Gainsborough Old Hall

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameGainsborough Old Hall
Alternative NamesGainsburgh
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishGainsborough

Gainsborough Old Hall is a medieval timber framed house, probably built between 1464 and 1484 for Sir Thomas Burgh. The great hall forms the north range, with cross wings to either side and the east and west wings enclosing the other two sides of an open courtyard. The kitchen was originally separated from the main building by a small court but this was soon infilled by the present brick structure. The projecting tower in the north east corner was built slightly later than the adjacent range. The house was altered in 1600 for William Hickman when the east wall of the east wing was faced in brick and the lower jetty of the west wing was underbuilt. By invitation of Sir Neville Hickman, John Wesley preached in the great hall in 1759, 1761 and 1764. Between 1750 and and 1850 the house served a variety of functions, including those of linen factory, theatre, public house, mechanics' institute, ballroom, masonic temple, auction house and church. Restoration work was carried out from 1850 and the house was further restored between 1982-4. Excavations undertaken at this time revealed the post holes of a rectangular timber building below the courtyard and west wing and stone footings beneath the great hall. Gainsborough Old Hall is currently (2011) opened to the public by English Heritage. (PastScape)

The Old Hall is principally brick with later additions. A complicated building consisting of the great hall and two wings and a fourth side which was demolished in the English Civil War. Superb timber-framing and brickwork. The sequence of building history has been gradually elucidated, especially by excavations in the west wing. Structural remains, including indications of curtain wall and brick foundations of other walls, were recorded during the construction of new paths around the south side of the building in 1993. The Old Hall was descheduled in May 1997

The First Floor East Wing Corridor has in situ domestic glazing dating to circa 1450-84 AD and to the 16th century. Stained glass in the Great Hall north wall dates to the mid- to late 15th century, and includes the Royal Arms of England, dating to circa 1450-84 AD. (Lincolnshire HER)

Gatehouse Comments

The late C15 tower is a brick built crenellated structure with clear similarities to other brick towers of the period in Lincolnshire (cf. Tattershall Castle and the towers at Rochford and Hussey), despite this this tower is never described as fortified. The tower was built by Thomas Burgh, in the 1470's. He was an important courtier, became a garter knight and was ennobled in 1487. Similar buildings for similar status individuals at the time were giving licences to crenellate but none is recorded for Gainsborough. There may have been possible lost fortifications either for this C15 house or it's C13 predecessor. The site is now with a tight network of streets and closely surrounded by buildings. One nearby street is called Caskgate street, but may be a reference to a river wharf, otherwise no street names relating to possible defensive structures. No mention of possible fortifications in PastScape. The lost fourth side may well have had a gatehouse although how 'fortified' the building was is subjective. The interior of the Hall, the kitchen and some chambers have been carefully furnished to give an impression of a late medieval high status home. Although once a scheduled monument the Hall was descheduled in 1997. It remains protected by its listed building status.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 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 ReferenceSK813900
Latitude53.4005699157715
Longitude-0.778370022773743
Eastings481320
Northings390000
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved
Photograph by Philip Davis. All rights reserved

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.

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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 32, 35, 371-3
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 49
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 242
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 65, 240, 292, 307
  • Lindley, P., (Ed.), 1991, Gainsborough Old Hall (SLHA Occasional Paper No. 8)
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and John Harris; revised by Nicholas Antram, 1989, Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Harmondsworth) p. 243-4
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and John Harris, 1964, Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Harmondsworth) p. 243-4
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 226-7 online copy
  • Stark, A., 1842, The History and Antiquities of Gainsburgh ... The Second Edition, Much Enlarged (Gainsburgh) p. 310- online copy

Antiquarian

  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 295
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 33 online copy

Journals

  • Field, F.N. and George, I., 1994, Lincolnshire History and Archaeology Vol. 29 p. 47
  • Field, Naomi, 1984-5, 'Gainsborough Old Hall' Lincolnshire Archaeology Vol. 1 p. 56-57

Guide Books

  • Lincolnshire County Council Education and Cultural Services, n.d., The Old Hall Gainsborough

Other

  • English Heritage, 1997, Descheduling Document 90797 Mp. 25