Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Remains of medieval monastery, moated manor house, fishponds and post-medieval garden

A Scheduled Monument in South Kyme, Lincolnshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 53.0311 / 53°1'51"N

Longitude: -0.2576 / 0°15'27"W

OS Eastings: 516941.9155

OS Northings: 349621.722

OS Grid: TF169496

Mapcode National: GBR HT2.TZS

Mapcode Global: WHHLF.02LM

Entry Name: Remains of medieval monastery, moated manor house, fishponds and post-medieval garden

Scheduled Date: 13 December 1929

Last Amended: 27 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008317

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22622

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: South Kyme

Built-Up Area: South Kyme

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: South Kyme St Mary and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of a priory for Augustinian canons, founded
by Philip de Kyme in the mid-12th century on the site of an Anglo-Saxon
establishment. It received further endowments but retained a small population
of nine to twelve canons. After the dissolution in 1539 the site passed to the
king and the priory church was adapted for use as a parish church. Adjacent to
the south are the remains of the moated manor house of the Kymes and their
descendants, the Umfravilles, who fortified it in the mid-14th century. The
house was largely dismantled in the early 18th century and a new house and
garden constructed to the east. The monument includes the buried remains of
the medieval monastery and its Anglo-Saxon predecessor, the standing remains
of the fortified manor house, the earthworks of the moat and fishponds and the
remains of the post-medieval garden.

The monument is situated at and around the present church and manor of South
Kyme which lie on the west side of the village on the north bank of the River
Slea. The Church of St Mary and All Saints is a Listed Building Grade II* and
excluded from the scheduling. This church incorporates fragments of the priory
church including the western part of the south aisle, the south western part
of the nave and the south porch. Surrounding the church in the northern part
of the churchyard is an area of earthworks including two raised rectangular
platforms standing approximately 0.5m above the rest of the churchyard.
Building foundations were revealed in this area in the last century. This is
the site of the southern part of the medieval monastic church including the
south transept and chancel. Fragments of Anglo-Saxon sculpture discovered
during restoration of the church in the late 19th century indicate that the
remains of the medieval priory church overlie those of an earlier foundation.

To the north of the present church is an arable field known as Abbey Yard in
which further remains of the Augustinian priory are located. Within this
field, immediately to the north of the church is a raised area in which the
northern parts of the medieval church, including the north transept, have been
identified. Finds made in this field include building stone, floor tiles,
stained glass and pottery fragments. Cropmarks visible from the air indicate
the location of the remains of the priory's inner precinct, including a
cloister and a series of enclosures bounded on the western, northern and
eastern edges of the field by a moat with an internal bank.

To the west of the churchyard is an area of pasture in which a series of
earthworks is evident. Immediately to the west of the church is a group of
large building platforms; on the eastern side of this field is a group of
fishponds; and on the north side of the road a linear depression with a broad,
low bank on its northern side. These features represent further remains of
the Augustinian priory, including part of the southern boundary of the
precinct. The remains of the medieval period are partly overlain by traces of
post-medieval activity.

Adjacent to the south of the remains of the priory, and separated from them by
a causewayed lane, is a moated enclosure roughly triangular in form. The
enclosure is bounded by a linear depression approximately 10m in width; the
northern arm runs along the south side of the lane, meeting the eastern arm at
right angles; this latter runs along the eastern side of the present Manor
garden. The third arm curves from the western side of the monument
south eastwards to run as a depression past the northern edge of the present
stable block. These features represent the remains of a medieval moat
surrounding the manor house. The eastern arm of the moat has been recut in
post-medieval times to run into the present course of the River Slea.
Near the centre of the moated enclosure stand the remains of a fortified manor
house constructed by the Umfravilles in the mid-14th century. The remains
include a stone tower approximately 23.5m in height with four storeys and a
battlement. At ground floor level is a chamber with a vaulted stone ceiling
and an inwardly splayed window in each of the east, west and north walls.
This chamber is approached through a doorway in the south wall, which also
provides access to a stair-turret occupying the south eastern corner of the
tower. The stair-turret rises through all four storeys, lit by narrow slit
windows and terminating at roof level in an elaborately carved stone boss. On
the first floor is a single chamber with a simple traceried window in each
wall, and a doorway in the south wall which formerly led into the first floor
of an adjoining building. This chamber is now unroofed, and the positions of
the two upper floors are marked by beam holes and by further traceried windows
placed above those of the first floor. The position of the tower's roof is
marked by a shallow gable within and at a lower level than the battlements,
which rise around the stair-turret. On the external face of the south wall of
the tower, at ground and first floor level, are a series of beam holes
indicating the position of an adjacent two-storeyed structure believed to have
been of timber construction. Cuts in the stonework of the east and west walls
indicate the position of further adjacent structures, and there are low
earthworks of buildings to the south and east of the tower. The tower is thus
considered to have formed part of a complex of buildings, originally a
dwelling incorporating a timber hall to the south and later including
additions to the east and west. These remains, representing the mid-14th
century manor house of the Umfravilles, are believed to overlie those of an
earlier manor house occupied by the Kymes, who refounded the adjacent priory
200 years earlier.

