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Historic England Research Records

Sempringham

Hob Uid: 350979
Location :
Lincolnshire
South Kesteven
Billingborough, Pointon and Sempringham
Grid Ref : TF1060032800
Summary : An Anglo-Saxon settlement, deserted during the Medieval period. Sepringham was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The settlement was the location for the foundation of St Gilbert's monastic order in the mid 12th century. After Dissolution Lord Clinton built Sempringham Hall over the site of the priory. St Andrew's church (Listed) is all that remains today of this settlement. The area has been subject to recent survey and study. Evidence from field walking (surface finds), geophysical survey and aerial photography have expanded the knowledge of this site.
More information : [Name TF 10463279] Village [GT] (Site of) (1)

Sempringham is mentioned in the Domesday Survey and later records. The population was probably reduced by the Black Death; [see TF 13 SW 7 for plague pits.] The whole village is said to have entered the monastery. (3)

Ploughing has produced Anglo-Saxon stamped ware (a) as well as medieval. Part of the head of a small Anglo-Saxon brooch was found on the site of the Priory [TF 105 324] - Also a spindle-whorl.
Air photographs show soil or crop marks at approximately TF 106 328. (2-5)

The area is under plough. No earthworks are evident, but there is a heavy scatter of green glaze ware, other medieval potsherds, and building stone.

Mrs Ward, who now lives at the 'Old Vicarage', Osbournby; cannot recall the A.S. brooch. The present location of the brooch and spindle whorl could not be determined. (6)

As noted above an extensive scatter of pot and stone debris surrounds the Norman church where the soil is markedly darker. North of the church is higher disturbed ground but no coherent shapes survive. (7)

Foundation, growth and decline of Sempringham village detailed account. (8)

Following more recent work into the village (10) it has been purported that the place-name evidence suggests Sempringham (‘ham’ farmstead and ‘Sempinga’ a tribe or group name) should have an origin in the Early Saxon period (AD420-650). Pottery found west of the church supports this early origin. The Middle Saxon period (AD 650-850) has pottery again concentrated in the vicinity of the church within an enclosure which may have had monastic connections, perhaps because of the site of a Holy Well (which is still present in the churchyard). By the late Saxon period (AD 850-1066) and into the Norman period (AD 1066- 1150) Sempringham was a normal village as evidenced by further enclosures and buildings. The Domesday survey of 1086 tell us that the land at Sempringham was held by three nobles and comprising meadow, arable land and woodland. A church is mentioned as is a tenant Gocelin. His son Gilbert, who became a rector, in 1131 set up an enclosed cloister for seven local women on the north side of Sempringham church. After 1147 and Gilbert’s failed attempt to get his order accepted by the Cistercian chapter he added canons to his Order to cater for the spiritual needs of the nuns. The Gilbertine Priory ran with the canons following a version of the Augstinian rule and the nuns, lay-sisters and brothers following one similar to the Cistercian’s adaptation of the Benedictine rule. Gilbert died in 1189 and the subsequent miracles associated with him meant he was canonised in 1202. The Priory continued until it was closed in 1538 following Henry VIII’s Act for the suppression of the lesser monasteries.
Sempringham passed into the ownership of Lord Clinton who, sometime before 1552, begin building Sempringham Hall. This Hall was not the principal residence for the family and by 1743 it had been pulled down before it was sold to Lord Fortescue. Any village remaining would have been dependent on the Hall and in 1672 there are only three dwellings, two houses recorded. In 1856 eight houses are recorded mostly near the Parish boundary with Pointon or lying in the fen to the east. Some of the buildings that formed the Hall may have been converted into a farmhouse that was occupied until at least the 18th century. The site was purchased by the Crown and is held as part of the Estate today. The priory site was briefly a golf-course until it was ploughed in the 1940s as part of the War effort. (10)

Lincolnshire Architectural Society undertook excavation of the site in 1938-39, which revealed parts of the priory. More recent work has revealed the layout of the Priory and Hall. Techniques including aerial photographic survey, geophysical survey, field walking and LIDAR survey were used to investigate the site and the details are held in the files of Heritage Lincolnshire and the Lincolnshire HER. (10)


Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1956
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Lincs Record Soc 19 1924 xlii-iii lxii lxxv (C W Foster)
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Source Number : 10
Source : Sempringham: Village to Priory to Mansion
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Source : Sempringham Priory/paper plot 1
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Source : Sempringham/paper plot 2
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Source : Sempringham Priory and Village/ink
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Source Number : 3
Source : Lost villages of England
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Page(s) : 154, 364
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Source Number : 4a
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf: P V Addyman
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Source Number : 4b
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf: The late Rev C F Ward of Billingborough.
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Source Number : 5
Source : Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society reports and papers
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Page(s) : 8
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Vol(s) : 10, 1963-4
Source Number : 6
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : APs (RAF 106G/UK 1431 16.4.46 5130-2)
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Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 JB 04-MAY-65
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F2 BHS 23-APR-75
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Source Number : 9
Source : Lincolnshire history and archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 45-57
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Vol(s) : 20, 1985

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Deserted Settlement, Findspot
Evidence : Cropmark, Documentary Evidence, Find
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : 17th to 18th century
Monument End Date : 1800
Monument Start Date : 1601
Monument Type : Settlement, Findspot, Gilbertine Grange, Village, Mansion House, Farmhouse
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Cropmark, Find, Sub Surface Deposit, Stratified Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Medieval
Component Monument Type : Deserted Settlement, Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material :
Period : Post Medieval
Component Monument Type : Settlement, Findspot, Gilbertine Grange, Village, Mansion House, Farmhouse
Object Type : VESSEL, BROOCH
Object Material :

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Lincolnshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 32881
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TF 13 SW 5
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 350974
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 350984
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TF 13 SW 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1965-05-04
End Date : 1965-05-04
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TF 13 SW 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1975-04-23
End Date : 1975-04-23
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: SOUTH LINCOLNSHIRE FENLAND PROJECT
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 1979-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31