This series of earthworks is situated some hundred metres to the east of the church of St Andrew and the manor house (Fig 88) and is presumably associated with the manor of Hacconby. In 1086 there were four holdings in the vill, which encompassed the hamlet of Stainfield, but the major holding was Heppo the Arblaster's manor of three carucates and two and a half bovates (1). The descent of the fee is complex. Nothing is heard of it until the reign of King Richard I when it escheated to the crown and two carucates were granted to Ralph de Hauville. The estate was an augmentation of a ministerial tenement in Dunton, Norfolk, to which lastage dues in Boston were also attached, and was held by the grand sergeancy of keeping the king's gerfalcons (2). This grant coincided with considerable changes in the tenurial structure of Hacconby, and its lord acquired a part of at least one other estate at about the same time. In 1086 Drew de Beurere, the lord of Bourne, held, illicitly according to the jury of the wapentake of Aveland, nine bovates of sokeland which belonged to Gilbert de Gant's manor of Edenham (3). Superficially, it would seem that these were absorbed into the honour of Bourne's manor of Rippingale, for its tenant enjoyed rents in Hacconby into the sixteenth century (4). However, it seems more likely that they are represented by a fee of nine bovates, variously said to be held by knight's service and petty sergeancy, which belonged to Roger the Fat, for, although held in chief, forinsec service was still rendered to an estate in Edenham in the thirteenth century. Roger alienated almost all of his land to various interests and, on his death sometime before 1202, he was only in possession of a capital messuage which was waste (5). This was subsequently granted to a member of the Hauville family, and, held by a service of 12d per annum, it descended with the main manor until the mid fourteenth century (6).
The Hauville estate disappears from the record by c.1350, and the principal estates in the vill appear to be the manors of the Tiffour family and the honour of Stafford. The latter can be traced from 1086, and, although few details have come to light, it is possible that it was substantially situated in Stainfield (7). The former had its origin in the enfeoffment of Walter of Hacconby in four bovates by Roger the Fat, and as late as 1349 it was still of modest extent. In 1365, however, its tenant was called the lord of the manor of Hacconby, and it would therefore seem that it had absorbed the Hauville fee. By 1506 it was the major holding in the vill (8). Further land was held of the bishop of Lincoln, but, as in 1086, it was parcel of the manor of Dunsby where its rents and dues were rendered (9).
No evidence has come to light to indicate the location of the capital messuages which were held by Roger the Fat, Walter his tenant, and the Stafford estate (10). But that of Odo the Arblaster's fee was probably in the vicinity of the church which belonged to the estate throughout the Middle Ages (11), and its site may therefore be close to the present manor house. The earthworks are identified on the Ordnance Survey 6" map as a moated complex, and it is therefore possible that they defined the curia of the medieval manor. However, their orthogonal form may indicate that they relate to a post-medieval formal garden. The present Manor house is of sixteenth to seventeenth century date, and is alleged to have been partly constructed by one of Oliver Cromwell's aides (12); he may well have been modernising both house and garden at the time. The area surveyed is more or less rectangular, some 175 by 200 metres, with the Manor House approximately at the centre (Fig 89). The part south of the house abuts on the east side of the churchyard, the church itself being well elevated on a mound which overlooks open fen to the east. The principal features on the ground are a very regular arrangement of ditches with small depressions and possible ponds at the southern end. An east/west ditch which crosses the site north of the house forms the southern side of a level platform about 60 by 50 metres which rises to a slight bank at its northern end. The bank may conceal a buried wall; it forms a pronounced edge to the platform and overlooks a rectangular feature at a level a good two metres below. This is interpreted as a formal pond or canal; it measures 85 by 30 metres. When first seen it contained water in its north-west corner, and large stones have been reported in its interior (1988), but whether in situ, fallen or deposited is not known. At the time of writing the ground level had recently been raised by up to half a metre. In the centre of the bank is an opening 1.4 metres wide which may indicate an original feature such as steps, but is now worn down to provide sloping vehicular access to the low area. The main ditch on the east side, 180 metres long, continues round the south end of the site for about 40 metres but then becomes less clear where it starts to turn northwards. A parallel length of ditch to the south is separated from the first one by a strip between ten and fifteen metres wide, but the remaining features at the south end of the site are somewhat confused.
1. Lincs DB, 7/31; 42/14; 59/17; 61/1.
2. RH i, 252a; BF, 180; CI i, 72, 216. All Heppo's manors were subsequently held in sergeancy, and it seems likely that he himself held by personal services, as his name suggests.
3. Lincs DB, 72/44.
4. Lincs DB, 42/13; BF, 180; QCO, MS 366, fix; RH i, 253a-b; FA iii, 212; CI 11, 261; CI v, 268; CI ix, 209.
5. The Earliest Lincolnshire Assize Rolls AD 1202-1209, ed. D.M.Stenton, LRS 22, Lincoln 1922, 82, 130-1; 179; BF, 180; RH i, 253a; CI ii, 108.
6. RH i, 253a; CI i, 145; CI i, 245; CI iv, 71; CI x, 177.
7. Lincs DB, 59/17; LRdeS, 266, 613; BF, 180, 1027; RH i, 258a; FA iii, 168, 211.
8. The Earliest Lincolnshire Assize Rolls AD 1202-1209, ed. D. M. Stenton, LRS 22, Lincoln 1922, 82; BF, 180; RH i, 253a; FA iii, 171, 213; CI ii, 108, 229, 236; CI ix, 154; CI x, 176; CI x, 208; CI xi, 172; CI xii, 40, 144; CI xvi, 58, 371.
9. Lincs DB, 7/31; 180-1; QCO, MS 366, fix; RH i, 253a; CI HVII iii, 438.
10. In the early nineteenth century a moat was still visible to the west of the church (Marrat iii, 177), but nothing is now known of the site or its origins and nature unless associated with the present Hacconby Hall, whose grounds have not been examined.
11. Lincs DB, 61/1; Rotuli Hugonis de Welles iii, ed. W. P. Phillmore, F. N. Davis, LRS 9, Lincoln 1914, 13.
12. H. Thorold, J. Yates, Lincolnshire, a Shell Guide, London 1965, 71.