GUNBY AND STAINBY: TOWER HILL, STAINBY

SK 909227

 

In 1086 Alfred of Lincoln held a manor in Stainby, and throughout the Middle Ages the vill was parcel of the honour of Bayeux (1). Enfeoffed sometime in the twelfth century, possibly after 1185, the manor seems to have remained intact until c.1250, but thereafter, presumably as a result of inheritance by daughters, it was divided between two families (2). In 1288 Nicholas son of Richard de Cumpton held 74 acres in demesne, 8 bovates in villeinage at full rent, and the advowson of the church for the service of quarter of a knight's fee, and William de Holywell held a similar amount of land. It seems, however, that only the latter had a capital messuage, and it is therefore likely that there was only one manorial establishment in the vill in the thirteenth century (3). The estate remained divided throughout the fourteenth century, although there was a single mesne tenant, but it is not clear whether a second manor house was ever built (4).

Tower Hill (scheduled site no. 262) is situated to the south of the present village almost at the top of steeply rising ground, at a level of about 127 metres OD (Fig 46). It appears to be a small ringwork. However, it has in the past been extensively quarried on the north side, and it is more reasonably identified as a motte (5). As such it must be related to the manor. The form is usually dated to the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, and, if Stainby was only enfeoffed after 1185, it is therefore likely that the earthwork was built by the tenant-in-chief to protect a demesne manor. There is no indication when the site was abandoned and the present manor house in the centre of Stainby occupied.

At the time of survey the earthwork consisted of a mound nearly three metres high with a central area of 900 square metres, having a ridge around the undamaged part of its outer edge which may correspond to a buried wall (Fig 47). The ditch, which is almost 40 metres from outer rim to outer rim as seen varied in width from five to ten metres and its depth from 0.33 to 0.5 metres. The fall in the ditch, which goes from 124.325 metres OD in the north to 125.815 metres OD in the south, and the height of the northern bank at 124.655 metres OD, strongly suggest that the ditch may never have held water.

 

1. Lincs DB, 27/43.

 

2. Templars, 81; BF, 183, 1050; RH i, 361a.

 

3. 'Survey of the Barony of Bayeux' ed. W. O. MAssingberd, Lincolnshire Notes and Queries 8, (1904), 75-6; CI ii, 423.

 

4. CI viii, 191; CI xii, 294.

 

5. Pevsner, Lincs, 655-6.