CORBY GLEN: CASTLE MOUND
Situated just to the north-east of the market place in Corby Glen (Fig 54), a large moated site (Scheduled Monument no 100 ) seems to mark an early defended manor house. Although described as Castle Mound on recent Ordnance Survey maps, no trace of an associated bailey has been found. The earthwork is subrectangular and encloses a raised centre comprising some 1,000 square metres. There is a low inner bank along the north, east and southern sides of the mound, possibly marking the line of a wall, and a shallow outer bank (Fig 55). The western half of the main moat contained water at the time of survey and there was also water in a short length of ditch on the east side of the site beyond the outer bank. This ditch is 11 metres wide from rim to rim and three metres deep, and although from its position it appears to be part of the complex, it has been disturbed. The width of the main moat varies between 11 to 19 metres from rim to rim and its depth from five to three metres. At its north-west edge the outer bank is very slight. There are willow trees and shrubs around the edges of the moat, but most of the site is under grass. Surrounding ground levels are very irregular, again probably as a result of small scale quarrying, as the limestone here is near the surface. When a bungalow was built south-west of the site in 1973, this was confirmed by the presence of a quantity of stone, none of it apparently structural (1).
In 1086 there were two holdings in the vill. A manor of one carucate belonged to a certain Bricteva who had held the estate in 1066 (2). This land was probably the forerunner of the farm that was situated at Birkholme in the west of the parish, but no further medieval notice has been found of the manor, and it must be assumed that it was a dependent of, and was subsequently incorporated into, the major holding in the settlement which was held by the bishop of Lincoln. It is this estate that can be associated with the moated site. In 1066 the manor had belonged to Bardi, a leading thane of the Danelaw who enjoyed extensive liberties (3). Corby, with its soke in Bitchfield, Swayfield, and Swinstead, was probably not his principal estate - Sleaford was almost certainly the caput since it was the grant of that soke that seems to have conferred title to Corby on Bishop Remigius (4) - but the vill was probably of some local importance. It was an early commercial centre - trading clearly pre-dates the 'grant' of market and fair in 1238 - and the wapentake of Beltisloe met in the market place (5). In 1086 the manor was held of the bishop by a certain Walter, but in the twelfth century it was split into three. However, it was held in parage, and the manor house in Corby, possibly within the moat, was occupied by the Peche family in the thirteenth century (6). The descent of the manor can be traced into the modern period. It is not clear when the site was abandoned, but it seems to have been replaced either by an undefended house to the north of the church or a hall to the south where traces of a possible medieval gatehouse (Scheduled Monument no 318) can still be seen. The manor was bought by John Thimelby of Irnham in 1561, and in the succeeding centuries 'the Great Hall' was given over to the principal tenants of the estate (7).
1. Sites and Monuments Record, City and County Museum.
2. Lincs DB, 68/18.
3. Lincs DB, 7/39.
4. RA, nos 2, 89.
5. RH i, 262b.
6. BF 183, 1049; RH i, 261b.
7. D. I. A. Steel, A Lincolnshire Village: the Parish of Corby Glen in its Historical Context, London 1979, 9-12.