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Friskney Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Friskeneye

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TF463556
Latitude 53.07776° Longitude 0.18331°

Friskney Hall has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

The medieval moated site at Moat House, Friskney exhibits a variety of features. The site has remained largely under pasture and has never been excavated. The remains therefore survive well both as earthworks and below-ground remains. Waterlogging in the area of the moat suggests a high level of survival for organic remains. The monument is one of only two sites in the parish where traces of the medieval landscape are evident and the understanding of the monument has been increased by a detailed archaeological survey. The remains of the post-medieval house and the earthworks of its surrounding formal gardens are of interest in their own right as an example of the conversion of medieval functional features into more decorative ones.
The monument includes a medieval moated site situated at Moat House on the north-eastern edge of the village of Friskney. This is the site of the medieval hall of the Friskney family, constructed in the Norman period and ruined before the 18th century. The remains include the earthworks of a raised, moated platform on which the medieval house stood, and two adjacent moated enclosures. In one of these enclosures the remains of the medieval period are overlain by those of a post-medieval house, constructed in the early 16th century and largely destroyed 200 years later; this site is now occupied by the present Moat House which is not included in the scheduling. Associated with the post-medieval house are the remains of canals and other garden features. The monument thus includes the earthworks of the medieval moated site, comprising multiple moated enclosures, with overlying house, gardens and associated features including the remains of two former trackways. The monument lies in an area of domestic garden and pasture surrounded on nearly all sides by drained and cultivated fenland. The remains include a group of three adjacent moated enclosures occupying a rectangular area approximately 100m x 110m. The first enclosure, which occupies the northern quarter of the site, takes the form of a raised platform, c.50m square, bounded on three sides by a hollow and on the fourth (north-east) side by a modern drainage ditch. On all four sides there is an internal scarp up to 2m in height and on the north-west, south-west and south-east sides are the remains of an internal bank approximately 4m wide. Along the bank are small levelled areas and in the middle of the platform is a broad depression. These earthworks are considered to represent the remains of the medieval hall, partly overlain by post-medieval features including a modern trackway. Immediately adjacent to, and to the south-east of, the first enclosure is a second, slightly smaller, enclosure, approximately 55m x 30m, on which the present Moat House now stands. This enclosure is separated from the first by a hollow c.10m wide and up to 2m deep. A similar hollow, partly water-filled, encloses this platform on the south-west and south-east sides. The interior of the moated area, now mainly lawn, is raised and stands at a similar level to the first enclosure; at its highest point, near the western corner, stands the present house. This enclosure is considered to have formed part of the medieval moated complex, where outbuildings or gardens contemporary with the medieval hall would have been located. Beneath the present dwelling are the remains of a house, built about 1520, which was burnt down in the late 17th/ early 18th century. The moat on the north-west, south-west and south-east sides, now partly water-filled, was re-cut in the post-medieval period as a drainage and garden feature. Adjacent to, and to the south-west of, the first two enclosures is a larger, rectangular enclosure, approximately 40m x 80m, separated from the first two by a hollow up to 11m wide and 1.5m deep. Along the north-east and south-east sides is an L-shaped bank, approximately 10m wide on its north-west/south-east arm and 25m wide south-west to north-east. Along the bank are a number of small levelled areas and depressions; halfway along the long arm are a pair of mounds. The remainder of the enclosure is occupied by a rectangular area of low-lying earthworks, separated from the bank by an L-shaped linear depression, representing a former channel across which there is a narrow causeway. The whole of the enclosure is considered to have originated as part of the medieval moated complex where outbuildings and enclosures for animals or gardens would have been sited. The bank is believed to have been raised in the post-medieval period when the moat which runs alongside it was re-cut as a garden feature. A linear, water-filled ditch, up to 10m in width and hedge- lined on both sides, bounds the enclosure on the south-west and is also considered to be a post-medieval garden feature re-cut from an earlier moat. The north-west side of the enclosure is bounded by a hollow representing the remains of a medieval moat, partly overlain by a later trackway. On the south-west side of the moated complex is a further area of raised ground, standing up to 2m higher than the ground to the west, and on a similar level to the earthworks on the interior of the moated site. This area is considered to represent a further part of the medieval site, having been raised in the post-medieval period with the re-cutting of the adjacent moat. It is also the site of a former trackway. Near the northern end it is cut by a shallow linear depression representing a short channel which formerly connected the moat to a drainage channel on the west. The north-western corner of the monument is occupied by a further raised area, also the site of a former trackway. Along the north-western edge of the moated site are the remains of an external bank surviving as a low, linear mound on the edge of the arable field. Similar remains survive on the south-eastern edge of the moated site. The north- eastern edge of the site is defined in part by a modern drainage ditch and in part by a gentle slope. On this side the medieval moated complex is believed to have been bounded by a body of water such as a large pond. (Scheduling Report)

The ancient hall of the Friskney family stood about half a mile south west of the church, and in digging up its foundations, about the year 1802, several joints of a Roman aqueduct were discovered. (White 1872)

Trial trenching was carried (in 2005) out over a small area of the site in advance of housing development there. The interim report records a series of redeposited natural layers of probable 13th-15th century date, likely to represent upcast from the digging of the moat, as well as deposits of dumped domestic refuse (including pottery sherds) of similar date and a possible surface of medieval or later date. No obvious structural remains were encountered. (Lincolnshire HER)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1303 Jan 30 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

White's record is confused. The site half a mile south west of the church is Abbey Hill but Friskney Hall, the supposed location of a find of a Roman aqueduct (this, whatever it was, is now lost), is 400 yards (375m) north east of the church. This is one of 3 moated sites in area one of which may mark the site of building licensed 1303 to Ralph Friskney. Gatehouse favours this site on the bases of being closest to the parish church and it being identified as home of the Friskney family in the scheduling report.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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