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Medieval moated site and post-medieval gardens at Cressy Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Gosberton, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.8572 / 52°51'25"N

Longitude: -0.1831 / 0°10'59"W

OS Eastings: 522429.390873

OS Northings: 330399.339831

OS Grid: TF224303

Mapcode National: GBR HW9.VZ6

Mapcode Global: WHHM7.5F2Z

Entry Name: Medieval moated site and post-medieval gardens at Cressy Hall

Scheduled Date: 24 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019526

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31616

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Gosberton

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Gosberton St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes a medieval moated site and post-medieval garden remains
located approximately 70m south of the present Cressy Hall, which formerly lay
in the parish of Surfleet. In 1086 land in Surfleet was held by Heppo the
Arblaster, and at the end of the 12th century it was granted to Walter de
Braytoft. Subsequently it passed to de Braytoft's granddaughter, Sibyl de
Cressy, and remained in the Cressy family until the 15th century when it was
inherited by the Markham family. An inquisition of 1384 reported that the
houses of the manor were ruinous, requiring 10 marks annually for their
repair. In the 17th century the manor house was rebuilt by Sir Henry Heron, on
a new site approximately 70m north west of the moated island. The house was
built facing east and formal gardens were laid out to the east and south. This
house was destroyed by fire in 1791 but was rebuilt the following year facing
south, and this is the hall which stands today, on a slight rise to the north
west of the moat. Cressy Hall is not included in the scheduling.

The moated island is roughly rectangular in plan, measuring 32m by 28m, and
would have been occupied by the medieval manor house. It is enclosed by a
broad moat, measuring 8m to 12m across; the northern end of the eastern moat
arm has been partly infilled in more recent times and survives as a buried
feature, visible as a slight depression. A causeway crosses the northern arm
close to the north eastern corner of the moat and is thought to indicate the
position of an original access to the island. An outward curve at the south
eastern corner of the moat is thought to indicate the position of a former
water outlet, linking the moat with the Risegate Eau, from which it was fed.

In the 17th century the moated site is believed to have formed part of the
formal gardens created in the Dutch style following the relocation of the
manor house to the site of the present Cressy Hall. The raised ground to the
west of the moat is thought to date from this period of post-medieval
landscaping. A broad, straight water channel extends, on an east-west
alignment, to the west of the moat; this channel represents an ornamental
water feature which also formed part of the formal gardens south and east of
the later hall. The channel is tree-lined and measures approximately 180m in
length and 16m wide. These features represent the only visible remains
surviving from a formerly extensive garden arrangement. A drawing of 1735
depicts two broad water channels, corresponding roughly with the position of
the surviving channel, lined by trees at the southern edge of a geometric
garden layout including regular beds and avenues.

All fences are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them
is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Post-medieval formal gardens are garden arrangements dating between the early
16th and mid-18th centuries, their most characteristic feature being a core of
geometric layout, typically located and orientated in relation to the major
residences of which they formed the settings. For the 16th and 17th centuries,
the most common features are flat topped banks or terraces (actually raised
walkways), waterways, closely set ponds and multi-walled enclosures. Late 17th
and 18th century gardens often reflect the development of these ideas and
contain multiple terraces and extensive water features, as well as rigidly
geometrical arrangements of embankments. Other features fashionable across the
period include: earthen mounds (or mounts) used as vantage points to view the
house and gardens, or as sites of ornate structures; `moats' surrounding areas
of planting; walled closes of stone and brick (sometimes serving the forecourt
of the main house); and garden buildings such as banqueting halls and
pavillions. Formal gardens were created throughout the period by the royal
court, the aristocracy and country gentry, as a routine accompaniment of the
country seats of the landed elite. Formal gardens of all sizes were once
therefore commonplace, and their numbers may have comfortably exceeded 2000.
The radical redesign of many gardens to match later fashions has dramatically
reduced this total, and little more than 250 examples are currently known in
England. Although one of many post-medieval monument types, formal gardens
have a particular importance reflecting the social expectations and
aspirations of the period. They represent a significant and illuminating
aspect of the architectural and artistic tastes of the time, and illustrate
the skills which developed to realise the ambitions of their owners. Surviving
evidence may take many forms, including standing structures, earthworks and
buried remains; the latter may include details of the the planting patterns,
and even environmental material from which to identify the species employed.

The medieval moated site and post-medieval garden features at Cressy Hall
survive well as a series of earthworks and buried deposits. Waterlogging in
the base of the moat and adjacent channel will preserve organic remains, such
as timber, leather and seeds, which will give an insight into domestic and
economic activity on the site and the vegetative history of the site. The
artifically raised ground will preserve earlier ground surfaces which will
preserve evidence of land-use prior to the construction of the moat. The reuse
of the moat during the post-medieval period, as part of the formal gardens,
demonstrates its continued importance as a feature of the landscape. As a
result of archaeological survey and documentary research the date of
occupation of the site and its ownership history are quite well understood.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Healey, RH, Roffe, DR, Some medieval and later earthworks in South Lincolnshire, (1990), 80-81
Healey, RH, Roffe, DR, Some medieval and later earthworks in South Lincolnshire, (1990), 80-81
Dixon Hunt, J, 'Journal of Garden History' in Anglo-Dutch Gardens, (), 44, 47
Dixon Hunt, J, 'Journal of Garden History' in Anglo-Dutch Gardens, (), 44, 47
Other
NMR, 352522, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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