Stallingborough medieval settlement, post-medieval manor house and formal gardens


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Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Stallingborough medieval settlement, post-medieval manor house and formal gardens
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North East Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TA 19519 11598

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Lincolnshire Scarp and Vale sub-Province of the Central Province, which comprises a succession of scarps and vales in which clay vales with alluvial deposits and a chalk ridge, together with associated glacial deposits, form the structural framework of the landscape. There is a very dense scatter of nucleated settlements, many of which are situated in lines along favoured scarp-foot and dip-slope locations. Large numbers of medieval village sites now lie wholly or partially deserted. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are very low. The Scarp and Vale Country local region is divided by the Lincoln Edge from the broad Vale of Trent to the west. Chains of ancient village settlements, some now deserted, are characteristic of the region. They occur where soils change and springs appear. Densities of dispersed farmsteads are uniformly low.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, generally sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but where they survive as earthworks, their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and paddocks. They frequently included the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system, most villages included one or more manorial centres which may also survive as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of medieval life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. Many houses from at least the Roman period onwards had gardens associated with them. However, the major development in gardening took place in the late medieval and early post-medieval periods when the idea of the garden as a `pleasure ground' developed. Early gardens take a variety of forms. Some involved significant water-management works to create elaborate water-gardens which could include a series of ponds and even ornamental canal systems. At other sites flower gardens were favoured, with planting in elaborately shaped and often geometrically laid out beds. Planting arrangements were often complemented with urns, statues and other garden furniture. Such sites were often provided with raised walkways or prospect mounds to provide vantage points from which the garden layout could be seen and fully appreciated. Whilst gardens were probably a common accompaniment to high status houses of the late medieval to early post-medieval period, continued occupation and subsequent remodelling of gardens in response to changing fashions means that early garden designs rarely survive undisturbed. Gardens provide a valuable insight into contemporary aesthetics and views about how the landscape could be modified to enhance the surroundings. Their design often mirrors elements of the design of the associated house; particularly following the symmetry of the buildings. The monument at Stallingborough is important for its wide range of earthwork and buried remains including the manor house site with its associated gardens and extensive medieval and post-medieval settlement features.


The monument includes earthwork and associated buried remains of part of the settlement of Stallingborough, together with the earthworks of a post-medieval manor house and associated formal gardens. These all lie to the west of the modern settlement, extending around and to the south of the 18th century church of St Peter and St Paul. At the time of the Domesday survey in 1086, Stallingborough, with a recorded population of 47, was the third largest settlement in northern Lincolnshire, only smaller than Barton and Grimsby. It was divided into three manors, the largest of which was held by Norman de Arci who held rights over one freeman, 18 villagers and one smallholder along with half of the revenue from the church. This manor subsequently passed through the Tailbois family to the Ayscoughs in the 15th century, and then to the Boucheretts in 1699. At this time the manor house lay to the west of the church, within the area of the monument. Henry III (1216-72) granted the right to hold a weekly market and annual fair to the manor that was confirmed to Sir William Ayscough by Henry VIII in 1529. Surviving tax records in the early 14th century imply a population of 50-60 households, but it is thought that this was severely reduced in the middle of the century by the Black Death and other factors, because Stallingborough was granted 70% tax relief in 1352. Records indicate that there must have been at least 10 households by 1428, but the settlement was still receiving around 20% tax relief in 1448 and 1463. By 1563, possibly as a result of the re-establishment of the regular market and fair, the settlement had expanded to 150 households. In the 17th century there is some evidence of depopulation, but it appears to have been mainly in the 18th century that the settlement rapidly contracted once more, this time through the action of the Boucherett family enclosing land and reducing the number of tenants. In the 1720s there were around 120 families in the parish, but following the enclosure of the medieval open fields in 1736-37, this had dropped to 67 households by 1758. The settlement is believed to have steadily contracted still further, starting to rise again towards the end of the century. By the time of the first national census in 1801, Stallingborough had a population of 274 people in 59 houses. The monument was surveyed by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in autumn 1978. This survey identified two main groups of earthworks. The first is an extensive area of village earthworks, standing up to 1m high, representing streets, building platforms and closes laid out in the medieval period and at least in part occupied up to the early 18th century. The second area lies around the northern side of the churchyard and represents the remains of a post-medieval manor house and the earthworks of the associated formal gardens. In addition, the survey sketch plotted further village earthworks to the west using aerial photographs taken before the area was levelled in the spring of 1978. Also noted were the crop marks of formal garden features to the north of the railway line. However, both of these areas of ploughed out earthworks are not included in the monument. The medieval village of Stallingborough was originally located on the edge of the salt marsh that has since been almost totally reclaimed. A low hill formed an early settlement focus and this elevated position was used for the church and the principal manor house of the village. To the south of this was a main street running east-west, forming a routeway connecting the other salt marsh side villages. Part of this street remains in use as Pinfold Lane and is continued across the southern part of the monument as a hollow way. Extending northwards from this main street, forming the western side of the monument and running past the west side of the manor and church is another hollow way. This has a couple of branches off to the north east, the first joining Church Lane where the modern road dog-legs and the second heading towards the church itself. All of these hollow ways are flanked by the remains of medieval and post-medieval properties defined by banks and/or ditches with raised platforms marking the sites of buildings. All of these earthworks are at most 1m high, typically lower. The survey identified four platforms where the remains of brick buildings could be identified. Two of these measure about 17m by 6.5m, divided into two rooms. To the rear of the enclosures fronting onto the streets there are further, normally rectangular, closes defined by low banks or ditches. These represent small paddocks or crofts and generally do not include sites of buildings. However, many to the south of the hollow way joining Church Lane show evidence of earlier arable cultivation in the form of ridge and furrow. This suggests that the properties across the southern half of the monument were laid out over part of the settlement's open fields, perhaps during the 16th century expansion of the village. The current late 18th century church of St Peter and St Paul was constructed on the site of the medieval church that collapsed in 1746, at about the same time as the demolition of the Ayscough's manor house. The broad terrace for this house lies to the north west of the church, partly within the western extension of the churchyard. Stretching out to the north of this was a set of formal gardens considered to have been laid out in the first quarter of the 17th century and bisected by the railway line in the 19th century. Within the area of the monument, at right angles to the ends of the terrace, there are two ponds extending northwards, and to the east there is an irregular curving hollow up to 2m deep and 6m wide forming a boundary feature. Extending southwards from the western end of the manor house terrace there is a large deep depression 20m by 35m retaining areas of brickwork. This marks the cellars of a large west wing that was added to the older manor house in the early years of the 18th century. This was known as Stallingborough House and was drawn in 1795 by C Nattes, five years after the Boucheretts had moved to their new house at North Willingham. Stallingborough House is not thought to have ever been re-occupied and was demolished between 1842 and 1844. To the south of this depression and also to the east of the church, there are several irregular scoops which are interpreted as the source of some of the material for the garden landscaping to the north. However, these two areas also retain low earthworks which are considered to be further medieval settlement remains cleared at the time of the construction of the gardens in the early 17th century. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are all modern fences, styles and gates, water troughs and the platforms that they stand on, telegraph poles, sign posts and the timber sheds used as stabling to the east of the church, however, the ground beneath all 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.

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Books and journals
Everson, P, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Stallingborough - Earthwork Survey, , Vol. 16, (1981), 29-37


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.

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