HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > The National Heritage List for England Result

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Nocton Park Priory on Abbey Hill, 750m north east of Nocton Wood Houses

List Entry Number: 1018898


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire
District: North Kesteven
District Type: District Authority
Parish: Nocton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Mar-1977

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Apr-1999

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22750

Asset Groupings

This List entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List Entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England. These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout, although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning, and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 225 of these religious houses belonged to the order of St Augustine. The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they came to be known as `black canons' because of their dark coloured robes and to distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. From the 12th century onwards, they undertook much valuable work in the parishes, running almshouses, schools and hospitals as well as maintaining and preaching in parish churches. It was from the churches that they derived much of their revenue. The Augustinians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

The remains of Nocton Park Priory survive well as a series of earthworks and buried deposits. The association of these remains with those of a post- Dissolution house has resulted in the preservation of structural, artefactual and ecofactual deposits allowing insights into religious, domestic and economic activity on the site through both the medieval and post-medieval periods. The remains have been largely unaffected by later activity and, as a result of detailed historical research and archaeological survey, are quite well understood.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the inner precinct of Nocton Park Priory, together with those of the house which succeeded it, a house of Augustinian canons founded in the earlier 12th century. The priory, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, was established by the lord of the manor, Robert Darcy, in or near a pre-existing deer park. Originally a small foundation for nine canons, it declined in population during the 15th and 16th centuries, and, when it was dissolved in 1536, only four canons and a prior were resident. In 1537 the property was leased to the lord of the manor, Thomas Wymbysshe, but in the following year was granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. In 1569-70 it passed to Sir Henry Stanley, Lord Strange, who constructed a secular residence from the monastic ruins. At the end of the 17th century the house was abandoned and the buildings were finally dismantled; in 1727 they were depicted by William Stukeley as a series of earthworks.

The monument is situated on the crest of a low hill overlooking the fenland to the north and east. In the eastern part of the monument is a series of substantial earthworks bounded on the north and east by a steep bank in which the remains of a stone wall are buried; this bank represents part of the boundary of the priory's inner precinct. The remainder of the precinct boundary extends as a buried feature into the western part of the monument, where earthworks have been lowered by ploughing. This boundary defined the area where the principal buildings of the monastery stood, including domestic, service and some agricultural buildings. At the middle of the eastern side of the precinct, near the highest part of the site, are the earth-covered foundations of a long rectangular building aligned approximately east-west; this building has been interpreted as the monastic church with peripheral chapels at its east end. Adjacent to the west end of this building is a raised area where further earthworks, surviving to a greater height, define a larger rectangular building thought to represent the remains of the house which was built on the site after the Dissolution. This structure forms the north eastern range of a group of buildings arranged on a courtyard plan which are thought to include accommodation and service buildings associated with the house. A linear bank marks a raised trackway running south westward from the north side of these buildings. Adjacent to the south east is another raised courtyard, also surrounded by building remains, representing a larger outer yard where stables, barns and other agricultural buildings were located. Further building remains are represented by earthworks in the northern part of the precinct, and by buried deposits in the western part. Although these structures were in use in the post-medieval period they are believed to overlie and partly incorporate the remains of earlier buildings associated with the priory. The monastic cloisters are thought to have been located adjacent to the south side of the church in an area which was subsequently levelled during the creation of a series of descending south-facing terraces, probably to serve as gardens for the post-Dissolution house.

All fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details


National Grid Reference: TF 07733 64784

© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.

This copy shows the entry on 02-Dec-2021 at 10:09:56.