Wansley Hall manorial site
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Ashfield (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SK 46124 51296
Reasons for Designation
Manorial centres were important foci of medieval rural life. They served as prestigious aristocratic or seigniorial residences, the importance of their inhabitants being reflected in the quality and elaboration of their buildings. Local agriculture and village life was normally closely regulated by the lord of the manor, and hence the inhabitants of these sites had a controlling interest in many aspects of medieval life. Manorial sites could take on several forms. In many areas of the country the buildings were located within a moat, the latter being intended to further impress the status of the site on the wider population. Other manors, like Wansley Hall, were not moated, their status being indicated largely by the quality of their buildings. This latter group of manorial centres are the most difficult to identify today because the sites were not enclosed by major earthwork features, such as a moat, which may survive well, and the original buildings often exhibited a fairly unplanned layout which could extend over a large area. Continued use of the site has also in many instances led to destruction of medieval remains. Hence examples of medieval manorial centres of this type, which can be positively identified and demonstrated to have extensive surviving archaeological remains, are relatively rare. Wansley Hall is a rare example of a first floor medieval hall. The survival of upstanding remains in association with earthworks and other buried remains is particularly important. The site retains important archaeological and architectural remains, which provide a chronological sequence from the medieval period to the 1960s. Combined with the waterlogged deposits within the well, the buried and upstanding remains provide a comprehensive picture of the hall and its changing landscape over time.
The monument includes the buried and standing remains of Wansley Hall which is
a medieval hall thought to have been built in 1200 AD. The hall, which is a
Listed Building Grade II, stands on elevated land to the west of Bagthorpe
The manorial estate of Wansley is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 where
it is documented that Wanddeslei, as it was then known, had a priest, half a
church, land for one plough, and four acres of meadow. At the time of the
Domesday survey the estate was valued at a total of 10 shillings. By 1300 the
estate covered approximately 3000 acres and shortly before this date there is
documentary evidence indicating that the owner of the site was Ralph de
Wandesley. Wansley Hall was probably the focus of the manorial estate at this
time. From 1302 the estate passed through a series of different owners and
tenants and the property and its lands lost considerable influence in the
region, chiefly due to the sale and splitting up of the estate. By the end of
the 16th century the estate was reduced to one farm and it was as a farm
holding that Wansley Hall was last used. Following a serious fall of masonry
and roofing, the building was vacated in 1960.
The hall survives as a series of standing and buried remains which include
elements of 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century construction. The building
is T shaped in plan. The northern section of the ruin, arranged on an east to
west axis, includes the remains of the original hall with the southern wing
having been added later. The hall stands as a ruin up to two stories high, is
approximately 7.6m wide by 12.8m long and is built in local sandstone. An
original plinth survives along much of the north and west walls although
little survives of the original doorways or interior. A short length of 16th
century oak close stud screen still divides the northern cross wing of the
building. Remains of a 16th century fireback of narrow bricks, arranged
in a herringbone pattern, survives in the internal, southern wall of the
northern wing, as does an 18th century brick built oven.
The southern section of the building is arranged on a north to south axis and
contains a series of rooms. The construction of this section of the building
is an amalgamation of architectural styles dating from the 16th to the 19th
century. The west wall and part of the southern wall are built of local
sandstone but the eastern wall and internal walls are constructed in red
Based on other examples of first floor halls, the original construction would
have consisted of a basement or undercroft with one or two chambers which were
probably used for safe storage. Above would have been the main room, the Hall,
with possibly a smaller chamber, called a solar, at the east end, with a
garderobe, or latrine. Other buildings are usually associated with such halls
including a pantry, bakehouse, brewhouse and stable. Geophysical survey
carried out in part of the area does indicate the surviving remains of other
buildings beneath the ground surface to the south west of the hall. Buried
remains are also indicated by a series of earthworks to the north and west of
the hall building. A sunken gully running east to west along the northern edge
of the area of protection is interpreted as a sunken trackway or hollow way
which would have provided access to the hall. A large sub-circular platform
stands to approximately 1.5m high to the west of the hall and is interpreted
as a building platform. Between the building platform and the hall building
is a capped well which will retain important, possibly waterlogged,
archaeological and environmental deposits.
From documents it is known that a private chapel existed on, or adjacent to
the site of Wansley Hall but its precise location is unknown. A field to the
east of Wansley Hall Farm is known as Chapel Field and may indicate the site
of the chapel although there is no surface evidence to indicate its position.
All modern fences, gates and paths 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
Beresford, MW, Hurst, JG, Deserted Medieval Villages , (1971), 201
Haskell, T (ed), Caring for our built heritage. Conservation in practice, (1993), 38-42
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Nottinghamshire, (1910), 277
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