The earthworks surveyed are the northern and western sides of a large moat that enclosed the manor house built by Gilbert de Umfraville, third earl of Angus and lord of Kyme, between 1339 and 1381 (1). The site, to the south of the priory church (Fig 70), was probably of some antiquity as a seigneurial residence. In 1066 Earl Morcar held a manor of four carucates and two bovates in South Kyme (2). The church - a foundation of some considerable importance, for seventh- to eight-century sculptural fragments suggest that it was an early religious centre, and the rights of the thirteenth-century Priory indicate that it had been a minster before the Conquest (3) - belonged to the estate, and it can therefore be presumed that the earl's hall was situated in its vicinity. By the time of Domesday Book the estate was in the hands of the king, and subsequently it passed to the Kyme family, along with fourteen bovates from the honour of Gant, and they held it as a demesne manor until it was acquired by the Umfraville family (4). The moat of the fourteenth-century house, then, may therefore have enclosed an earlier curia on the same site.
Of the Umfraville house, a four storey battlemented tower with a square corner turret survives. Its original extent is unknown, but marks on the south side indicate an extension which may have been a hall. The house and estate passed to the Tailboys family and was described as 'goodly' by Leland in the 1530's. It remained occupied by the Dymoke family into the eighteenth century until it was dismantled in the early 1720's when chimneypieces were bought by Mr Chaplin for Blankney Hall. Shortly afterwards the manor was sold, first to the Duke of Newcastle and then in 1748 to Abraham Hume from whom it descended to the Brownlow family. A new manor house to the south-east of the site was built in the second half of the eighteenth century, and the enclosure that includes the moated complex seems to have been given over to agricultural uses (5).
The earthworks that survive are not remarkable, consisting of a series of ditches, the main ones appearing to be parts of a moat which formerly surrounded the tower house (Fig 71). Along the north side of the site is a ditch 200 metres long with a further 150 metre length on the south-east side. The ditch continues for a shorter length of 60 metres on the east of the site. The location of the original entrance is not clear. The fields round the tower and round the priory site to the north, both of which formerly contained features, have never been scheduled, and although there have been many alterations in the vicinity over the last 30 years, the site surveyed remained pasture at the time of writing.
1. Trollope, 252; Pevsner, 641.
2. Lincs DB, 1/4.
3. Pevsner, 641-2; TLA files.
4. Lincs DB, 24/76; Trollope, 249-52.
5. Trollope, 254; Pevsner, 641.