HOUGHAM AND MARSTON: HOUGHAM MANOR
A moated enclosure, situated to the east of Hougham church on the edge of the low-lying land of the upper Witham Valley (Fig 68), encompasses a manor house with substantial thirteeth-century remains still in situ and marks the site of a large manorial curia. In 1086 there were three holdings in Hougham (1). An estate of four carucates of land belonged to Colsuain. Part was held from him by a certain William, and in the twelfth century the remainder of his estate was enfeoffed. It is not clear whether the lord was ever resident, but most of the land was granted to Haverholme Priory in the early years of the reign of Henry III, and that house held the fee until the Dissolution for the service of three quarters of a knight. No reference has been found to a manor house or grange, and it would seem that Haverholme's interests were substantially confined to rents (2). The remaining 20 carucates of the vill, of which 15 were in chief and five, the gift of Earl Waltheof, were held of Countess Judith in 1086, were in the tenure of the bishop of Lincoln along with the church of Hougham, and it is to this fee that the moated site seems to have belonged. At the time of the Domesday Survey the land was held of the bishop by Hugh, and throughout the Middle Ages the Bussey family maintained their principal residence there (3).
In the light of the proximity of the curia to the church, it is possible that the moat occupies the site of the pre-Conquest hall which belonged to Stori, a thane of some local importance. No references have been found to the manor house itself in the medieval period, and it has not proved possible to suggest a date for its construction beyond that indicated by the aforementioned surviving fabric. The site lies less than 100 metres north of the river, which has been diverted into a complex of moats and fishponds. The platform on which the house stands, with its farm buildings and yard, is approximately 6,000 square metres, although much of the northern ditch is built over. The moat forms part of the garden and a high bank, probably belonging to a period of garden improvement, has been constructed around the southern half of the boundaries, obliterating all but the main outlines (Fig 69). In the remaining parts of the north and west ditches a brick ha-ha has been built, but the form nevertheless survives; it is estimated that it would originally have been some 15 metres wide and about 2 metres deep. The three fish ponds were in a good state of preservation at the time of survey and remain so. The single pond running north -south is 27 by 15 metres wide and two metres deep. The other two ponds, which extend westwards from the first, and are aligned parallel to each other, are of more or less the same depth. The southern one is 28 metres long by 14 metres wide and the other is 35 by 18 metres wide.
1. Pevsner, Lincs, 579-80.
2. Lincs DB, 26/34-5; BF, 186, 1041; RH i, 330; Religious Houses ii, 124.
3. Lincs DB, 7/54-5; 56/5; BF, 186, 1041; FA iii, 139, 198; CI iv, 250; CI HVII ii, 272; Trollope, 378-80.