WRANGLE KING'S HILL
Professor Hallam has identified King's Hill as Waltham Abbey's grange of Wrangle (1), but the earthworks clearly constitute a motte and bailey castle (2) (Fig 49). No unequivocal reference has been found to the site, but it is more likely to relate to a secular rather than ecclesiastical interest, and it can therefore be suggested that it belonged to a fee of some importance in the vill. In 1086 two carucates of land in the hundred of Wrangle were held by Guy de Craon as a manor, and the remaining ten carucates were soke of Count Alan of Brittany's manor of Drayton (3). However, much of both estates was subsequently consolidated into a single interest. The land of Guy de Craon was acquired by Waltham, but was demised in fee farm, that is a grant in perpetuity in return for a fixed rent, to the holder of the bulk of the Richmond fee which an ancestor of Alexander de Pointon granted to Ranulf II, earl of Chester, sometime in the mid twelfth century for the service of three quarters of a knight (4). Subsequently the whole estate passed to the Earl Marshall and then the earls of Lincoln and was held in demesne until the mid fourteenth century (5). More research is necessary to elucidate the political importance of this enfeoffment. But the estate was evidently a manor of great local significance, and it is therefore likely that King's Hill was its caput. A notice of the earl of Lincoln's grange in 1275 and possibly Alexander de Pointon's curia and chapel c.1200 may refer to the site (6). In the reign of James I the manor came into the hands of the king, and it is presumably from this time that King's Hill acquired its name (7).
The site (scheduled site no 84) is one of the most impressive in the Lincolnshire fenland, although the size of the scheduled pasture today is much less than the area of earthworks visible at the beginning of this century (Fig 50). Fortunately the larger complex was recorded on the first 6" to one mile Ordnance Survey maps as well as by the Rev. E. A. Downman when he visited the area in 1911 (8) (Fig 51). There are minor features which vary between the different surveys. The motte and bailey are substantial. The motte is approximately ten metres in diameter and stands two metres high. The outer ditches average 15 metres across from edge to edge.
1. Hallam, 86.
2. D. J. Cathcart King, Castellarium Anglicanum i, London 1983, 264; Pevsner, Lincs, 716-7.
3. Lincs DB, 12/63; 57/36.
4. BF, 1009; RH i, 348b.
5. BF, 1009; RH i, 348b; FA iii, 371; CI ii, 212, 217; CI vii, 66, 406-7; CI ix, 97, 362.
6. RH i, 350a; D. M. Owen, 'Medieval Chapels in Lincolnshire', LHA 10, (1975), 22; D. M. Owen, Church and Society in Medieval Lincolnshire, Lincoln 1971, 5.
7. Marrat iii, 128.
8. British Library MS , E. A. Downman, 'Ancient Earthworks in Lincolnshire', 35.