DOWSBY: RECTORY MOAT
The moat at Dowsby lies south-west of the church and immediately west of the rectory garden (Fig 56) and is itself described as a garden on an estate map of 1822 (1). The moat is more or less square and situated at a level of about 13 metres OD in common with the adjacent arable fields. The ditches, between 11 and 14 metres wide and from 2.5 to 2.7 metres deep, were recorded as dry at the time of survey (December, 1978), but were evidently part of the field drainage system when required (Fig 57). The north-eastern ditch had been largely filled in, perhaps with material from the central platform of the site, which was lower on that side. The area of the platform is about 1,800 square metres and at the time of the visit was in use as an orchard.
The juxtaposition of the site with the rectory house may suggest that the one is the medieval predecessor of the other. However, an early manorial curia is not precluded, for the church was never appropriated and appears to have remained in the hands of the lord of Dowsby throughout most of its history (2). According to Domesday Book there were three manors in 1086 (3). Offram's estate, however, may be the same as that held by the same man TRE and by Guy de Craon by invasion TRW, for only two fees descended into the High Middle Ages. That of the honour of Craon was divided in the twelfth or early thirteenth century. Two carucates held for the service of one third of a knight were granted to the Templars who managed them from Aslackby, and the reminder of the land passed to the Marshall family who, in 1283 at least, had no manor house and were merely in receipt of rents (4). The second fee belonged to the archbishop of York. In 1086 the estate was already held by a tenant, and its descent can be traced into the modern period (5). Throughout its lords appear to have maintaind a residence in the vill, and it is therefore likely that, if not a rectory, the moated site belonged to this fee. It was presumably superseded by Dowsby Hall to the west of the village which was built in the early seventeenth century (6).
1. LAO, Smith 9/1/25.
2. Rotuli Hugonis de Welles, eds W. P. Phillimore, F. N. Davis, LRS 9, Lincoln 1914, 182; CYS 73, 27; D. L. Roberts, 'John Thorpe's Designs for Dowsby Hall and the Red Hall Bourne', LHA 8, (1973), 22.
3. Lincs DB, 2/29; 57/12; 67/23; 72/49.
4. BF, 1027-8; RH i, 155a; FA iii, 162, 209; CI ii, 281; CI x, 500.
5. BF, 181, 1027; RH i, 155a; FA iii, 150, 204; CI x, 169; Calendar of Fine Rolls 1327-1333, 481, 504; D. L. Roberts, 'John Thorpe's Designs for Dowsby Hall and the Red Hall Bourne', LHA 8, (1973), 22.
6. Pevsner, 519.