Archaeology & History Sites in Lincolnshire

Prehistoric Sites in Lincolnshire

Deadmen’s Graves Long Barrows

During the early Neolithic, communities in parts of Britain interned some of their dead in oblong earthen mounds now known as ‘long barrows’. Some of these contained stone chambers running through them, although others did not. Lincolnshire is home to several of these unchambered monuments, among which are the two Deadmen’s Grave Long Barrows. Standing upon a hill dominated by farmland, the barrows are made visible from a nearby trackway by the shrubs and trees that grow atop of them. Cropmarks suggest that agriculture has obliterated a nearby third long barrow.

Roman Sites in Lincolnshire

Newport Arch

The city of Lincoln was known as Lindum Colonia to the Romans, who built a legionary fortress here. It had many of the architectural features associated with Roman rule, including public baths, temples, and a forum. Several stone-built remains from this period still stand in the city, of which the best known is the Newport Arch. Built in the 3rd century, it served as the northern entrance to the city right through to the Middle Ages. Now Grade-I listed, collisions with several trucks during the past century have taken their toll. [Website]

Medieval Sites in Lincolnshire

St Peter’s Church, Barton-upon-Humber

One of the oldest churches in England, St Peter’s has been a site of Christian worship since the 9th century. Parts of the standing building date from the late 10th century, and still exhibit distinctive Anglo-Saxon architectural features. Some of the masonry used was purloined from Romano-British buildings. Further additions continued throughout the high and later Middle Ages, now evidenced by various Norman and Gothic elements. Over 2,800 burials lie in its churchyard, dating from the early Medieval right through to the 19th century. English Heritage own the building. [Website]

Lincoln Medieval Bishops’ Palace

The Bishops of Lincoln were among the most powerful figures in late medieval Britain, a fact reflected in their palace, built in the late 12th century. Standing in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral, the palace also underwent further extensions in the 13th and 15th centuries. Amid the English Civil War of the 1640s, the building was sacked and left derelict. Although most of the palace now stands in ruins, it still features the well-preserved West Hall, entrance tower, and a peaceful garden and vineyard. Various events occur throughout the year. [Website]

Bolingbroke Castle

After returning from the Crusades, Ranulf de Blundeville, the Earl of Chester and Lincoln, built three castles in England, one of which was at Bolingbroke. A classic 13th century design, it consisted of a walled enclosure replete with turrets surrounding a central enclosure, in which would have stood timber buildings. Like many medieval castles, Bolingbroke returned to military use during the English Civil War, when royalists held the fort. They surrendered following a parliamentarian siege, with the castle then being torn down. Today the site is only a ruin, although is free to visit. [Website]

Gainsborough Old Hall

One of England’s best preserved Medieval manor houses, Gainsborough Old Hall began life in the 1460s. Both Richard III and later Henry VIII visited the house, reflecting the wealth and status of its owners, the Burgh family. Further expansions were made in the Elizabethan period while John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, preached there in the mid-18th century. Mostly brick built although with some timber framing, the house also features a brick tower with impressive views over the local landscape. English Heritage own the building, while Lincolnshire County Council manage access. [Website]

Tatershall College

King Henry VI’s treasurer, Ralph, Lord Cromwell, built this ecclesiastical grammar school in 1460, one of many buildings that he commissioned in the local area. Built in the Perpendicular style, it represents one of the oldest brick buildings still standing in England. It continued in use as a school until the late 17th century, when its new owner repurposed it as a granary and malt house. It underwent further architectural alterations until the 1970s, when the state took control. Owned by English Heritage, the site is free to visit. [Website]

Thornton Abbey and Gatehouse

The Earl of Yorkshire William le Gros founded Thornton Abbey as an Augustinian priory in 1139, although it was upgraded to abbey status a decade later. It became a wealthy and powerful force in the later Middle Ages although King Henry VIII included it in his dissolution of the monasteries. It survived as a secular college until 1547, after which it crumbled into its present ruined appearance. Archaeological excavations have since revealed more about its development and layout. The abbey’s three-story gatehouse, built in the 14th century is one of England’s most impressive. [Website]

Modern Sites in Lincolnshire

Sibsey Trader Windmill

Built in 1877 to replace an earlier post mill, Sibsey Trader Windmill was one of two windmills serving the local community during the late 19th and early 20th century. Its design was typical of others in Lincolnshire. It remained operational until 1954, after which it fell into disrepair. It is six stories in height and is one of the few surviving English windmills to have six sails. A Grade-I listed building, English Heritage own the windmill. It now grounds flour once again, selling its produce in a small shop and tearoom. [Website]

Belton House

Sir John Brownlow, whose family had owned the estate since the late 16th century, constructed his new country house at Belton during the 1680s. The precise architect is not known, although William Winde is the most likely candidate. It was designed in the Carolean style, a vernacular form of architecture which Brownlow favoured over the then-fashionable Baroque. Later owners made further alterations to the house, although its fabric and basic style remained the same. Extensive grounds surround the National Trust-owned mansion, which housed the Machine Gun Corps during World War I. [Website]

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