Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Sysonby Grange, 450m west of Sysonby Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Melton Sysonby, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.7818 / 52°46'54"N

Longitude: -0.9071 / 0°54'25"W

OS Eastings: 473811.92272

OS Northings: 321027.731875

OS Grid: SK738210

Mapcode National: GBR BNN.RG9

Mapcode Global: WHFK0.1BBR

Entry Name: Sysonby Grange, 450m west of Sysonby Farm

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1970

Last Amended: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016317

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21672

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 monument is situated approximately 1km east of Welby on the east bank of a
tributary stream of the River Eye and includes the earthwork and buried
remains of a monastic grange.

The grange, which is referred to as both Welby Grange and Sysonby Grange in
documentary sources, belonged to the Cistercian Abbey of Garendon,
Loughborough from at least the early 14th century. The surviving remains of
the grange occupy a roughly square area, bounded by ditches on the north and
south and by a former course of the stream to the west. The eastern part of
the grange was situated to the east of the area of protection but is no longer
evident. The surviving boundary features enclose an area of small enclosures,
defined by ditches which are thought to have served as drainage channels, and
by low banks. Several of these enclosures, in the northern and eastern parts
of the site, retain evidence of ridge and furrow cultivation. In the north
western corner of the grange is a small pond which has a retaining bank along
its western side. It is now dry but was originally fed by a drainage channel
entering from the east.

In the south western and central parts of the monument are a number of
building platforms and levelled terraces indicating the position of buried
features which are believed to represent the sites of agricultural buildings
and the monks' domestic accommodation.

All fence posts, the electricity pole and the timber horse jumps are excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

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 remains of Sysonby Grange survive well and have been relatively
undisturbed by modern activity. The earthworks are in good condition and,
together with buried remains, will provide archaeological evidence for both
the secular and agricultural activities which occurred here. The site will
also retain deposits which will provide information about the economy and
environment of the monastic grange during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hartley, R F, The Medieval Earthworks of North-East Leicestershire, (1987), 15
Nichols, J, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicestershire, (1800), 282-4

Source: Historic England

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