SPANBY (in THREEKINGHAM)
This moated mound is located to the south of St Nicholas' Church in the middle of the shrunken medieval village of Spanby (Fig 78 )and can be identified with the site of the manor house of Spanby (1). In 1086 there were two holdings in the settlement. Four bovates were soke of Oger the Breton's manor of Bourne, which he held in succession to Lewin, and were granted to Bourne Abbey as part of its foundation endowment in c.1138 (2). The land was apparently held for rents throughout the Middle Ages (3), and the present site must therefore relate to the major holding in the vill. At the time of Domesday it was assessed at two carucates and was sokeland of Colsuain's manor of Ouseby (4). But before the Conquest it probably belonged to a group of estates which were dependent on the manor of Swaton, for Spanby remained a chapelry of that settlement until modern times (5). The tenurial link was apparently broken by about 1100, but socage tenure may have survived long after manorialisation, for two grants of men and land to Bullington Priory in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries seem to relate to the issues of sokemen since the men concerned rendered rents (6). The period of enfeoffment, and consequent terminus post quem for the construction of the manor house, cannot be exactly determined, but it apparently took place in the twelfth century, for in 1242 the fee was held by John son of William Filiot of Christiana Ledet of the de la Haye honour and was said to be an old enfeoffment (7). No Filiot or Foliot is found in the carta of the honour in 1166, and the first reference to the family that has been found in a Spanby context occurs in 1185 (8). Various lands were granted by successive lords to the Templars and Bullington Priory, but there appears to have been no subenfeoffment on the ground (9). The manor house within the moat may have been occupied into the sixteenth century, for the estate seems to have been a principal resident of Arthur Spanby its lord in 1506, but the exact date of its desertion has not been found (10).
The earthwork, a neat and well-preserved site up until the time of survey (Pl XI), was ploughed without warning in 1980, despite being a scheduled monument (no 241), together with the adjoining part of the unscheduled shrunken village site (11). Immediately prior to ploughing the moat was filled in, using up to a metre's depth of material from the mound, in order to leave the field surface more or less level. The ditch was between 12 and 15 metres wide and up to two metres deep with no apparent access to the central platform and enclosed an area of 580 square metres. The subsoil is clay and the moat was always full of water, with a small drainage channel on the northern side (Fig 79). Aerial photographs (12) show a series of ponds to the south-west near the stream. These may have been part of a fishpond complex, but unfortunately when the moat was surveyed the other earthworks were not included. Subsequent to the levelling it was hoped that the scheduled status would enable arrangements to be made for plotting ploughed features and collecting pottery, but unfortunately the opportunity was not taken up. Cultivation of the site continues.
1. The field containing the earthwork is called Moat Close on the Tithe Planof 1841. The field immediately to the west is called Hall Close (LAO, Tithe Plan C223).
2. Lincs DB, 42/7; Facsimiles of Early Charters from Northamptonshire Collections, ed. F. M. Stenton, Northamptonshire Record Society 4, London 1930, 18-20; RH i, 252b.
3. Religious Houses ii, 92. Land in Spanby and neighbouring vills was organised as a manor.
4. Lincs DB, 26/39.
5. D. M. Owen, 'Medieval Chapels in Lincolnshire', LHA 10, (1975), 21.
6. Trollope, 438.
7. BF, 1028.
8. Templars, 89.
9. Trollope, 438-9.
10. Trollope, 439.
11. R. H. Healey, 'Threekingham, Spanby Manor Site', LHA 16, (1981), 76; R. H. Healey, Moated Sites Research Group Bulletin 8, (1981), 15.
12. Hunting Surveys HSL/UK/66/493 Run 16, 7501; CCAP, CLJ 56.