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Medieval moated site, settlement and cultivation remains, post-medieval park and garden, Thorpe Latimer

A Scheduled Monument in Helpringham, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.9438 / 52°56'37"N

Longitude: -0.3125 / 0°18'45"W

OS Eastings: 513489.975183

OS Northings: 339823.695265

OS Grid: TF134398

Mapcode National: GBR GST.KSF

Mapcode Global: WHHLS.58FK

Entry Name: Medieval moated site, settlement and cultivation remains, post-medieval park and garden, Thorpe Latimer

Scheduled Date: 18 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010708

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22626

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Helpringham

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Helpringham St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument is located at Thorpe Latimer in a low-lying area at the edge of
the south Lincolnshire fens. Thorpe Latimer is associated with the Latimer
family, who established a manor here after the Norman Conquest; in the 18th
century it was owned by Lord Willoughby de Broke. The remains take the form of
a series of earthworks and buried deposits lying to the south, east and north
of the present Thorpe Latimer House; they include the earthworks of a moated
platform, believed to be the site of a medieval manor house of the Latimers,
together with those of the medieval hamlet of Thorpe Latimer and associated
ridge-and-furrow cultivation. The remains of the medieval period are partly
overlain by post medieval features including a landscape park and garden.

The moated platform lies to the south of Thorpe Latimer House and is roughly
rectangular in shape, measuring approximately 28m x 32m. The sides of the
platform are steep, rising to a flattened rectangular area, approximately 15m
x 20m, which stands about 3m above the level of the moat. Buried building
material identified in this area is considered to represent the remains of the
manor house around which the moat was first constructed. This dwelling was
later succeeded by another building to the north of the moated site, outside
the area of the scheduling, and the platform was reused as a garden. In the
19th century it was planted as an orchard.

The platform is surrounded by a rectangular water-filled moat varying between
7m and 13m in width. On the west and south west it is 10m wide, broadening to
20m in the south eastern corner; on the north and north east it is less
regular, narrowing from approximately 16m in the north western corner to 7m on
the east. The moat, like the platform it surrounds, is considered to be
medieval in origin, although it has been re-cut in post medieval times both as
a garden feature and for stock-watering. The moat is now crossed at the
north eastern corner by a modern wooden footbridge, which is not included in
the scheduling.

Adjacent to each of the west, south and east sides of the moat is an external
bank. On the west it is low and flat and about 7m in width; on the east side
it is less regular, and is broken about halfway along by a gap over 10m wide.
Running eastwards from this opening is a linear depression about 0.3m deep and
5m wide with a low bank on each side. On the south side of the moat the
external bank is slightly narrower, and at the south western corner it turns
southwards to run along the eastern edge of a shallow linear depression about
8m wide and 40m long. This depression represents the remains of an outlet
channel, now dry, which formerly linked the moat to a drain on the south.
Where the channel meets the drain, at the southern edge of the field, the bank
turns to run eastwards for a distance of about 100m and then northwards for
about 60m to meet the linear depression running from the east side of the
moat. Another bank runs northwards from this point for a distance of about
50m and then turns westwards; both banks are about 5m in width. There is a
similar bank running north-south about 60m to the west of the moat, and an
east-west bank to the south of it. These features represent the remains of a
group of enclosures, further subdivided by small drainage channels, which
surround and are aligned with the moat on the east, south and west sides; they
are considered to be medieval in origin, representing closes for animals,
gardens and orchards immediately associated with the moated manor.

The enclosures are partly overlain by later features of medieval and
post medieval date. Running north-south about 25m to the west of the moat are
the remains of a hollow way which formerly connected the manorial complex to
the fields to the south. To the north west of the moat is a raised area,
including a building platform, now partly overlain by a modern drive; this
area is considered to be the site of outbuildings associated with the manor,
such as agricultural and service buildings. Cutting through the southern bank
of the moat and running southwards into the southern bank of the enclosure is
a rectangular depression, about 10m wide, with a low bank on its western side;
at its south eastern corner it is connected to a smaller, roughly circular
depression. These features represent the remains of a small group of ponds
added after the construction of the moat and associated enclosures.
Adjacent to the west of the low bank which defines the western edge of the
manorial complex are a group of four broad ridges, over 10m in width, aligned
with the bank north-south. At the southern end of these ridges is a broad
bank, also about 10m wide, running east-west; adjacent to it, at the southern
edge of the paddock in which these remains lie, is a narrower bank about 5m
wide. These features represent the remains of the south eastern corner of a
field of ridge-and-furrow cultivation adjoining the manorial complex on the
west. The broad east-west bank represents the remains of a headland, and the
narrower bank of accumulated spoil from the drain to the south. This paddock,
to the west of the moated site, was planted with trees in the post medieval
period as a small park.

