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Eresby Manor

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Eresby Hall; Heresby

In the civil parish of Spilsby.
In the historic county of Lincolnshire.
Modern Authority of Lincolnshire.
1974 county of Lincolnshire.
Medieval County of Lincolnshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TF39466517
Latitude 53.16539° Longitude 0.08468°

Eresby Manor has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry footings remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.

Description

The remains of a C13 manor house, licensed 1276, altered during C15, were found during excavations. This was replaced by a C16 hall with associated formal garden, ponds and bowling green, which survive as earthworks, and a tree avenue. The manor of Eresby was held by the Willoughby family, also of Grimsthorpe Castle in the south of Lincolnshire.

In 1086 the land at Eresby which was previously held by Aschil, was in the possession of the Bishop of Durham. During the 12th century the land passed though marriage to the de Bec family and in 1296 John de Bec was granted a licence to crenellate the manor of Eresby. The manor stayed in the de Bec's family until the early 14th century when it passed by marriage to the Willoughby family. In the early 16th century it again passed by marriage to Charles Brandon who built a new house on the site replacing the old manor house. In 1967 the moat was mechanically dredged and in 1968 an excavation of the area under the direction of Ethel Rudkin revealed part of the plan of the medieval manor house of the de Bec's and Willoughby's. The north bastion with buttresses and a length of curtain wall dating to the 13th century was revealed, together with some fragmentary remains of internal buildings which are difficult to interpret. The excavations recovered much evidence of refurbishment or rebuilding in the mid 15th century. Consisting of sandstone foundations for a brick building of which some well fired but undersized bricks were recovered. Large pieces of moulded stone were recovered from the moat and other debris from this area suggests that the kitchen once stood here and adjacent to it was the tiled floor of the great hall. Finds recovered include medieval green glazed pottery and a earthenware leg from an equestrian statue. The leg measures approximately 23cm in height and 9cm in width, the complete statue would have measured about 60cm and it has been conjectured that it may have been a statue of Lord Robert Willoughby. Part of a brick wall standing up to 1m in height is still visible above ground. (Lincolnshire HER)

The foundations of the post-medieval house and formal gardens and remains of the medieval complex at Eresby Hall survive well as a series of earthwork and buried deposits. The buried remains will preserve information concerning the extent, construction and subsequent alterations of both the post-medieval house and gardens and the medieval complex which preceded it. The association of the post-medieval remains with those of the medieval complex demonstrates the development of the site over a period of 500 years and will contribute to an understanding of the development of high status components of the medieval and post-medieval landscapes. The remains of the post-medieval formal gardens reflect the changing social expectations, aspirations and tastes of the period. Limited archaeological excavation has demonstrated the survival of buried remains on the site, and, as a result of detailed documentary research, the site is quite well understood.
The monument includes the buried remains of Eresby Hall, a post-medieval house with formal gardens located immediately to the west of the present Eresby House and north east of Eresby House Farm. The Hall and gardens reused, and partly overlie, the remains of a medieval manor house.
In 1086 land at Eresby, previously held by Aschil, was in the possession of the Bishop of Durham. During the 12th century the land passed by marriage to the de Bec family and in 1296 John de Bec was granted a licence to crenellate the manor at Eresby. The de Becs retained Eresby until the early 14th century when it passed by marriage to the Willoughby family and became a family seat. In 1505 the lands passed to William Willoughby of Parham and during the 16th century Eresby passed, via marriage, to Charles Brandon who built a new house on the site, replacing the old manor house. The new house, constructed to the south east of the earlier one, later became a minor residence of the family, who made their home at Grimsthorpe. The property subsequently passed by marriage to the Berties and later was in the possession of the Duke of Ancaster. By the 18th century, formal gardens had been laid out around the house. The house was accidently destroyed by fire in 1769 and by the 1790s only a few outbuildings and a pair of gate piers survived. At the end of the 18th century, the two gate piers were made into one and topped by a commemorative urn; this pier, Listed Grade II, still stands and is included in the scheduling. The H-shaped building dating from the 17th century, known as Eresby House, approximately 50m east of Eresby Hall, was originally a house, converted to stables in the 18th century and reconverted to a house in the late 19th century. Eresby House is a Listed Building Grade II and is not included in the scheduling.
The buried remains of Eresby Hall lie to the south west of Eresby House. The Hall, built during the 16th century, was depicted on 18th century maps as an H-shaped building. To the north of the Hall was a turning circle, or carriage sweep, with a central oval-shaped ornamental feature. A pair of gate piers, shown in a sketch of 1791, are believed to have flanked the entrance to the carriage sweep. The eastern pier, constructed in brick with ashlar dressings and topped by an urn, as mentioned above, still stands, and the foundations of the other pier will survive as a buried feature, together with the layout of the carriage sweep. Beyond the gate piers, to the north, is a tree-lined avenue which formerly led from the house to Spilsby church, about 1km to the north east, the burial place of members of the Willoughby family. The southern part of the avenue, extending to a distance of approximately 10m immediately north of the standing gate pier, is included in the scheduling. The remainder of the avenue, which is now interrupted by a bypass road, is not included in the scheduling.
To the east of the Hall is a short west-facing scarp which marks the eastern extent of the remains of the post-medieval gardens. A dry channel, aligned east-west, indicates the location of the Hall and the northern edge of the formal gardens, formerly laid out to the south of the Hall. The channel measures approximately 20m in length, 4m in width and 1m deep, its southern edge formed by a flat-topped bank, about 4m in width. These remains are the only surviving parts of an extensive garden complex.
The visible and buried remains of the earlier medieval complex, representing the 13th century manor, are located to the north west of those of the post-medieval Hall. Limited excavations undertaken in the 1960s partly revealed building foundations, approximately 50m north west of the Hall, and the remains of a stone wall and a buttressed tower, 100m north west of the Hall and adjacent to the moat. Excavated evidence suggests that the complex took the form of a fortified house, including a great hall and kitchen, dating from the 13th century. The building foundations, in sandstone and brick, showed evidence of rebuilding or refurbishment in the mid-15th century, during the time of the sixth Lord Willoughby. The stone wall, with the buttressed tower at its west end, is believed to represent the northern curtain wall of the medieval complex and to date from the 13th century. Part of a brick wall, standing up to 1m in height approximately 45m to the south of the buttressed tower, revealed during the excavations, is still visible above ground.
A subrectangular pond, known as 'The Canal', located approximately 90m south of the Hall site, formed part of the garden layout. The Canal has been extensively altered and is not included in the scheduling. A Y-shaped pond, known as 'The Moat' lies immediately to the north and west of the remains of the complex. The pond is believed to represent a post-medieval ornamental water feature, possibly adapted from a medieval moat. The pond has been significantly altered in modern times and is therefore not included in the scheduling. (Scheduling Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1276 May 15 (Click on the date for details of this licence.) but then revoked.
A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1276 Aug 6.

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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