Boothby Pagnell is justly famous for the survival of part of its medieval manor house which dates from c.1200 (1). However, although impressive, the building was probably not exceptional in medieval terms, for its lord was of only modest means, and it seems that the vill was never an especially populous or rich community. This is reflected in the size of Boothby (Fig 12). In 1086 there was a recorded population of 19, and the settlement can never have been of very great extent (2). Nevertheless, the field named as Cook's Close in the Tithe Plan of 1838 (3) an area of some 12,000 square metres immediately west of the church (Pl III) contains house platforms (Fig 13), indicating that it was formerly somewhat larger than at the present day. It is likely that it reached this maximum extent in the thirteenth century and began to contract in the fourteenth. The reason for the desertion of the centre of the village rather than the periphery remains unexplained, but may relate to the status of the tenements - they were probably held in bondage and were therefore susceptible to desertion as modes of agricultural exploitation changed - or direct seigneurial initiative. With the exception of the school in the north-east corner, which is illustrated on the Tithe Plan, the site remained open until encroachment by modern building in recent times.
1. A. White, The Norman Manor House at Boothby Pagnell, Lincoln 1981, 1-10.
2. Lincs DB, 24/81; 57/55.
3. LAO, Tithe Award D8.