SWATON

TF 128375

 

In 1086 there were three estates in Swaton. Four bovates were sokeland belonging to Robert de Vescy, probably as parcel of his manor of Stenning in Holland, and these descended with the manor of Thorpe Latimer, to which its rents and dues were rendered throughout the Middle Ages, as a subsidiary element in the larger estate (1). A further carucate was constituted as a manor held by Guy de Craon, but it seems to have been subsequently absorbed into the major holding in the vill (2). Assessed at eight carucates, the fee held by Colsuain dominated Swaton. Before the Conquest seven of the carucates had evidently constituted an estate of some importance, for they belonged to Auti, a king's thane, with the liberties of sake and soke, toll and team (3). This prominence, along with the franchises which are probably reflected in the existence of a prescriptive market and fair, seems to have survived the Conquest, for in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the manor was one of the main demesne fees of the de la Haye honour to which it passed in the reign of Henry I (4). In 1185 it constituted the dowage portion of Maud de la Haye, at which time there were three ploughs in demesne, 60 sheep, 10 pigs and a boar, worth the not inconsiderable sum of 30, and by 1275 the manor with all of its liberties of view of frankpledge, assizes, and gallows and tumbrell, was valued at 80 (5). It remained in the hands of the earls of Lincoln until Maud de Lacy granted the estate in her widowhood to the abbot of Barling for the service of one and an eighth knight's fees in 1322 (6). The abbey retained the manor until the Dissolution when it consisted of a capital messuage, lands, a common, a horsemill, and windmill (7). The estate was subsequently granted to Robert Tyrwhit and remained intact until the nineteenth century (8).

The importance of Swaton clearly indicates that there was a considerable manorial establishment in the vill from at least the late eleventh century. The earthwork surveyed, however, is unlikely to represent its site. Situated at the extreme west end of the village, it is remote from the centre of the settlement and the present manor house north of the church (Fig 80). Its somewhat angular form suggests that it is of no great antiquity, although this appearance may have been exaggerated by the positioning of the fences (Fig 81). The area enclosed is approximately 1400 square metres, and at the time of survey it was old orchard. Of the northern ditch only a slight depression remained and there had been some dumping at the north end of the western ditch. The central area was level with the surrounding fields, at about 7 metres OD. The surviving parts of the moat were recorded as between 8-12 metres wide at the top and two metres wide at the bottom, with an average depth of 1.8 metres, and although dry at the time of survey, and considerably overgrown, it was thought that it probably held water in the winter. Although on the 1903 6" Ordnance Survey Map the moat is complete except for the north-west corner, an 1808 map of Swaton indicates only the north, south and east sides, drawn as a dashed line (9). The site lies within enclosures apparently occupied by a farm, but unfortunately there is no more detail known about it, and its identity remains a mystery.

 

1. Lincs DB, 37/5; BF, 1028; FA iii, 158, 208; CI xv, 394.

 

2. Lincs DB, 57/19.

 

3. Lincs DB, p. 13; 26/44-5.

 

4. BF, 180, 1028; RH i,154; FA iii, 135.

 

5. Trollope, 445; RH i,154.

 

6. Trollope, 446; FA iii, 197.

 

7. Religious Houses, 120.

 

8. LPFD 17, 397-8; Trollope, 446.

 

9. LAO, Swaton Enclosure Award and Plan 1808.