Ancient Monuments

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Hussey Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.9735 / 52°58'24"N

Longitude: -0.0195 / 0°1'10"W

OS Eastings: 533084.626

OS Northings: 343631.5105

OS Grid: TF330436

Mapcode National: GBR JWH.FXH

Mapcode Global: WHHLQ.NJX8

Entry Name: Hussey Tower

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1930

Last Amended: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016692

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31625

County: Lincolnshire

Electoral Ward/Division: Skirbeck

Built-Up Area: Boston

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Boston St Botolph

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the medieval brick
fortified house at Hussey Tower. The house is believed to have been built in
the mid- to late 15th century for Richard Bennington; `Richard Benyngton
Toure' being mentioned in a rental of 1489. The tower, a Listed Building Grade
II, was later owned by Lord Hussey, and following his death, in 1537, the
estate was granted to the Corporation of Boston. A gatehouse was demolished in
1565, and repairs were made to the remainder of the buildings, which were then
rented by Joseph Whiting. In the early 18th century further buildings were
dismantled including the domestic range adjoining the tower, and in 1728 the
lead and timber were removed from the tower.

The tower is rectangular with an octagonal stair turret projecting from the
north east corner. The buried remains of a former range will survive
immediately east of the tower. The tower measures approximately 9m by 8m, with
walls 1m in width, and stands three storeys high with a portion of the
crenellated parapet. The structure is chiefly of red brick, believed to have
been locally produced, laid in English bond with some stonework used in the
window and doorway dressings together with moulded and cut bricks. At ground
floor level is a formerly rib-vaulted chamber which would have provided a
storage area and is now entered by the doorway in the east wall. There are two
blocked openings in the south wall, one of which is thought to represent an
original doorway, and a fireplace in the north wall. A door in the north east
corner of the chamber leads to the stair which gave access to each floor and
to the roof of the tower. The staircase, also of brick, rises around a central
pillar and includes a moulded inset handrail.

The first floor chamber has two stone dressed windows, one in the south and
the other in the north wall, with brick relieving arches above. In the east
wall there is a fireplace and the doorway which formerly led to the adjoining
range. The second floor chamber has windows in the south and north walls,
similar to the first floor windows, and there is a fireplace in the west wall.
The first and second floor chambers would have provided private accommodation
for the family.

The tower was formerly part of a larger building as shown by the bonding and
roof scars of a two storey range on the exterior of the east wall of the
tower. The range, forming part of the domestic accommodation, was slightly
narrower than the tower with communicating doorways between the range and the
tower at ground and first floor levels. The former range, running east from
the tower, and associated features will survive as buried remains around the
tower. Excavations around the tower have revealed brick footings on the west
side of the tower, part of a small brick vault on the south side of the tower
and an area of paving adjacent to the entrance.

The tower has close architectural parallels with three other brick-built
fortified houses surviving within a small area; Rochford Tower, 3km to the
east, Tower on the Moor at Woodhall Spa, and Tattershall Castle, all
constructed during the same period. Richard Bennington was a prominent
Lincolnshire man and was associated with Ralph Lord Cromwell, who was
responsible for the brick-built fortified house at Tattershall, started in
about 1434, and Tower on the Moor. Hussey Tower is thought to have been
influenced by Tower on the Moor, probably as a result of the connections
between Bennington and Cromwell. It is thought that the bricks were locally
produced, supplied from a kiln at Boston.

All fences 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

Fortified houses were residences belonging to some of the richest and most
powerful members of society. Their design reflects a combination of domestic
and military elements. In some instances, the fortifications may be cosmetic
additions to an otherwise conventional high status dwelling, giving a military
aspect while remaining practically indefensible. They are associated with
individuals or families of high status and their ostentatious architecture
often reflects a high level of expenditure. The nature of the fortification
varies, but can include moats, curtain walls, a gatehouse and other towers,
gunports and crenellated parapets.
Their buildings normally included a hall used as communal space for domestic
and administrative purposes, kitchens, service and storage areas. In later
houses the owners had separate private living apartments, these often
receiving particular architectural emphasis. In common with castles, some
fortified houses had outer courts beyond the main defences in which stables,
brew houses, granaries and barns were located.
Fortified houses were constructed in the medieval period, primarily between
the 15th and 16th centuries, although evidence from earlier periods, such as
the increase in the number of licences to crenellate in the reigns of Edward I
and Edward II, indicates that the origins of the class can be traced further
back. They are found primarily in several areas of lowland England: in upland
areas they are outnumbered by structures such as bastles and tower houses
which fulfilled many of the same functions. As a rare monument type, with
fewer than 200 identified examples, all examples exhibiting significant
surviving archaeological remains are considered of national importance.

The medieval fortified house at Hussey Tower survives well as a series of
standing remains and buried deposits. It has close architectural parallels
with other medieval fortified houses located within a relatively small area of
the fenland, and as such it will preserve valuable evidence of the way in
which this group of high status sites inter-related as distinctive components
of the medieval landscape. It is a rare example of the early use of locally
produced brick.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Thompson, P, The History and Antiquities of Boston, (1856), 242-244
Smith, T P, 'Lincolnshire History and Archaeology' in Hussey Tower, Boston: A Late Medieval Tower-House Of Brick, , Vol. 14, (1979), 31-37

Source: Historic England

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