Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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

South Kelsey Hall moated site

A Scheduled Monument in South Kelsey, Lincolnshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

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.


Latitude: 53.4649 / 53°27'53"N

Longitude: -0.4273 / 0°25'38"W

OS Eastings: 504500.333514

OS Northings: 397611.508519

OS Grid: TF045976

Mapcode National: GBR TXGC.8N

Mapcode Global: WHGH2.D5QL

Entry Name: South Kelsey Hall moated site

Scheduled Date: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019066

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31618

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: South Kelsey

Built-Up Area: South Kelsey

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: South Kelsey St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a medieval moated site and associated earthworks
situated at South Kelsey Hall. In the earlier medieval period the land was in
the possession of the priory of Winghale, which lay 1.5km to the south west.
It is in the early 14th century, after the priory's lands were seized by the
Crown, that the moated site at South Kelsey is believed to have been
constructed, overlying earlier arable fields. The land was granted to King's
College Cambridge in 1441 and subsequently passed to Trinity College; it later
passed to the Hansard family and by the early 16th century was in the
possession of the Ayscough family. A new hall and gardens are thought to have
been constructed within the moated site at about this time. A walled
forecourt, entered by an arched gateway and flanked by octagonal turrets,
formed the approach to the new hall. The house served as one of the principal
residences of the Ayscough family until the end of the 17th century.

During the Civil War the house, occupied by a leading local Parliamentarian,
Sir Edward Ayscough, was attacked by the Royalists. At the end of the 17th
century it passed by marriage to the Thornhagh family who resided there until
the end of the 18th century. At the beginning of the 19th century the hall was
largely demolished and replaced on approximately the same site by the present
farmhouse, although the remains of the former hall will survive as a buried
feature on the northern side of the farmhouse.

One of the mid-16th century octagonal turrets, altered during the 19th century
and reused as a dovecote, still stands; it is Listed Grade II. Part of a mid-
16th century gateway, including a moulded ashlar arch and jambs now forms part
of an outbuilding. The gateway is also Listed Grade II. The turret, the
gateway, the present farmhouse, known as South Kelsey Hall, together with its
adjacent yard and farm buildings lie outside the area of scheduling.

The moated site takes the form of two moated islands, with external banks. The
principal, western island, measuring 110m by 100m, is enclosed by a
water-filled moat on the north, west and south. The broad southern moat arm
measures up to 20m in width and is believed to have been widened to create a
garden feature during the 16th century. The eastern moat arm, now infilled,
survives as a buried feature; it was crossed by a causeway leading to the
former hall, which faced east. The remains of the forecourt, to the east of
the hall, and the gardens to the west will survive as buried features. A 1591
survey of Sir Ayscough's land noted a manor house, garden, orchard and court
enclosed by a moat, together with an eastern moated island.

The adjoining eastern island measures 100m by 80m and is enclosed by a moat
which is water-filled to the south; to the east and north it is partly
infilled but visible as a shallow depression and will survive as a buried
feature. The interior of the island is marked by low earthwork remains
including building platforms. At the south western corner of the eastern
island a causeway crosses the southern moat arm providing the principal access
to the moated site which in turn led to the causeway which formed the main
approach to the former hall on the western island. On the south side of, and
parallel to, the southern moat arm are the remains of an east-west road, lined
by a ditch to the south, which would have served as the principal access to
the moated site. Another road, known as Park Lane, formerly ran along the
western moat arm, although its course is no longer visible.

Immediately to the south of the east-west road, at the south western corner of
the principal moat, is a ditched and banked enclosure believed to represent
the remains of a gun emplacement dating from the Civil War. The enclosure,
measuring about 10m in width, is bounded on three sides by a bank, standing up
to 1.5m above the surrounding ground level, and an external ditch, up to 8m in
width, leaving the northern side open. On the opposite side of the road,
lining part of the broad southern moat, is a large bank, about 60m long and
14m wide, which together with the gun emplacement to the south was used to
defend the approach to the house during the Civil War.

The moated site was established over earlier ridge and furrow cultivation,
which survives to the north, east and south of the moat. The ridge and furrow
is included in the scheduling on the south and east sides where its
archaeological relationship with the moated site and associated earthworks is
preserved. A further external bank, lying at the north east corner of the
moat, is thought to be associated with subsequent cultivation.

All fences, telegraph poles and water troughs 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

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.

The moated site and associated features at South Kelsey Hall survive well as a
series of earthworks and buried deposits. The establishment of the post-
medieval hall complex, including gardens, on the moated site demonstrate
the continued importance of the site over a period of at least 600 years.
Gardens were fashionable in the later 16th and 17th centuries and were
constructed for the recreation of the wealthy and to complement high status
houses. They reflect the social expectations, aspirations and tastes of the
period. Associated with a well-known family the complex, together with the
Civil War gun emplacement, will contribute to our understanding of the
development of a high status component of the post-medieval landscape.
Waterlogging in the moat will preserve organic remains (such as timber,
leather and seeds) which will give an insight into domestic and economic
activity on the site. In addition, the artificially raised ground surface will
preserve evidence of land use prior to construction. As a result of
archaeological survey and documentary research the remains are quite well

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Leach, T R, Lincolnshire country houses and their families, Part 1, (1990), 69-70
RCHM(E), Everson, P L and Taylor C C and Dunn, C J, Change And Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, (1991)
RCHM(E), Everson, P L and Taylor C C and Dunn, C J, Change And Continuity: Rural Settlement in North-West Lincolnshire, (1991)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments 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 for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.