OSBOURNBY: HALL CLOSE
Hall Close is situated to the south-west of the village 'green' (1) of Osbournby (Fig 94) and is first documented in a map of the lordship of Osbournby of 1860. Despite the name, there is no sign of a manorial curia on the site, and the earthworks may only be those of a fishpond complex (2) (Fig 95). They are of double ditched form, enclosing two areas of some 5500 and 3500 square metres respectively, with an irregularly shaped pond at the southern end in part of which is a small island. The site was pasture with trees when surveyed, and it was the fact that some of the ditches were being filled in that occasionedthe surveyed.
The estate to which it belonged can only be a matter of speculation. The manor, with much of the land of Osbournby, has been held by the Whichcote family from the eighteenth century, but throughout the Middle Ages there were two major holdings (3). In 1086 Gilbert de Gant held four carucates of sokeland as parcel of his manor of Folkingham. This estate was enfeoffed in the twelfth century, and, although it was much divided, its history can be traced through into the fourteenth (4). It is probably unlikely, however, that there was ever a manor house associated with the fee, for it seems that the interest of the various mesne lords was confined to rents. But the church had originally belonged to the estate, and it may therefore be suggested that it formed its nucleus (5).
The second holding was a manor which had belonged to Ælfric in 1066 and was held by Guy de Craon at the time of the Domesday Survey (6). All of Guy's lands in the area had formerly belonged to the soke of Folkingham, but had been booked out, probably in the tenth century, to form separate estates. By 1066 Osbournby was the manorial centre for sokeland in Dembleby, Heydour, and Scott Willoughby, and a hall was almost certainly situated in the vill at the time (7). In 1086 it was held of Guy by a certain Vitalis, and the manor can be traced from then into the fourteenth century (8). The location of the fee has not been positively identified, but it was probably associated with a discrete settlement cluster to the west of the church around the village green and the post-medieval manor. It may therefore have encompassed the Hall Close site.
1. Despite having the appearance of a green ,the open space in the village centre has for many years now been completely covered in tarmac.
2. Map of Bristol Estates, 1860, in private ownership.
3. White 1856, 548.
4. Lincs DB, 24/90; BF, 180, 1029, 1068; RH i, 255, 257, 392; FA iii, 129, 195; CI, passim.
5. Lincs DB, 24/90.
6. Lincs DB, 57/15.
7. D. R. Roffe, 'Osbournby', forthcoming.
8. BF, 1029, 1089; RH i, 254; FA iii, 162, 209; CI, passim; CIM i, 237. In 1265 it was declared that the chief messuage of Sir John de Newton, who held three-quarters of a knight's fee of the Honour of Craon, was situated in Osbournby.