Adjacent to the east of the banks which define the eastern edge of the
manorial complex is a large dry ditch, approximately 8m wide and 1m deep,
which runs on a north-south alignment for a distance of over 170m. Directly
east of the moat, where the enclosure banks are divided by an east-west
depression, the ditch has been partially filled in to create a causeway. This
ditch marks the limit of the manorial enclosures on the east and, where it
turns eastwards around the present farmhouse garden, their north eastern
limit. At this point it has been deepened to form a rectangular pond. On the
north side of the pond is a raised area from which a broad linear bank runs
northwards for a distance of about 140m, with a shallow ditch on its western
side; this bank and ditch then run eastwards for a distance of 200m to the
eastern edge of the field. Another bank runs along the eastern and southern
edges of this field. The area thus enclosed, approximately rectangular in
shape and measuring about 330m x 170m, contains the remains of ridge-and-
furrow cultivation. The ridges are 6m-7m wide and stand to a height of over
0.5m; those in the south west part of the field run north-south for a distance
of approximately 200m or 1 furlong. Adjacent to the north is a further area of
ridge-and-furrow, running east-west from a bank on the east, in which the
ridges are also 200m or 1 furlong in length. These features represent
cultivation units of the medieval period, directly associated with the manor
and its exploitation of the marginal land of the Kesteven fen-edge in the 12th
and 13th centuries. In the post medieval period both areas of former
cultivation were enclosed within a landscape park and planted with trees; the
linear banks which enclose them on the east and south sides continued in use
as the park boundary.

To the north of Thorpe Latimer House, and adjacent to the west of the
principal areas of ridge-and-furrow remains, are a series of earthworks
including a broad hollow way which runs northwards from the present farm
buildings towards a bend in the Helpringham road. The hollow way represents an
earlier, medieval, route between Thorpe Latimer and Helpringham which pre-
dates the present route to the west. On each side of the hollow way are a
series of small enclosures defined by banks and ditches. The enclosures are
approximately rectangular in shape and vary between 20m and 70m in width.
Adjacent to the enclosures in the westernmost part of the monument is a small
pond. These earthworks represent the remains of the deserted medieval hamlet
of Thorpe Latimer, the enclosures defining house plots grouped along each side
of the street. The hollow way is considered to be contemporary with, and
formerly connected to, the remains of the hollow way which lie on the west
side of the moated manor site. This route went out of use in the post-
medieval period after the desertion of the hamlet, when the site of the
settlement was enclosed within the landscape park and the road was diverted to
its present route on the west. The survival of a right-of-way, now obsolete,
across the settlement enclosures is represented by a modern paved footpath
running roughly parallel to the hollow way on the east; there is another
former right-of-way across the enclosures on the west.

All fences, gates, gate-posts and troughs, and the modern gravel surfacing of
the present drive, are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath these features is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. 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 moated manorial site at Thorpe Latimer is associated with the remains of a
small contemporary settlement and ridge-and-furrow cultivation which together
represent an important period of expansion of arable into the marginal lands
of the fen-edge which took place in the early Middle Ages. The manorial
complex, settlement and cultivation remains survive in good condition as a
series of earthworks and buried deposits preserved beneath a later park and
garden. Archaeological deposits of both the medieval and post-medieval
periods are likely to survive intact, and water-logging in part of the
monument will preserve organic material such as timber, leather and food
remains, which will provide an insight into the changing economic and social
activity on the site.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beresford, M, Lost Villages of England, (1954), 360-363
White, W, History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Lincolnshire, (1856)
White, W, Directory of Lincolnshire, (1872), 566
Foster, C W, 'The Lincolnshire Domesday and the Lindsey Survey' in Boroughs, Wapentakes, Villages And Other Places, , Vol. LRS 19, (1924), lxxiv
Platts, G, 'History of Lincolnshire' in Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire, , Vol. IV, (1985), 153-299
C.U. Collection of Aerial Photographs, Cambridge University Aerial Photography Unit, RC8-AN 184, 185, (1970)
Listed Building description 8/76, Department of the Environment, Thorpe Latimer House, (1976)
Listed Building description 8/76, Department of the Environment, Thorpe Latimer House, (1976)
owners, Watts, Mr. & Mrs. R., (1993)
Title: Ordnance Survey 6"
Source Date: 1904
Surveyed 1887, revised 1903-4
Title: Tithe Award
Source Date: 1774
Lincolnshire Archives
Watts, Mr & Mrs, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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