Thornton Abbey, North Lincolnshire: Historical, Archaeological and Architectural Investigations

Author(s): Andy Payne, A Oswald, John Goodall, Tara-Jane Sutcliffe

Between 2007 and 2009, English Heritage carried out historical, archaeological and architectural research at Thornton Abbey, a major Augustinian house in Lincolnshire. The findings of geophysical surveys undertaken by English Heritage in 1995 were also taken into account. New documentary research highlighted information previously overlooked in Thornton’s 16th-century Chronicle and produced a more thorough account of the site’s later use. The effects of post-medieval activity were clarified by detailed survey of the complex earthworks lying between the claustral buildings and the surviving gatehouse. These include garden landscaping – apparently unfinished – associated with a short-lived stately home, built about 1607 for Sir Vincent Skinner, and various scars left by 19thand 20th-century archaeological excavations. Evidence for the medieval constructional sequence was also identified. The 1995 geophysical surveys complemented the earthwork survey and detected a number of monastic buildings and boundaries not recognisable in the surface remains, including some apparently erased by Skinner’s garden works. Architectural analysis of the gatehouse, alongside a suite of post-medieval depictions of the building, shed light on its development and purpose. Aerial photographic transcription of the North Bail, probably the site of the home grange, revealed a range of medieval features and led to the re-interpretation of features identified previously.

Report Number:
Research Department Reports
Building Recording Geophysical Survey Landscape Park Medieval Post Medieval Survey Monastery Gardens Archaeology Analytical Landscape Survey


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