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Medieval village and monastic grange in Riseholme Park

A Scheduled Monument in Riseholme, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.2657 / 53°15'56"N

Longitude: -0.5278 / 0°31'39"W

OS Eastings: 498291.017677

OS Northings: 375314.037015

OS Grid: SK982753

Mapcode National: GBR SZRP.J1

Mapcode Global: WHGHZ.V5VR

Entry Name: Medieval village and monastic grange in Riseholme Park

Scheduled Date: 7 January 1957

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019052

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22766

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Riseholme

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Riseholme St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of Riseholme medieval
village and monastic grange, the visible remains of which are located in the
park to the south of Riseholme Hall, where they take the form of a series of
substantial earthworks extending across a gentle north-facing slope. The
settlement was established before the late 11th century and enlarged in the
late 12th century. Also, land in Riseholme was granted to the newly founded
Barlings Abbey in the late 12th century for the establishment of a sheep farm.
Further grants were made in the 13th and 14th centuries. The village was
first depopulated in the 14th century, as a result of the Black Death, and
continued to decline through the 15th and 16th centuries until 1602 when only
one house remained standing. During the same period the monastic grange
expanded, passing after the Dissolution to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk,
and subsequently to the St Paul family, who also bought the manor of
Riseholme. In 1721 the property passed to the Chaplin family, who constructed
Riseholme Hall and laid out the landscape park and ornamental lake, partly
overlying the remains of the medieval settlement and grange. In 1839 the hall
was bought as a residence for the bishops of Lincoln and a new church was
built near the site of the medieval church.
At the time of the Domesday Book there were five holdings in Riseholme. The
remains of this early settlement, which is thought to have been situated on
the north side of the stream in the area of Riseholme Hall and church, are no
longer evident and are not included in the scheduling. By 1166 these five
holdings had been consolidated into one, tenanted by Hugh Bardolf, who is
thought to have been responsible for the planned extension of the settlement
onto former arable land on the south side of the stream. The earliest remains
in this area are thought to be the broad hollow way which extends north-south
from the east end of the lake, and the house platforms immediately to the west
of it. The hollow way linked the two parts of the settlement across the
stream. Where the hollow way bears south west towards the southern boundary
of the site, it is thought to follow a pre-existing field boundary, as
indicated by the remains of a furlong of ridge and furrow cultivation adjacent
to the south.
Extending westwards from the broad north-south hollow way is a series of house
platforms and rectangular house plots, laid out in a regular plan on each side
of an east-west hollow way representing the main village street. Remains of
earlier ridge and furrow cultivation survive within some of the plots.
Earth-covered remains of stone walls, representing buildings and plot
boundaries, survive to a height of up to 1m. The rear of the house plots on
the north side of the street are overlain by spoil taken from the lake, and
will survive as buried features; to the rear of those on the south side of the
street is a linear bank representing the remains of walled paddocks, also
overlying earlier ridge and furrow. The dwellings themselves are situated on
the street frontage. Partial excavation in 1954-55 of a two-roomed structure
demonstrated that it had been constructed in the first half of the 13th
century on the site of earlier, 12th century, occupation, and that it was
abandoned by the mid-14th century. The encroachment of some buildings onto
the main street, reducing it in width, also indicates a phase of contraction.
The less regular layout of house plots at the western end of the street
suggests that they are later in date.
To the east of the north-south hollow way are the remains of the monastic
grange. At the eastern edge of the monument is a series of raised rectangular
building platforms, believed to represent the remains of a principal house
with outbuildings. This complex is approached from the west by a continuation
of the village's main east-west street, and from the south by a trackway
following a headland between furlongs of ridge and furrow. A rectangular
sunken area on the north side of the complex represents a yard, and to the
north and west of this are the remains of three rectangular embanked
enclosures. These, and further building platforms adjacent to the main
north-south hollow way, are also associated with the grange. A linear bank,
running alongside the south eastern boundary of the monument, is a planting
bank associated with the layout of the landscape park in the 18th century.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
The Lincoln Edge local region comprises a long, narrow limestone ridge, flat-
topped and running north to south. Chains of medieval village settlement
sites, some deserted and some still occupied in whole or part, are found often
at intervals of about 1.5km. They line the foot of the scarp to the west and
the dip-slope to the east.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre
of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and
woodland. When they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features
include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other
buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks.
Medieval villages were supported by a communal system of argriculture based on
large, unenclosed arable fields. These large fields were subdivided into
strips (known as lands) which were allocated to individual tenants. The
cultivation of these strips with heavy ploughs pulled by oxen teams produced
long, wide ridges, and the resultant `ridge and furrow' where it survives is
the most obvious physical indication of the open field system. Individual
strips or lands were laid out in groups known as furlongs, defined by terminal
headlands at the plough turning-points, which were in turn grouped into large
open fields.
In the Central Province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect
of medieval life, and their archaeological remains, together with those of
their open field systems, are one of the most important sources of
understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the
Norman Conquest. Ridge and furrow is both an important source of information
about medieval agrarian life and a distinctive contribution to the character
of the historic landscape.
The medieval village of Riseholme and associated ridge and furrow survive well
as a series of substantial earthworks. The remains of houses and house plots
have been largely unaltered since they were abandoned, and limited
archaeological excavation has demonstrated that underlying deposits survive
well. Structural, artefactual and environmental remains preserve valuable
evidence for domestic and agricultural activity on the site which will give an
insight into the social and economic development of the village.
A monastic grange was a farm owned and run by a monastic community,
independently of the secular manorial system of communal agriculture and
servile labour. Some granges were worked by resident lay-brothers (secular
workers) of the monastery, but others were staffed by non-resident labourers.
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. The first
monastic granges appeared in the 12th century but they continued to be
constructed and used until the Dissolution. Of the original number of sites
only a small percentage are known to survive. In view of the importance of
granges to medieval rural and monastic life, all sites exhibiting good
archaeological survival are identified as nationally important.
Riseholme Grange survives well in the form of upstanding earthworks and
associated buried archaeological deposits. Buried structural and artefactual
remains will preserve unique evidence for the layout, economy and organisation
of the complex and for its relationship to the parent house.

Source: Historic England

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