To the south of the moated enclosure is an area of low-lying pasture on the
north bank of the river. Traces of channels are visible as earthworks running
parallel with the southern arm of the moat and southwards from it into the
river. These channels represent a series of water-control features designed
to divert the main course of the river away from the moated site, and are
probably late medieval or early post-medieval in date.

To the east of the moated enclosure is a further area of pasture; in the
northern part of the field is a series of low earthworks representing the
remains of a formal garden, including a raised L-shaped terrace. This garden
is believed to have been laid out in the early 18th century, when the medieval
manor house was abandoned and the present Manor constructed. In the southern
part of the field are a pair of large interconnected ponds aligned east-west
and linked to the moated site by a series of earthwork channels. These two
ponds are considered to lie on an earlier course of the river; they were
originally constructed in medieval times and later altered to become a feature
in the post-medieval garden. In the southernmost part of the field is a
regularly laid out area of low-lying land with water-control ditches running
across it from north to south. They may have been seasonally filled pond bays
deliberately created when the course of the river was moved southwards.

Excluded from the scheduling are the present Manor, which is Listed Grade II,
associated outbuildings and the Church of St Mary & All Saints, although
the ground beneath these features is included. The standing remains of Kyme
Tower, which is Listed Grade 1, are included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597
to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both
religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious
communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks,
canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of
religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated
from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England.
These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to
tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide
variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a
result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout,
although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for
the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into
the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship,
learning, and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some
orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were
established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest
of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish
churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 225
of these religious houses belonged to the order of St Augustine. The
Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of
canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they
came to be known as `black canons' because of their dark coloured robes and to
distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. From the 12th
century onwards, they undertook much valuable work in the parishes, running
almshouses, schools and hospitals as well as maintaining and preaching in
parish churches. It was from the churches that they derived much of their
revenue. The Augustinians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval
life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving
archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

Around 6000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally waterfilled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. 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.

The adjacent sites of the Augustinian priory and moated manor house at South
Kyme represent contemporary and interrelated features of the medieval
landscape. The remains of the priory include both earthworks surviving in
good condition, and valuable, related buried deposits indicated by substantial
cropmarks visible from the air. The site preserves evidence of a long
tradition of ecclesiastical activity from the early Anglo-Saxon period to the
present and will provide rare insights into the interrelated development of
the monastic site and its adjoining secular centre from the Anglo-Saxon to the
post-medieval periods. The moated site itself is rare in including impressive
contemporary architectural remains surviving in good condition. The monument
also preserves evidence of the relationship between the medieval manor house
and its post-medieval successor, with formal gardens and other earthworks.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Knowles, D , Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, (1971), 141-475
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Lincolnshire: Volume II, (1906), 172-174
Taylor, H M, J , , Anglo Saxon Architecture, (1965), 365-366
Trollope, E, Sleaford, and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Arwardhun, (1872), 249-262
Trollope, E, Sleaford, and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Arwardhun, (1872), 249
Trollope, E, Sleaford, and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Arwardhun, (1872), 249-262
'Archaeological Journal' in Archaeological Journal, , Vol. XLIII, (1886), 61
Kirk, C, 'Assoc'd Architectural & Archaeological Societies' Reps. & Papers' in Kyme and its Tower, , Vol. XVI, (1881), 27-31
Stocker, D, 'Pre-Viking Lindsey' in The Early Church in Lincolnshire, , Vol. 1, (1993), 112-113
Everson, P. and D.A. Stocker, Lincolnshire, forthcoming
farmer's wife, Lamyman, Mrs., (1992)
Phillips, C W, (1930)
ref. AP 37-40, Peach, Alison, (1990)
Source Date:

White, A J, Kyme Priory,
White, A J, Kyme Tower,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.