Hussey Tower

Has been described as a Certain Tower House

There are major building remains

NameHussey Tower
Alternative NamesBenyngton Tower; Benyington Tower
Historic CountryLincolnshire
Modern AuthorityLincolnshire
1974 AuthorityLincolnshire
Civil ParishBoston

The medieval fortified house at Hussey Tower survives well as a series of standing remains and buried deposits. It has close architectural parallels with other medieval fortified houses located within a relatively small area of the fenland, and as such it will preserve valuable evidence of the way in which this group of high status sites inter-related as distinctive components of the medieval landscape. It is a rare example of the early use of locally produced brick.

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the medieval brick fortified house at Hussey Tower. The house is believed to have been built in the mid- to late 15th century for Richard Bennington; 'Richard Benyngton Toure' being mentioned in a rental of 1489. The tower, a Listed Building Grade II, was later owned by Lord Hussey, and following his death, in 1537, the estate was granted to the Corporation of Boston. A gatehouse was demolished in 1565, and repairs were made to the remainder of the buildings, which were then rented by Joseph Whiting. In the early 18th century further buildings were dismantled including the domestic range adjoining the tower, and in 1728 the lead and timber were removed from the tower.

The tower is rectangular with an octagonal stair turret projecting from the north east corner. The buried remains of a former range will survive immediately east of the tower. The tower measures approximately 9m by 8m, with walls 1m in width, and stands three storeys high with a portion of the crenellated parapet. The structure is chiefly of red brick, believed to have been locally produced, laid in English bond with some stonework used in the window and doorway dressings together with moulded and cut bricks. At ground floor level is a formerly rib-vaulted chamber which would have provided a storage area and is now entered by the doorway in the east wall

There are two blocked openings in the south wall, one of which is thought to represent an original doorway, and a fireplace in the north wall. A door in the north east corner of the chamber leads to the stair which gave access to each floor and to the roof of the tower. The staircase, also of brick, rises around a central pillar and includes a moulded inset handrail.

The first floor chamber has two stone dressed windows, one in the south and the other in the north wall, with brick relieving arches above. In the east wall there is a fireplace and the doorway which formerly led to the adjoining range. The second floor chamber has windows in the south and north walls, similar to the first floor windows, and there is a fireplace in the west wall. The first and second floor chambers would have provided private accommodation for the family.

The tower was formerly part of a larger building as shown by the bonding and roof scars of a two storey range on the exterior of the east wall of the tower. The range, forming part of the domestic accommodation, was slightly narrower than the tower with communicating doorways between the range and the tower at ground and first floor levels. The former range, running east from the tower, and associated features will survive as buried remains around the tower. Excavations around the tower have revealed brick footings on the west side of the tower, part of a small brick vault on the south side of the tower and an area of paving adjacent to the entrance.

The tower has close architectural parallels with three other brick-built fortified houses surviving within a small area; Rochford Tower, 3km to the east, Tower on the Moor at Woodhall Spa, and Tattershall Castle, all constructed during the same period. Richard Bennington was a prominent Lincolnshire man and was associated with Ralph Lord Cromwell, who was responsible for the brick-built fortified house at Tattershall, started in about 1434, and Tower on the Moor. Hussey Tower is thought to have been influenced by Tower on the Moor, probably as a result of the connections between Bennington and Cromwell. It is thought that the bricks were locally produced, supplied from a kiln at Boston. (Scheduling Report)

In a rental of the guild of Corpus Christi 'Richard Benyngton Toure' is mentioned in 1489 and the name Benyngton Tower appears again in 1564. The original extent of Hussey Hall unknown, but the gatehouse was demolished in 1565 and probably fronted the southern end. The enclosure wall within which the tower stands is ancient and many foundations may be traced within it. In the 18th and 19th centuries, various buildings were taken down, including a 'brewhouse' and mill house. (Lincolnshire HER ref. OS card; Thompson 1856; Thompson 1932)

Gatehouse Comments

The surviving brick tower, recently consolidated, was part of a larger building complex the extent (did it extend to the river front?) and form of which is not known but which certainly included a gate house and a timber great hall. The relatively recent planning decision to allow residential building very close to the tower makes its now difficult to fully appreciate the tower in its wider medieval landscape. It is clear the tower takes its architectural inspiration from Ralph Cromwell's work at Tattershall Castle

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

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 ReferenceTF330436
Latitude52.9735107421875
Longitude-0.0195899996906519
Eastings533080
Northings343630
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. 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 Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. All rights reserved
Photograph by Andrew Herrett. 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.

Calculate Print

Books

  • Osborne, Mike, 2010, Defending Lincolnshire: A Military History from Conquest to Cold War (The History Press) p. 74
  • Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 51
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 223
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 143
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and John Harris; revised by Nicholas Antram, 1989, Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Harmondsworth) p. 169
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 265 (possible)
  • Harvey, Alfred, 1911, Castles and Walled Towns of England (London: Methuen and Co)
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 1 p. 434 online copy
  • Thompson, P., 1856, The Histories and Antiquities of Boston (Boston: John Noble, jun.) p. 242-4 online copy

Journals

  • Smith, T.P., 1979, 'Hussey Tower, Boston: a late medieval tower-house of brick' Lincolnshire History and Archaeology Vol. 14 p. 31-7
  • Thompson, A.H., 1932, The Archaeological Journal Vol. 89 p. 370 (mention) online copy

Other

  • Williams, Steve, 2006, Archaeological Watching Brief at the Hussey Tower (Archaeological Project Services 181/05) online copy
  • Anderson and Glenn, 2005, Feasibility Study for Re-roofing Hussey Tower, Boston. (unpublished but detailed report)
  • English Heritage, 1999, Revised scheduling document 31625. MPP 23