Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Moated grange at Spinney Farm, Melton Mowbray

A Scheduled Monument in Melton Sysonby, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7895 / 52°47'22"N

Longitude: -0.8718 / 0°52'18"W

OS Eastings: 476181.388496

OS Northings: 321923.634603

OS Grid: SK761219

Mapcode National: GBR BNQ.2FR

Mapcode Global: WHFK0.L42T

Entry Name: Moated grange at Spinney Farm, Melton Mowbray

Scheduled Date: 4 June 1953

Last Amended: 1 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014391

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17015

County: Leicestershire

Electoral Ward/Division: Melton Sysonby

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Melton Mowbray Team

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The moated grange site near Spinney Farm lies on the east side of Scalford
Brook and is associated with a series of outlying banks and outer feeder
The moated site is rectangular in shape and is orientated north-south,
parallel to the brook. It measures 95m x 68m in maximum dimension. Overall,
the moat arms are about 2m deep and range in width from 14m on the eastern
side to 8m on the northern and western sides. Inner and outer banks are
visible along the western and northern arms of the moat. The inner bank is
about 1m-1.5m high, while the outer one is about 0.5m high on the northern
side but shows up only as a slight hump on the western side. Outside the moat
there are a number of earthwork banks associated with the water management of
the site. These include an outflow channel to the south and a further channel
running parallel with the northern moat arm, which may originally have been
connected to Scalford Brook. A series of irregular earthworks running parallel
with the western edge of the moat may be artificial levees or banks to further
control water flow.
Historical records identify the moat as a possible grange or farm owned by the
priory at Lewes, Sussex, but later passing into the ownership of the local
town estate.

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 site at Spinney Farm is a well preserved example of a small agrarian
grange, located an unusually long distance from its parent priory in Sussex.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-East Leicestershire, (1987), 11,37
Hunt, P E, The Story of Melton Mowbray, (1979), 102-3

Source: Historic England

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