TF 254420


The earthwork known as Manwarings is situated one kilometre to the north-east of the present village of Swineshead in the hamlet of Baythorpe (Fig 35). Antiquarians have interpreted it as a Danish encampment, but it is clearly a motte and bailey castle, and it seems to have been built by the principal lord of the vill (1). Swineshead is not mentioned by name in Domesday Book, but four lords held land in Drayton which is situated in its parish, and it is thus possible that the settlement is represented by one or more of their estates (2). However, it is more likely that the land was omitted, for from the early twelfth century the largest fee in Swineshead belonged to the honour of Lancaster which is not fully represented in the Domesday account of Lincolnshire (3). The earliest known tenant was Robert de Gresley, who founded Swineshead Abbey in 1134 or 1148, and it was probably he or his son Albert who built the castle (4). The first reference, however, occurs with the latter's death in 1186 when a sum of 48 shillings was allowed to the farmers of his estates during the minority of his son Robert 'for the repair of the houses of the castles of Manchester and Swineshead' (5). The castle is again referred to in 1216 with the notice of the constable of Swineshead, and it was apparently of some eminence, for somewhat later, with Lincoln, Sleaford, Bourne, Stamford, and Bytham, it was one of only six Lincolnshire castles noted in Gervase of Canterbury's Mappa Mundi (6). Thereafter no reference to the structure has been found, but, whether demilitarised or not, it no doubt continued to be the capital messuage of the fee. The descent of the manor can be traced into the modern period and was latterly known as 'the Manor of the Moor' (7). It is not clear when the Manwarings site was abandoned.

          Aerial photographs (8) show a complex arrangement of ditches around the site, few of which now survive. They include a trackway leading towards the abbey, located about half a kilometre to the south-east. The earthwork when visited is impressive, even in its present overgrown state. A double moat surrounds the central mound with what Marrat described as 'a carriage drive' in between the ditches (Fig 48). The actual width is about three metres. Periodically the circular central platform, an area of approximately 1740 square metres and standing 1.8 metres above the common level of the surrounding fields, has been cultivated and even dug into by the Home Guard in World War Two to construct brick-lined shelters or stores. The inner moat is 15 to 17 metres wide and goes to a depth of 1.6 metres below the surrounding land level; the outer one is only seven to ten metres wide and 1.7 metres deep. The area between the moats is approximately 2900 square metres. A narrower five metre wide drainage ditch parallel to the western side may not be part of the original earthworks; it is 2.5 metres deep and well maintained. On the west side an earthen bridge now provides access to the centre of the site, but there is no evidence that it is part of the original system.

          Medieval pottery has been collected in the fields east of the site on a number of occasions, and includes thirteenth and fourteenth century material from local sources as well as from other counties and from the continent. A piece of stained and painted medieval window glass has also been found, and fragments of glazed medieval roof tile, products which suggest a site of some standing.


1.       Marrat i, 170; D. J. Carthcart King, Castellarium Anglicanum, London 1983, 263; Pevsner, Lincs, 690. The idea of a Danish camp may have been inspired by Ingulph's purple account of local involvement in the 870 campaign (Ingulph's Chronicle of the Abbey of Crowland with the Continuation of Peter of Blois and Anonymous Writers, trans H. T. Riley, London 1856, 40ff).


2.       Lincs DB, 11/6; 12/58-60; 57/56; 67/18.


3.       The estates in Elloe Wapentake that belonged to the honour of Lancaster in the twelfth century were enrolled in the king's breve in Domesday Book. However, they seem to have formerly belonged to Roger of Poitou who forfeited his honour during the course of the Great Inquest (LAO, Longley 7, Elloe Wapentake). A three inch space after the account of Fleet suggests that more were to follow, but were never enrolled. Later geld quotas in Kirton Wapentake exceed the Domesday carucage, and so it is likely that Swineshead was one of the estates omitted (CIM ii, 522).


4.       Mon Ang, v, 337.


5.       Pipe Roll 32 Henry II, 81.


6.       Rot Lit Claus i, 264; The Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury ii, ed. W. Stubbs, Rolls Series 73, London 1880, 430.


7.       W.D.Sweeting, 'The Manor of the Moor, Swineshead', Fenland Notes and Queries iii, (1895-7), 25-8. 42-5; 76-8. 223-4.


8.       R. H. Healey, 'Moated Sites in South Lincolnshire', South Lincolnshire Archaeology 1, Stamford 1977, 28 ; CCAP, BAF 64.