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Swineshead; The Manwarings

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Baythorpe; Manwar Ings; Man War Ings; the Danish encampment; Suineshevede

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TF24334097
Latitude 52.95171° Longitude -0.15084°

Swineshead; The Manwarings has been described as a certain Timber Castle.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


The remains of the motte and bailey castle at The Manwar Ings survive well as a series of substantial earthworks. They are rare in representing one of very few medieval monuments to have survived in an area of intensive modern cultivation. Upstanding earthworks and underlying archaeological deposits, including earlier ground surfaces, will preserve valuable evidence for domestic and economic activity on the site both during the castle's occupation and before. As a result of documentary research the importance of the castle in the medieval period is quite well understood. The association between this site and that of Swineshead Abbey, nearby, provides valuable information about the way in which the two high-status establishments interrelated as contemporary components of the wider medieval landscape.
The monument includes a medieval motte and bailey castle at The Manwar Ings. Situated approximately 1km to the north east of the village of Swineshead, it is believed to have been constructed in the 12th century by the de Gresley family, lords of the manor of Swineshead, who also founded Swineshead Abbey. The castle is referred to in documentary sources of the late 12th and 13th centuries, and artefactual fragments found nearby suggest that it was occupied until at least the 14th century.
The remains of the castle take the form of a series of substantial earthworks and buried features,including a circular motte and bailey with inner and outer moats, now dry. The motte is represented by a raised circular platform, now largely level, standing to a height of nearly 2m above the surrounding fields. On this platform would have stood the domestic and service buildings of the castle, while a slight internal bank may indicate the position of a former wall or palisade. Brick-lined shelters were inserted into the motte during World War II. The motte is surrounded by a deep inner moat about 15m wide, in turn encircled by the bailey which varies between 7m and 15m in width. The inner moat is crossed on the eastern side by an earthen causeway which is believed to occupy the site of a former bridge; a raised area on the bailey at the east end of the causeway may represent the site of a gatehouse.
Surrounding the bailey is an outer moat 7m-10m in width, originally circular in plan but partly truncated on the eastern side by modern ploughing. It is crossed on the north west side by a modern trackway, beneath which it is partly infilled. (Scheduling Report)

Local known as the Danish encampment and said to be possibly residence of Turkil, the Dane during the reign of Canute 1016-10(?) who apportioned the Fens to the towns who held land abutting on to the Fens (Lincolnshire HER ref. Wheeler)

Large low motte is a building platform, which along with the surrounding ditches, would have produced a dry area in what must originally have been marshy fen. This is some distance from the village and church (970m). Roffe suggest a C12 construction date, contemporary with the construction of the nearby Abbey which was founded in 1134. Medieval Lincolnshire had a high population and in this area of fenland perhaps land by the church was occupied by houses and fields forcing the construction of a large new manor house on virgin land. The real defensive strength of the castle may have been in the surrounding marsh rather than the earthworks.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 15/08/2017 15:56:49

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