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Gainsborough Old Hall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Gainsborough.
In the historic county of Lincolnshire.
Modern Authority of Lincolnshire.
1974 county of Lincolnshire.
Medieval County of Lincolnshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SK81329000
Latitude 53.40057° Longitude -0.77837°

Gainsborough Old Hall has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


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)

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.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Descheduled   Listing   I. O. E.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:02

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