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Barton Seagrave Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Barton Hanred

In the civil parish of Kettering.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP886770
Latitude 52.38325° Longitude -0.70031°

Barton Seagrave Castle has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.

Description

Barton Seagrave moats and fishponds form a part of a wider settlement which was deserted as the village either shrank or shifted its focus further eastwards. Although part of the settlement has continued in use to the modern day, with consequent disturbance of the earlier remains, earthworks of the earlier settlement include the various house plots and significantly, two moats and a fishpond. One of the moats is the location of a prestigious residence whilst the other appears to have had a more ornamental function. The moats, fishpond and village remains at Barton Seagrave are well-preserved and together provide evidence of the changing patterns of medieval farming settlements in the Northamptonshire countryside.
The monument lies to the south of Kettering and on the west side of Barton Seagrave. The site includes two moated enclosures linked by a water channel and associated fishponds and water channels. To the north east of one of the moats lies part of the remains of the shrunken medieval village of Barton Seagrave. The southernmost moat is rectangular, measuring approximately 115m x 68m, and is surrounded by a ditch up to 2m deep and 20m wide. A causeway lies across the east ditch of the moat and exposed stonework is visible on the rectangular moat island. There is an outer bank 1m high on the north and west sides of the moat ditches and just to the west of the moat lies a rectangular fishpond fed by a spring. A water channel 0.5m deep, 1m wide and 100m long connects the south moat to the north moat. The north moat covers an area about 60m square and is surrounded by a ditch up to 8m wide and 2m deep; there is no evidence of an entrance causeway. Outer banks are evident on the north and west sides of the moat. Two deep rectangular depressions on the moat island are considered to be fishponds and suggest that this moat was an ornamental feature. In the centre of the monument, between the two moated sites, a water channel runs from east to west towards a large fishpond, still waterlogged, which lies in the west of the site. A further water channel runs towards the east from the centre of the site, and to the east are the earthwork remains of further channels which formed part of the water management system. To the north east of the northern moat lies part of the earthwork remains of the shrunken medieval village of Barton Seagrave. Two rectangular paddocks bounded by ditches now remain and in the south of the area stands a house platform. During road widening in the mid 1960s, a considerable amount of medieval pottery and masonry was uncovered just to the north of this area. (Scheduling Report)

The site is often termed a 'castle' but the remains suggest that there was never much more than two simple moated enclosures, one of which held a manor house. There is, however, a record of one Nicholas de Seagrave obtaining licence to crenellate in the early 14th century and this perhaps indicates the date of the construction of the moats, although it may only represent a rebuilding on an existing site. The site appears to be that of the manor house of Barton Hanred, one of the two manors in Barton Seagrave, which is last mentioned as inhabited in 1433 (VCH Northants., III (1930), 176–8; II (1906), 414; J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 217).
The S. moat encloses an island of somewhat irregular form, surrounded by a wide ditch up to 2 m. deep. The interior is very uneven and much disturbed. A broad outer bank 1.5 m. high, on the N. and W. sides formerly held the water in the ditch. In the S.W. corner the ditch is much wider than elsewhere, and was perhaps a fishpond. Immediately to the W. is another rectangular pond, also probably for fish. Just outside the S.W. corner of the moat there is a large irregular mound, which is possibly a spoil heap from the original construction work. This moat is undoubtedly the site of the manor house, and it is probably from this place that the 'window frames and door cases of stone with other large quantities of good face-stone' came, (J. Bridges, op. cit.). (RCHME)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1310 Oct 3 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

Gatehouse does not concur with the RCHME that this site represents the manor house of Barton Hanred. The RCHME dates the moats to the licence to crenellate of 1310, which is entirely reasonable but that work was done by Nicholas Seagrave who, at the time held the eponymous manor of Barton Seagrave. Barton Hanred was held by the de Lisle family in the C14.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 31/07/2016 00:53:06

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