Brigstock Manor

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Royal)

There are earthwork remains

NameBrigstock Manor
Alternative NamesBrixstoke
Historic CountryNorthamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough
Modern AuthorityNorthamptonshire
1974 AuthorityNorthamptonshire
Civil ParishBrigstock

Moat (SP 94538523), around Brigstock Manor House on the S.W. side of the village, in a small valley. Only slight traces of the surrounding ditch, now a sunken garden, remain. The central island was rectangular, 50 m. by 30 m., orientated N.E.-S.W., and apparently completely surrounded by a ditch 7 m. wide; it is depicted on a map of 1725 (NRO) as having no S.W. side. The interior is occupied by a much-restored 16th-century house. (RCHME)

In 1086 Brigstock was a royal manor comprising 3.5 hides. There was land for 9 ploughs with three in demesne together with 6 slaves, implying a substantial demesne farm. The manor was also a royal estate centre for Domesday Book records dependencies in Islip, Geddington and Stanion.

During the 12th to 14th centuries Brigstock was the site of a royal hunting lodge, sharing a custodian with Kings Cliffe. However at an early date the focus of royal attention seems to have shifted to Geddington, which lay on the major road from Northampton to Stamford. Though the Brigstock property was maintained, it was nearby Geddington manor which saw the development of a substantial residence as a hunting lodge in the earlier 12th century and Henry II and Richard I were frequent visitors, and it was Geddington where when Edward I stayed for one night when taking the body of his queen, Eleanor, back to London (HKW). From 1319 the Brigstock manor was rented out to a tenant. In 1449 it was leased to Montagu family and in 1516 sub let to Sir William Parr.

Various repairs are recorded in the mid 12th to mid 13th centuries in connection with the hunting lodge at Brigstock. This building is likely to be the manor within the village, though there were various lodges within the Great Park itself. Various kings from William I onwards resided at some point in Brigstock but nowhere near as frequently in the 12th and 13th century as at Geddington. The buildings at Brigstock were of timber and included a hall, chamber and a mews

Brigstock was still in good repair when assigned by Edward I to his mother Queen Eleanor in the late 13th century and it remained part of the dower of successive queens. By the end of the 14th century the buildings had however fallen into disrepair and been demolished as the only references are to the repairs of park pale and keepers' lodges. The royal hunting lodge at Geddington saw a similar demise over the same period (HKW). The capital messuage in Brigstock was by 1440 described as totally devastated, a vacant site which had been broken up into three separate plots. An undated document, from well after 1466 explains that 'the scyte of the manor is cleyne downe and liythe waste and conteynethe a rode at yerely value 4d.' (NRO, ML 138) In 1596 it was stated very clearly that this ground adjacent to the churchyard was 'without doubt where anciently the Capital Messuage was situated' (Survey of Brigstock 1596, NRO, ML 141). At this time the size of the plots of the manor were 42ft by 21ft, and adjacent to that 84ft by 42 ft, while the dimensions of the plot between the latter and the cemetery was not specified. The demesne too had been let out to farm amongst the tenants. It is easy in this context to understand why it was that the royal manor was held at farm by the tenants by the late medieval period, the tenants electing the bailiffs annually and with the profits of the court falling to the use of the whole of the inhabitants of the place (NRO, ML141, p.89).

The rectangular moat enclosing the manor house, depicted on three sides on the 1725 map, has since been converted to sunken garden. This may have its origins in a moated enclosure for the medieval royal manor and hunting lodge. Alternatively it might represent an enclosure constructed when a new house was built, probably by the Montagu family when they leased the manor from the crown in 1449. This would accord well with the evidence from the standing building which is of the late 15th and mid 16th century, the latter probably relating to the sub letting of the manor to the Parr family. The house was further altered in 17th or 18th centuries restored mid 19th century and extended c. 1887 by Gotch and Saunders (Woodfield, 1981,166-7) (Foard et aL 2006)

Gatehouse Comments

Royal hunting lodge, in the forest of Rockingham, throughout the Norman and Angevin periods. It is open to question how much this was a royal residential site and how much a residence of a royal forester and manorial steward. Given the fairly close presence of Geddington, which seems to have been developed as a queens palace, it may have been used as a more private retreat for the King. The main royal residence within the forest was Rockingham Castle.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP945852
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  • RCHME, 1975, An inventory of the historical monuments in the County of Northampton Vol. 1: North-east Northamptonshire (HMSO) p. 21 online transcription
  • Pettit, P.A.J., 1968, The Royal Forests of Northamptonshire: ‪A Study in Their Economy, 1558-1714‬ (Northamptonshire Record Society 23) p. 164–182
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London) p. 902
  • Gotch, J.A., 1939, Squires' Houses and Other Old Buildings of Northamptonshire (Batsford) p. 19


  • Steadman S., 1993/34, 'Excavations at Brigstock Manor, Northamptonshire, in 1983' Northamptonshire Archaeology Vol. 25 p. 119-122 download from ArchLib
  • Woodfield, P., 1981, 'The Larger Medieval Houses of Northamptonshire' Northamptonshire Archaeology Vol. 16 p. 153-196 download from ArchLib

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1348-50) Vol. 8 p. online copy
  • C145/31(3) (Survey of 1273) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 1 No. 943)


  • Glenn Foard, J Ballinger, J Taylor, 2006, Extensive Urban Survey - Northamptonshire (Northamptonshire County Council, English Heritage) Download copy