Holme Spinney, Beckingham

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Motte)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameHolme Spinney, Beckingham
Alternative NamesBekingh'm et Sutton
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishBeckingham

To the south of Beckingham village are the remains of the important site of Holme Spinney manor house and settlement. The fortified area covers about 14 acres, and may have originally been a castle, and is continually mentioned in medieval records (SMR file).

The manor of Holme Spinney has an entry in the Domesday Book which at that time belonged to Gilbert de Gand. The assessment comprised 24 carucates of land with a minimum population of 59. This assessment included the surrounding settlements of Beckingham, Sutton and other hamlets. Two priests and two churches are also mentioned, one of which was probably the manorial chapel at Holme, the other being the church at Beckingham (Foster and Longley).

The fortified manor house remains are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs. The remains comprise a moat, mound, buildings, fishponds, water channels and drove road. These remains appear to have been ploughed out some time after 1971.

The earthworks were surveyed by the OS field inspector in 1964 and he recorded the remains of a motte and bailey castle with a surviving mound some 3.4m high. The mound and possibly some of the surrounding earthworks were levelled in 1971 and the Newark Archaeological Society carried out a rescue excavation. (Lincolnshire HER)

Holme Spinney is the site of a lost village adjoining Sutton. In the Domesday Book Holm included Beckingham and Sutton. A strongly fortified manor house, perhaps originally a castle, is mentioned from the 11th century onwards. In the 13th century it was the seat of the Furnivals, lords of the manor (Foster 1924).

A strongly fortified earthwork with adjacent fishponds centred at SK 87525187

There is no surface indication of a deserted village, nor are there any associated works traceable (F1 FDC 30-DEC-64).

These works have been grossly mutilated by farm vehicles plus wide drainage, and are now reduced to a non-surveyable amorphous condition with the exception of a solitary fishpond to the north-west (F2 FDC 02-AUG-74).

The earthworks associated with the Medieval fortified manor house described by the previous authorities were visible as earthworks and mapped from good quality air photographs. They have been substantially levelled by ploughing. There was no evidence of features relating to the Medieval village mentioned.

A large mound (40m across), centred at SK 8753 5187, is surrounded by a moat, with a possible entrance on its northern side. An outer moat surrounds the inner moat, forming a substantial enclosure (280m by 170m), almost complete except for a section on the northern side, which is also possibly an entrance. The foundations of a rectangular building (12m by 6m) were identified at SK 8755 5190, located to the north of the mound, within the inner moated enclosure. It is not certain if this building is a Medieval or Post Medieval structure.

Within the large moated enclosure are several fishponds. A large (50m by 12m) rectangular fishpond lies in the SW corner at SK 8743 5179 and another (70m by 12m) in the NE corner at SK 8763 5183 has three small fishponds associated with it. A third rectangular fishpond (60m by 11m) lies outside, to the west of the moated enclosure, at SK 8744 5192. Sections of water channel, probably associated with the moat, were visible at SK 8746 5202 and SK 8726 5168. A possible drove road cuts through the long axis of the moated enclosure and presumably post dates the fortified manor. It may be Medieval or Post Medieval in date (Morph No. LI.717.4.1-12).

Air photographs taken in 1998 show that the fortified manor house site is now largely plough-levelled, although features are clearly visible as cropmarks. The site is as described by authority 7 but a few additional details are visible. Further possible fishponds are located at SK 8746 5177 in the south-west corner of the main enclosing moat, adjacent and parallel to the one already described. A second ditch circuit may be present inside the main ditch defining the northern extent of the outer moat (SK 8761 5193). Also ditches are visible to the south and east of the main moat and were possibly associated with water feed/management. The drove road is clearly visible as cropmarks. As far as is visible, it curves from the east from approximately SK 8686 5166 and passes through the centre of the south-eastern side of the moated enclosure.

The motte was levelled by the landowner in 1971. During the levelling, a series of excavations were undertaken by the Newark Local History and Archaeology Society. An unpublished summary account is retained in Newark Museum, and an account was published in the Newark Advertiser in June 1971. The site is currently being investigated by the Nottingham University School of Continuing Education. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Manor of Holme at Domesday belonged to Gilbert de Gant, Baron of Folkingham. Manor granted to Elias de Foliot circa 1155. Chapel built on site before 1200, and a chantry created in 1237. Castle and manor confiscated after King John's reign when in the possession of Wischard Ledet (a rebel baron) and granted to Ralph de Briewere. The manor descended to the Latimer and Furnival families. Appears to have been abandoned in the mid C14. Has never appeared on OS Maps despite the motte being 3.4m high, and surrounded by ditches, enclosing one, possibly two, baileys, over am deep. The site was finally surveyed by OS in 1964 but levelled by the landowner in 1971. It was partially excavated in 1971, after the levelling, but the excavation was very poorly recorded.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSK875518
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Foster, C.W. and Longley, T., 1924, Lincolnshire Domesday and Lindsey Survey (Lincolnshire Record Society 19) p. 58


  • Bond, C.J. (ed), 1979, Moated Sites Research Group report Vol. 6 p. 49

Primary Sources

  • 1807, Testa de Neville sive Liber Feodorum in Curia Scaccarii (London: Record Commission) p. 302 online copy


  • Skinner, R., 2003. Notes on Holme Spinney p. 6-8 (unpub)
  • Healey, R.H. and Roffe, D.R., Some medieval and later earthworks in South Lincolnshire Vol. 1 p. 134 (unpub)