TF 007397


The earthwork known as Heydour Castle is situated on gently rising land on the western edge of the hamlet of Heydour (Fig 40) and marks the site of a substantial manorial curia. In 1086 the settlement, assessed at four carucates to the geld, was sokeland of Guy de Craon's manor of Osbournby, and it is therefore unlikely that that a lord's hall was situated there at the time (1). The manorial complex is clearly contemporary with, or post-dates, the enfeoffment of the land in the twelfth century. According to thirteenth-century sources there were three manors in Heydour belonging to the honours of Gant, de la Haye, and Craon (2). But the settlement was joined with Aisby and Oasby from before the Conquest to form a single vill, and the name Heydour was often indifferently used to identify all three (3). In reality, however, the manor houses of the Gant and de la Haye fees were situated in Oasby and Aisby, although their lands were probably intermixed for there was a single common field system, and thus the site of the castle can be firmly identified with the Craon fee (4). The earliest known tenant was Roger de Rudston who probably held the manor sometime before 1206 (5). His son Walter was in seisin of the fee with an estate in Haceby for the service of one knight in 1212, and it was not until sometime between that date and 1242 that Richard Tuschet was subenfeoffed in Heydour, with possibly a small amount of land in Haceby for the service of three tenths of a knight fee, and Robert de Thorpe in Haceby for one tenth (6). However, before subenfeoffment the mesne fee was known as Heydour, and it is therefore likely that the caput was established in that settlement by the early thirteenth century.

          No references to the lord's hall have been found, and its form, and that of related structures, is unknown. In the documents consulted, the site is never described as a castle, but always appears as 'a capital messuage', the normal term for a manor house. The form of the earthworks, however, suggests that it was eminently defensible, and the site can therefore with justice be classified as a castle. The desertion and dereliction of the site is likewise unrecorded. Nevertheless, it is evident that it did not occur in the thirteenth century, for at that time the site was probably the principal residence of its lords. Rather it is more likely that it followed, and was a consequence of, the acquisition of the manor of Oasby by its lord sometime before 1311 (7). It is clear from an extent that the Heydour complex was still in use in 1343, for there were houses for crops, a dovecote, and a garden called 'le Vynyerd' there. But it may be significant that reference is only made to 'the site of the manor house'. By contrast, 'le Westhalle', held of the honour of Gant and presumably the manor house in Oasby, is specifically named, and is probably represented by the present Oasby Hall which still retains a fifteenth century west wing (8). The consolidation of the estate around this nucleus, then, would seem to have been under way by the mid fourteenth century. Some structure may, however, have remained on the Heydour site in the sixteenth century when Leland wrote that a member of the Bussey family, to whom the manor had descended, 'dwelleth in an old place at Haider, that he and his parents hath of a fee farm, of the church of Lincoln' (9). But it is probably more likely that 'the Castle' was already deserted, and the reference was to Oasby Hall.

          The present state of the site (schedule no. 120 ) is uninformative. In 1930 C. W. Phillips described ' an irregular ring motte large enough to have contained the main buildings'. He noted a high bank at the south-east corner, with a ditch, and trees in the outer bailey to the south. In 1979 the surveyor commented on the remains of stone buildings on the mound, which is the main feature (Fig 40). Surrounding it are ditches of varying lengths, outlining irregularly shaped platforms, which are difficult to interpret (Pl VIII). The largest is a T-shaped one on the south-eastern side, water-filled. This is 20 metres wide, 70 metres long and 1.5 metres deep. On the northern and eastern sides the moat varies in size and merges with a series of other ditches beyond. On the eastern side of the complex, some 90 metres away from the motte, are two rectangular fishponds. The northernmost one is 45 metres long by 15 metres wide and about 2 metres deep, the southern one, at right angles to it and 15 metres away, is 50 metres long but extends northward for about 35 metres in an L-shape as a shallower ditch, then turns slightly to the east (Pl VIII). It has probably been filled in at some relatively recent period.


1.       Lincs DB, 57/21.


2.       BF, 184. 1037.


3.       The three settlements apppear to have constituted a twelve-carucate hundred in 1066 (Lincs DB, 24/85; 26/47; 57,21), and were a vill in 1316 (FA ii, 191).


4.       BF, 184, 1037; Documents Illustrative of Social and Economic History of the Danelaw, London 1920, xliv n. The assessments given are identical with those of the Domesday record.


5.       RA no 2066.


6.       BF, 184, 1030, 1037. The interest in Haceby is not noted in 1212, but in 1242 Henry the Chamberlain was the mesne tenant of both fees and therefore was presumably Walter's successor in the fee of one knight.


7.       CI v, 198.


8.       CIM ii, 462; Pevsner, Lincs, 616.


9.       Trollope, 377.