The site of the crenellated manor house belonging to Hermit Dame. Finds including carved stones and a 15th century gold ring have been found. A circular enclosure formed by a 15 foot wide wet moat, 4 to 5 feet deep. The site was under pasture when visited in April 1969. A collection of medieval to modern metalwork found on the site and reported in 1978 included fragments of lead, fragments of a sheet bronze vessel, fragments of possibly medieval lead window frames, a 17th or 18th century lead tag, a possibly medieval bronze square-headed rivet, a medieval or post medieval lead decorative attachment in the shape of a plume of feathers, a post medieval iron horseshoe fragment, and a complete medieval bronze annular brooch. The moated site lies in the formerly wooded east end of the parish, in the bottom of a broad natural basin, north-east of a wood called 'hermit dam'. It was at one time assumed to be the site of Heynings priory but was subsequently identified as the manorial residence of the Trehampton and De Braose Lords of Lea. The family of Trehampton held the manor of Lea from the 12th to the 14th centuries and perhaps from the Norman Conquest. In 1322 John de Trehampton forfeited the manor and it was granted to William de Aune. When it was returned to the family by Edward III it was evidently not John de Trehampton who lived there, for in 1330 John de Braose (John Brehous in Emery), husband of John's sister, received licence to crenellate the manor. It is unlikely that it was used as a principal residence much beyond the 14th century. The date of the creation of this isolated moated site and its relation to the manor of Lea is uncertain. It must have been in existence before 1235 when Ralph de Trehampton obtained grant of a chantry in his chapel in his manor house at Lea. It may be that the earlier grant of free warren over the demesne of Lea, obtained by Roger de Trehampton in the time of Henry II, marked a move of the manor away from the village. The moat, although roughly square in plan, has markedly curved east and west sides. Despite plough damage surviving scarps show that the interior was slightly raised and that former buildings may once have stood on what is now a low mound with a central hollow. This comprises dark earth containing fragments of brick and limestone. The perimeter bank and ditch are in a variable state of preservation: on the north-west the ditch is 1.75m deep and filled with water, whereas on the south-east a drain has been cut through its bottom. The external bank is best preserved on the east where it still stands to a height of 1.5m; to the south it has been severely mutilated, while on the west it forms a causeway for the track leading to Priory Farm. Attached to the north side is an outer enclosure, called 'orchard piece' in the early 19th century, defined by well-marked water-filled ditches up to 1m deep which are linked to a small stream which forms the north-eastern boundary. To the east and south of the moat other shallow ditches with intermittent banks run west from the stream. These are presumably watercourses, perhaps bounding additional enclosures or serving merely as drains of relatively late date. The boggy grassland north-west of the moat is occupied by a group of slight earthworks of a least two phases which could have enclosed a post medieval farm or cottages, possibly representing the 'sort of hamlet' mentioned by Stark in the early 19th century; the existence of which is confirmed by documentary evidence in the late 16th and 17th century. (Lincolnshire HER)
Hermit Dam moated site survives particularly well as a series of substantial earthworks and buried features, with a good diversity of surviving components. The moat, external bank and causeway are clearly defined and the platform will retain evidence for the building which originally occupied the island. As a result of the study of surviving documents the history of this site is quite well understood.
The monument includes a moated site located at the bottom of a natural basin to the north east of Hermit Dam Wood. The site has been identified as the manorial residence of the Trehampton and de Braose lords of Lea who held the manor from the 12th to the 14th century.
The moated site takes the form of a roughly square platform surrounded on all sides by a dry moat approximately 10m wide and 3m at its deepest. The island measures 90m east-west and 95m north-south and includes a slightly raised platform which has been largely levelled at its centre. The remains of the manor house and associated outbuildings are believed to survive as buried features on the interior of the moated enclosure. An external bank surrounds the moat and is most clearly visible on the eastern edge where it stands to a height of approximately 1.5m. To the north the bank is set back slightly from the ditch and exists as a broad spread 0.25m high. To the west the modern trackway leading to Priory Farm lies directly over the outer bank. To the south it has been badly degraded through ploughing. A causeway in the north east corner, measuring approximately 8m wide, provides access to the platform.
The manor of Lea was held by the Trehampton family from the 12th to the 14th century, and possibly from the Norman Conquest. In 1322 John de Trehampton forfeited the manor and it was granted to William de Aune, the king's constable of Tickhill Castle. It was returned to the family by Edward III, when it was inhabited by John de Braose, the husband of John de Trehampton's sister. In 1330 John de Braose received license to crenellate the manor. It is unlikely that it was used as a principal residence beyond the 14th century. (Scheduling Report)