Ancient Monuments

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Monastic grange east of Manor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cold Ashby, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3827 / 52°22'57"N

Longitude: -1.0374 / 1°2'14"W

OS Eastings: 465613.143572

OS Northings: 276512.185027

OS Grid: SP656765

Mapcode National: GBR 9S0.NJJ

Mapcode Global: VHCTV.YCXR

Entry Name: Monastic grange east of Manor Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014768

English Heritage Legacy ID: 17133

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Cold Ashby

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Cold Ashby St Denys

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The monument is situated to the north of Main Street on the northern
outskirts of the village of Cold Ashby. It includes the earthwork and buried
remains of a monastic grange and part of a hollow way.
Throughout much of the medieval period the grange at Cold Ashby is thought to
have belonged to either Pipewell abbey, a monastery of the Cistercian order,
or Sulby abbey and documentary sources indicate that it was of considerable
size and importance.
The northern and eastern boundaries to the monastic grange are defined by
ditches and low banks whilst Main Street is thought to represent the original
southern boundary of the grange. This southern area is now occupied by houses,
their respective gardens and a graveyard and it is not included in the
scheduling. The original western extent of the grange is not known and Bridle
Lane forms the present boundary to the grange earthworks.
The central, southern part of the site forms the core of the monastic grange
and includes small paddocks within which are a number of building platforms.
These platforms are approximately 0.75m higher than the surrounding ground
surface and are considered to represent the sites of buildings associated with
the grange, including the monks' domestic accommodation, probably a chapel,
and several agricultural buildings. Documentary references indicate that one
of the buildings remained standing at the site during the early 18th century.
To the west, north and east of the building platforms are five large
rectangular closes which are bounded by low scarps and 0.25m high banks. These
fields provide evidence for the agricultural activities of the grange.
Immediately to the north of the grange's northern boundary are the earthwork
remains of a hollow way which is 10m wide and 0.5m deep. It is visible running
eastwards from Bridle Lane at the north western corner of the site to Naseby
Road at the north east corner. There is slight evidence to indicate that the
hollow way continues eastwards beyond Naseby Road in a mutilated form, but
this section is not included in the scheduling. Immediately to the north of
the hollow way are the remains of further earthworks which are believed to
define several paddocks and are included in the scheduling.

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

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 of the important Cistercian grange to the east of Manor Farm survives
in a good condition as earthworks. These provide evidence for the layout of
the buildings and working areas of this complex site, while associated buried
deposits will retain information about the function of the grange and the
fluctuations in its economy. The site also includes several intact
agricultural closes and other outlying earthwork features, including the
hollow way in the northern part of the site, which are connected with medieval
land division and management. These features illustrate the way in which the
grange was incorporated into the surrounding agricultural community. Our
understanding of the site also benefits from the survival of contemporary

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, , The County of Northamptonshire, (1981), 53

Source: Historic England

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