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Historic England Research Records

Friskney Hall

Hob Uid: 355142
Location :
East Lindsey
Grid Ref : TF4635055620
Summary : The site of Friskney Hall. Earthwork evidence indicates a possible courtyard house surrounded by a moat. An excavation in 1802 uncovered fragments of a possible Roman aqueduct, while a stone coffin bearing the effigy of a knight in late 14th century armour was discovered in the early 20th century. This may be the site of the house for which a licence to crenellate was granted in 1303.
More information : TF 4635 5562. Friskney Hall, and site of moat. Joints of Roman Aqueduct found A.D. 1802. (1)

According to Leland the residence of the Friskney family was about a quarter of a mile north-east of Friskney church. It was partly extant in about 1709. In digging up the foundations "about 30 years ago" (about 1800) several joints of a `Roman aqueduct' were discovered, together with a variety of other articles, about 4ft below the surface (2).

The remains of the aqueduct were in the possession of the Rev H J Charles, Vicar of Friskney, in 1904 (3), but were not found in 1930

Published survey (25") of moat revised. Nothing could be traced
in connection with the aqueduct. The hall is modern with no traces of an earlier building. (5)

The moat (TF 4635 5562 GCE), annotated as Friskney Hall (site of) (Ordnance Survey 25" to 1 mile Lincolnshire XCI.15 1889), is situated at the centre of the parish of Friskney about 350 m north-east of the parish church of All Saints. The site lies about 2 m above OD in an area of intensively drained fenland. The field boundaries depicted within the parish in the mid-nineteenth century (PRO IR 20/136) differ little from the pattern today. As many of these boundaries share their courses with the drainage channels this has prevented wholescale change within the landscape bar the removal of a few hedgerows. The letters given below in [] refer to the plan held in the archive.

John Leland states that the residence of the Friskney family was
about a quarter of a mile to the north east of the church (authority
2). According to Miss Pope, the present owner of the site, a house was built around 1520 but was badly damaged by fire in the late 17th or early 18th century. Archaeological finds made at the site include the joints of a Roman aqueduct found on the site in 1802 (Ordnance Survey Lincolnshire 25" to 1 mile XCI.15 1889). In the OS Object Name Book it is later recorded that the remains were in the possession of the Rev H J Cheales, vicar of Friskney, in 1904 but were not found in 1930 (Authorities 3 and 4). During the early part of this century a fine, almost complete stone coffin surmounted by effigy of a knight in late 14th century style plate armour was recovered from one of the arable fields either to the north or east of the site. The effigy and the stone coffin have subsequently been removed to All Saints Church Friskney.

The earthworks surveyed represent the core of a once more extensive complex of earthworks, parts of which have been taken into arable cultivation. Early editions of the 25" to 1 mile Ordnance Survey maps (1887 and 1905 Lincs XCI.15) depict earthworks parallel to the south-eastern boundary of the site in a field named as Coney Garth on a sale document of 1903. No surface remains could be traced in this field. The surviving earthworks lie in pasture field named as House Close in 1903, with a house and garden occupying the south east quadrant of the field. The remains are bounded by a market garden to the west, the remaining three sides lie adjacent to arable fields. In the field along the north-western boundary of the site slight undulations were visible beneath a ripening crop, although no earth works have been mapped by the Ordnance Survey.

The earthworks are bounded on all four sides by a wide ditch up to 10 m width forming an enclosure 115 m x 95 m. Along the western and southern sides the ditch is defined by scarps to either side, while along the eastern side is a narrow drainage ditch with scarping to the inside. The northern side is defined by a single scarp along the interior and slight fall in towards the hedge from the arable field.

Within these ditches the earthworks may roughly be divided into two by a linear hollow up to 11 m in width and 1.5 m in depth running south-east to north-west. The eastern side may further be sub-divided by a hollow 10 m in width and up to 2 m in depth separating the house and garden from the remainder of the site. The earthworks in the north-eastern quadrant are the most prominent, standing approximately 0.5 m above those to the west. This area [a] is 53 m x 53 m and is defined on all sides by a well marked scarp up to 2 m in height. The opposing external sides to the east and the north have been reduced and narrowed through the action of the plough. Although the interior has been disturbed by a track passing over it, a fairly well preserved internal bank was surveyed on three sides. This bank is 4 m in width; along its crest level areas were discerned defined by small scarps set across the bank.

The earthworks in the western half of the site may be sub-divided by an L-shaped hollow (b). The northern portion of has latterly been used as a stock pond (Ordnance Survey 25" to 1 mile Lincolnshire XCI. 15 1889). It was still shown as a pond in 1971 (Ordnance Survey TF 4655), but was dry at the time of survey. Lying in the angle of the L-shaped hollow [b] is a level area 14 m by 10 m sunk slightly below the surface of the field to its north. To the south at [c] a number of former building stances may be marked by discrete levels, both to the west and along the northern lip of the ditch. On the thin strip of ground separating hollow [b] from the main south-east to northwest hollow a series of stepping levels were surveyed along with two isolated mounds.

The interpretation of these earthworks is confused by the digging of the many drainage ditches in the area. Their presence makes
discrimination between those ditches that may represent former
boundaries and later ditches virtually impossible. Indeed it is
likely that any pre-existing ditches, probably also dug for the
purposes of drainage, would have been incorporated into the later system. The ditches along the western and southern side and the main interior ditches seem likely to be original due to their larger size. This may in turn suggest that the sub divisions that they have created reflect the original layout of the site.

On this interpretation of the core of the site is the raised north
eastern quadrant [a], either marking a courtyard house around a
sunken yard or less likely owing to the high water table a square,
cellared house. It is this feature that should be regarded as the
moated platform rather than the whole enclosure as the Ordnance Survey depiction has in the past implied. Notwithstanding this the remains to the west also appear to relate to former buildings and attendant yards or closes. In the angle of the L-shaped hollow [b], the disturbed area may mark the position of a building with a yard to the rear. While the level areas surveyed in the remainder of the field [c] may represent a combination of small individual buildings and a series of stepped rooms within a longer range served by a
hollow way [b].

The discovery of the stone effigy on the site would also appear to
confirm its status. A context for the burial is nevertheless
difficult to discern. The proximity of the parish church would seem to rule out the need for a private chapel on the site. (6)

Friskney manor house. Granted a licence to crenellate in 1303. (7)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source :
Source details : OS 25" map, 1905
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Source Number : 2
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Source details : Topographic and Historic Account of Wainfleet, 1829, p 191 (E Oldfield)
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Source Number : 3
Source :
Source details : Object Name Book, Lincolnshire, 1905, 91 SE, p 12
Page(s) : 12
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Source Number : 4
Source :
Source details : Corr 6" map, 1930, (C W Phillips)
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Source Number : 5
Source :
Source details : Field Investigator, JB, 22-APR-1965
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Source Number : 6
Source :
Source details : Wayne Cocroft/09-JUL-1992/RCHME: Lincolnshire Record Revision
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Source Number : 7
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Source details :
Page(s) : 327
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Aqueduct
Evidence : Architectural Component, Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : House, Moat, Manor House, Courtyard House
Evidence : Earthwork, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : 1303
Monument End Date : 1303
Monument Start Date : 1303
Monument Type : Fortified Manor House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Late C14
Monument End Date : 1399
Monument Start Date : 1367
Monument Type : Coffin, Effigy
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TF 45 NE 2
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities :
Start Date : 1965-04-22
End Date : 1965-04-22
Associated Activities :
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-07-08
End Date : 1992-10-09