Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Seney Place: the remains of a medieval moated monastic retreat house, Southrey

A Scheduled Monument in Bardney, Lincolnshire

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1887 / 53°11'19"N

Longitude: -0.3045 / 0°18'16"W

OS Eastings: 513385.458241

OS Northings: 367072.82507

OS Grid: TF133670

Mapcode National: GBR GPY.1TS

Mapcode Global: WHHKM.938T

Entry Name: Seney Place: the remains of a medieval moated monastic retreat house, Southrey

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018725

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31608

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Bardney

Built-Up Area: Southrey

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Bardney St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes remains of the medieval moated monastic retreat house
of Bardney Abbey immediately to the north of The Poplars at Southrey.
In 1086 the manor of Bardney was held by Gilbert de Gant, whose family had
granted the land to Bardney Abbey by 1212. The establishment at Southrey was
specifically created as a place of blood-letting (seyney) and recuperation for
the monks of Bardney Abbey, and it was normal for four monks to be in
residence at any one time. It was recorded that the retreat house was
constructed from new by Prior Walter de Langton, and its function as a place
of blood-letting has been preserved in the name, `Seney Place', which was
noted at the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century
and has continued in various forms until the 19th century when `Hall Farm...
formerly called `Senex Place' was recorded. In the early to mid-19th century
buildings stood on the southern end of the island with the farmhouse, which
was later replaced by The Poplars, located immediately to the south. There are
no longer any standing buildings on the site and the remains now take the form
of a series of earthworks and buried deposits.

Situated on relatively level ground the monument includes a rectangular
platform, or island, enclosed by a moat with external banks and a pond on the
line of the southern moat arm. The visible remains cover an area measuring
approximately 125m by 85m, with the island measuring 90m by 50m. The island
platform is slightly raised above the level of the surrounding ground, most
notably at its southern end, where buildings were recorded in the 19th
century. Earthworks, identified by archaeological survey on the eastern side
of the island are also believed to represent the foundations of a range of
buildings.

The island is surrounded on the east, north, and west sides by a moat 10m to
14m wide and up to 1.5m deep, now only partly water-filled. The 19th century
maps show interruptions along the length of both the northern and eastern moat
arms; archaeological survey suggests that these features may have represented
early access points to the island. There is a low broad external bank along
the north side of the moat measuring up to 6m across and standing to a height
of 0.4m. A pronounced external bank is visible at the north end of the eastern
moat arm, and low earthwork remains of a bank lie along the western moat arm.
Part of the southern moat arm has been infilled, but survives as a buried
feature; the rest of the southern arm is marked by a water-filled oval pond,
measuring up to 25m in length. Water was supplied to the moat by a former
stream which fed into the northern moat arm, interrupting the line of the
external bank.

A sample of the former streambed has been included in the scheduling in order
to preserve its relationship with the water management system of the moat.

All fences, sheds, and animal housing are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Retreat houses were principally used for the regular periods of rest and
recuperation which were required under Archbishop Lanfranc's codification of
the Benedictine Rule, a prominent feature of which was blood-letting (seyneys)
which was thought to be beneficial to health. Apart from providing purpose-
built accommodation for seyneys, retreat houses were also used by senior
monastic officials as places where the monastic rules concerning diet,
heating, and conversation were relaxed. As a result, they have features in
common with both monastic infirmaries, which were also used for seyneys, and
the secular manor houses of the period, although the retreat house also
required a chapel large enough to allow the continued observance of the
offices by those in residence. Confined to the Benedictine order, only some 80
to 100 retreat houses are thought to have existed, less than half of which are
currently recorded as surviving archaeological sites.

The retreat house at Seney Place survives well as a series of earthworks and
buried deposits. The artifical raising of the moated island above the general
ground level, together with the internal and external banks, will preserve
evidence of the land use prior to the construction of the moat. Waterlogging
in the base of the moat, together with the pond, will preserve organic
remains, such as timber, leather and seeds, which will give an insight into
domestic and economic activity on the site. Its specific, documented function
as a monastic retreat house makes this a particularly rare surviving example
of its kind. The survival of earthworks and buried remains will contain
valuable information on the layout and use of the site. The continued use in
the post-medieval period demonstrates its ongoing importance as a feature of
the landscape.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Lindsey Award 152, Southrey Inclosure Award, (1841)
RCHM(E), Everson, P L and Taylor C C and Dunn, C J, Change And Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, (1991)
Title: Southrey Tithe Award and Plan
Source Date: 1841
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.