Starting this summer, the Isle of Axholme and Hatfield Chase Landscape Partnership’s project ‘Castles and Manors’ will begin archaeological investigations at the site of Vinegarth. The project will search for the Mowbray’s Medieval Manor House in Epworth, North Lincolnshire.

This is a great opportunity for all ages of the local community with a passion for history and archaeology to take part in a live archaeological investigation in the Isle of Axholme.

Reputed to be the site of a medieval manor house, Vinegarth was home to one of the greatest families of the Middle Ages, the Mowbrays. Generations of the Mowbray family left their mark on the Isle of Axholme. Baron William de Mowbray, witnessed the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215. Thomas Mowbray, later Duke of Norfolk, founded the Carthusian Priory at Low Melwood in Owston Ferry. The Mowbray crest is still prominent in the Isle of Axholme today – a proud lion positioned on a red shield. The project’s aim is to map the location and extent of the manor’s buildings and settlement exploring areas previously not investigated.

In the 1970s, investigations revealed sections of a tiled kitchen floor, with elements of the principal hall and a cloister arrangement to the South overlooking a possible courtyard or garden area.

Last year, local volunteers took part in a geophysical survey of the site that identified a number of anomalies that could relate to possible walls. The excavation will investigate the anomalies, which could indicate, a much larger and extensive manorial complex was present on Vinegarth. Here is a helpful reconstruction of the survey results

From Tuesday 17 until Saturday 28 July, archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust will be breaking ground on the Vinegarth site. Volunteers are needed to help carry out the works and full training will be provided.

Volunteers can undertake the following activities; basic archaeological excavation, photography, hand planning and section drawing, surveys and post excavation recording. Booking is essential.


Check out our events page for further details on the upcoming events and activities:
  • Medieval Concert with de Mowbray’s Musicke
  • Evening Stroll – Epworth
  • Mini Diggers
  • Family Archeology Day with York Archaeological Trust
  • Medieval Open Day