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Minster Lovell Manor

In the civil parish of Minster Lovell.
In the historic county of Oxfordshire.
Modern Authority of Oxfordshire.
1974 county of Oxfordshire.
Medieval County of Oxfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP32471139
Latitude 51.79983° Longitude -1.53090°

Minster Lovell Manor has been described as a probable Palace, and also as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Minster Lovell Hall is known from part excavations to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, function and development of the site. In addition, the historical activities of the lords of Minster Lovell are well documented and connect the family to many key historical events. The monument is open to the public as an historic amenity. Taken as a group, in association with the nearby fishponds, church, farm and dovecote (the subject of a separate scheduling), the monument provides a good example of the relationship of status, religion and economy in the medieval period.
The monument includes the remains of Minster Lovell Hall, its associated buildings, two fishponds and part of what is probably an early medieval cemetery. The site lies immediately south and west of St Kenelm's Church on the north bank of the River Windrush. The upstanding ruins of the hall are Listed Grade I. The Hall comprises the ruined remains of a manor house built in the first half of the 15th century. An earlier house built on the site is believed to have been completely demolished when Minster Lovell Hall was constructed. The manor house was arranged around a quadrangle about 38m wide east-west and open to the river on its southern side. To the north stood the great hall with its entrance porch and the other principal rooms. The porch which is approached from the north by a patterned cobbled pathway, has suffered the effects of being exposed to the elements but internal plaster survives within the vaulted roof. Decorative details can also be seen, giving an impresion of the splendour of the building when newly constructed. The great hall measures 15m by 8m and stands 12m high from floor to wall top. The windows are known to have originally included decorated glass showing heraldic designs relating to the Lovell family. A small staircase led to a large upper room or solar and there was also a chapel on the first floor. The west wing contained apartments and chambers. The east wing was divided into two roughly equal parts by a passage. North of this were the kitchens while the building to the south served as the stables. East of the hall and north of the kitchen was a series of rooms believed to have included the buttery, bakehouse and pantry. On the south west corner stood a substantial tower and externally buttressed wall which was added towards the end of the 15th century. Further minor extensions and alterations to the layout and use of parts of the manor carried on over the course of its history, notably a west facing extension and conversion of the chapel to domestic use, sometime during the 16th century. East of the hall buildings lies a series of earthworks representing ancillary buildings and the earlier road line. Two fishponds, forming part of a substantial group of ponds along this stretch of the Windrush, lie immediately west and south of the hall. The eastern of the two ponds was constructed using a former channel of the river which ran immediately to the south of the manor house. This pond is roughly 50m from east-west and is broader at its eastern (down stream) end. It remains open and has been adapted since its original construction to form an ornamental feature. The pond to the west of the hall measures about 60m from east-west and is broadest at its western end where it measures up to 25m wide. It has become much overgrown with flora and was originally more rectangular in plan, having become silted up over time. There is a further fishpond about 100m south east of the hall which has been heavily dredged in the past and is not included in the scheduling. To the north of the great hall is St Kenelm's Church, dedicated to the martyred son of King Kenwulf of Mercia, who is believed to have died in about AD 819. The church, which is not included in the scheduling, is now surrounded by a roughly square and relatively small graveyard. However, archaeological work in late 1995 and early 1996 found evidence of burials on a strip of land to the west of the present churchyard wall and this area is included in the scheduling. Although undated, these burials can most probably be explained by the earlier existence of a much larger close around the church which shrank as the status of the church lessened as the parish became smaller. It is known from documentary records that Minster Lovell Hall was built by a William Lovell around AD 1440 although the land had been held by the Lovells' since as early as AD 1130. The main additions were probably carried out by his grandson Francis. There is much known about this important family whose members were present on the Third Crusade (1193), and at the battles of Bannockburn (1314) and Bosworth (1485) and others. The manor was sold in 1602 to the Coke family and they remained owners until 1812 although the manor was dismantled in about 1747 after which they did not reside in Minster Lovell. Several further owners followed until Mrs Agneta Terriere placed the ruins in the care of the state in 1935. (Scheduling Report)

Manor House ruins. Circa 1431-42 for William, Seventh Lord Lovell, incorporating some earlier structures. Coursed squared stone and stone ashlar. The manor house was built on a court yard plan, having a hall, solar and chapel range with a kitchen and bake house cross-wing to the east; and north-west, and west accommodation ranges. Most of the floor plan survives above ground level. Hall, solar and chapel range: the entrance porch has a two-compartment quadripartite vault with floriated roof bosses, the hall was lit by 2-light cusped windows to the south, of which part of the traceried survives. On the north side of the hall were apartments on the ground floor, with the chapel above. The window openings of the ground floor rooms survive, the spandrels of the rere-arches have quatrefoils. The kitchen and bake house wing survives as foundations visible above ground level. The north-west range: the gable-end of this range survives with a 2-light stone mullion and transom window, each light having a cinquefoiled ogee head with quatrefoils in the angles of the cusping. West range: at the south end of the west range is the remains of a 4-storey tower, having an octagonal corner staircase turret. History: manor probably granted to William Lupellus, the first Lovell, in c.1130. Manor built by William, seventh Lord Lovell c.1431-42. Francis, ninth Lord Lovell, was one of Richard III's chief courtiers, being Chamberlain of the Household and Chief Butler of England. It is reputed that he did not die at the battle of Stoke (1487) but fled to Minster Lovell where a skeleton was discovered in 1708 on opening an underground vault. (Listed Building Report)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:08

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