
White, W, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Lincolnshire, (1856)
Platts, G, 'History of Lincolnshire' in Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire, (1985), 41
NMR, 355515, (1998)
Stovin, Mr , (1998)

End of official listing