The surviving earthworks known as Mareham Grange are situated in the extreme west of the parish of Burton Pedwardine to the east of Mareham Lane (Fig 28). At the time of the Conquest there appears to have been a settlement in the vicinity of the site, for sokeland in Aswarby was said to belong to Marram (1). The parent estate, however, is not described eo nomine, and it would therefore seem that Mareham was an alternative name for, or was subsumed within, the manor of Burton Pedwardine. Held by Athelstan in 1066, a king's thane who enjoyed extensive liberties, this estate was in the hands of Guy de Craon in 1086, and it was his descendants Maurice de Craon and Guy his son who granted a parcel of land in Mareham from the fee to Sempringham Abbey in the mid twelfth century (2). The exact limits of the gift have not been determined, but the grange that was established there attracted further grants of land from neighbouring lords adjacent to Mareham Lane in Silk Willoughby and next to Thinghou by Mareham, the meeting place of the wapentake of Aswardhurn, in Kirkby Laythorpe (3). Not all of the land in the settlement, however, was acquired by the Abbey, for in 1202 John de Langtoft held land there, and it is possible that there was still a village on the site in the thirteenth century (4).

          No evidence has come to light to illustrate the management of the estate. Mareham, or Coldmareham as it was often called, occupied an exposed clayland site, and Sempringham's benefactors may have been as much concerned with the improvement of their own estates that ensued from the establishment of granges as with the more ethereal benefits of good works. Exploitation of the land, however, was probably already well developed. In the twelfth century a ditched enclosure called 'Parc' was granted by Ralf Salvein to Sempringham for use as arable, pasture, or meadow, and land was already cultivated in the vicinity (5). The subsequent use of the grange is obscure, but it is likely that sheep farming was the principal activity. It was worth at least 66 shillings and 8 pence in 1538 (6). After the Dissolution the site was acquired by Sir Thomas Horsman, and, with the purchase of the manor in 1552, was reunited with the main estate in Burton Pedwardine (7).

          The earthwork, three of whose ditches were filled in in the 1970s, forms a parallelogram 230 by 180 metres (Fig 29). There is a slight eastwards extension to the northern ditch, but this has been cut off from the site by a farm road constructed when the Bourne - Sleaford railway line was put through in the 1840s. When open, the ditches were seen to be of considerable size, between 15 and 20 metres across from rim to rim and up to two metres deep. The ground enclosed is uneven but in general no higher than the surrounding land, although a slight rise is discernible when the site is viewed from a distance. Before the moats were filled and the enclosed area deep drained the site was field walked. Pottery of fourteenth to sixteenth century date was found, together with a scatter of clay tile and numerous small stones. The latter, as well as the buried stone walls seen in the drainpipe trenches were of the local poor quality limestone cornbrash. The central area contained a few slight depressions, as can be better seen in the aerial photograph (Pl VI). One of these, shallow and stony, leads to Mareham Lane and must mark an access road. On the north side of the moated site runs a stream, the Beck, and to the north and east there has been  extensive ridge and furrow. In the present century, apart from clay diggings for brickworks, much of the locality was scrub, wood or pasture until the 1940s. The evidence does support the identification of the site as that of the grange alone, and not of a medieval village.


1.       Lincs DB, 57/32.


2.       Lincs DB, 57/30; 'Charters Relating to the Priory of Sempringham', ed. E. M. Poynton, The Genealogist, new ser. 16, (1900), 227.


3.       'Charters Relating to the Priory of Sempringham', ed. E. M. Poynton, The Genealogist, new ser. 16, (1900), 77.


4.       The Earliest Lincolnshire Assize Rolls AD 1202-1209, ed. D. M. Stenton, LRS 22, Lincoln 1926, 228; see also RA, no 2079.


5.       'Charters Relating to the Priory of Sempringham', ed. E. M. Poynton, The Genealogist, new ser. 16, (1900), 77.


6.       VE iv, 102b.


7.       Trollope, 353.