Ancient Monuments

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Medieval monastic grange with building platforms and dovecote at Saltby

A Scheduled Monument in Sproxton, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.8256 / 52°49'32"N

Longitude: -0.7027 / 0°42'9"W

OS Eastings: 487508.414283

OS Northings: 326126.024323

OS Grid: SK875261

Mapcode National: GBR CPP.WP1

Mapcode Global: WHGL1.57MP

Entry Name: Medieval monastic grange with building platforms and dovecote at Saltby

Scheduled Date: 3 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009165

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17101

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Sproxton

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Saltby St Peter (High Framland Parishes)

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument at Saltby is situated in an area of ancient heathland, 10km
south-west of Grantham. It includes the earthwork remains of a medieval grange
farm containing building platforms, a dovecote and a boundary ditch and is
divided into two areas.

The earthworks of the grange farm in the first area cover an area measuring
about 200m square. The main features of the site are a number of building
foundations fairly well dispersed throughout the area and surviving both as
platforms and wall foundation outlines. The wall foundations survive as low
banks up to 0.5m in height and comprise at least six rectangular buildings
ranging in size from approximately 35 x 12m to 115 x 30m in overall
dimensions. There are three rectangular building platforms measuring from 25 x
20m to 45 x 30m situated close together on the south-east side of the site. In
the central area of the site is a circular earthwork platform, approximately
12m in diameter, which has been identified as a dovecote. A series of
enclosure banks currently standing up to 0.75m in height are also found
throughout the site. A post medieval hedge bank cuts across the north-west
side of the site. Also within the area are a number of circular depressions
identified as wells. Situated 100m to the west is a 150m length of flat topped
boundary bank measuring 1m high and up to 15m wide, which is considered to be
an integral part of the medieval grange site. The bank is contained within the
second area.

The medieval grange has been attributed, by different sources, to both Croxton
Abbey in Leicestershire and Vaudey Abbey in Lincolnshire.

Excluded from the scheduling is a slurry pit on the north side of the site,
measuring 35 x 12m, although the ground beneath it is included.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community and
independent of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and servile
labour. The function of granges was to provide food and raw materials for
consumption within the parent monastic house itself, and also to provide
surpluses for sale for profit. The first monastic granges appeared in the 12th
century but they continued to be constructed and used until the Dissolution.
This system of agriculture was pioneered by the Cistercian order but was soon
imitated by other orders. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers
(secular workers) of the order but others were staffed by non-resident
labourers. The majority of granges practised a mixed economy but some were
specialist in their function. Five types of grange are known: agrarian farms,
bercaries (sheep farms), vaccaries (cattle ranches), horse studs and
industrial complexes. A monastery might have more than one grange and the
wealthiest houses had many. Frequently a grange was established on lands
immediately adjacent to the monastery, this being known as the home grange.
Other granges, however, could be found wherever the monastic site held lands.
On occasion these could be located at some considerable distance from the
parent monastery. Granges are broadly comparable with contemporary secular
farms although the wealth of the parent house was frequently reflected in the
size of the grange and the layout and architectural embellishment of the
buildings. Additionally, because of their monastic connection, granges tend to
be much better documented than their secular counterparts. No region was
without monastic granges. The exact number of sites which originally existed
is not precisely known but can be estimated, on the basis of numbers of
monastic sites, at several thousand. Of these, however, only a small
percentage can be accurately located on the ground today. Of this group of
identifiable sites, continued intensive use of many has destroyed much of the
evidence of archaeological remains. In view of the importance of granges to
medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good archaeological
survival are identified as nationally important.

The Grange at Saltby survives well and contains many building foundations
which will retain important archaeological information.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-West Leicestershire, (1987), 13,39

Source: Historic England

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