Castles & Manors

Part 1: Vinegarth – involved investigation and survey of the medieval manor building on previous excavations so that new community digs and engagement could be developed while answering key questions about the extent of the site. Interpretation was to be developed from the work and involvement of volunteers so that the outline of the old manor could be better interpreted and understood, history could be explored, and the site could be better managed and maintained. The work would also build on links to the Magna Carta and displaying previous finds.

Part 2: Strip fields – to build up coordinated interpretation of the medieval field system that still exists surrounding Epworth.

Part 3: Owston Castle – this project aimed to reveal the extent of the 11th Century Motte and Bailey, an Ancient Scheduled Monument (No. 30124) in the Isle of Axholme. This would include the clearance of the mound (trees and scrub); provision of an all abilities footpath with seating to provide public access and amenity; and the provision of interpretation boards on site. The site is also a Local Nature Reserve so the project looked to retain some existing features for wildlife and also provide nesting boxes for birds and bats.

Other Projects
Project lead organisation and other organisations involved

Lead: North Lincolnshire Council

Supported by: Epworth Parish Council, Epworth Heritage Forum

Project Outcomes

Measure

Geological survey of Vinegarth
Engagement and Community investigations
Number of volunteer hours contributed – Manor
Interpretation board
Display cabinet in St Andrews Church
Interpretation of strip fields around Epworth
Trees and scrub clearance at Kinard Castle
Footpath at Kinard Castle
Installation of interpretation board at Kinard Castle
Number of volunteer hours contributed – Castles

Target

1
1
1050
1
1
1
0.25 acres
1km
1
350

Delivered

1
1
1050
1
0.25 acres
1km
1
20
What difference has this project made reconnecting people with their landscape and cultural heritage?

The Castles and Manors project has highlighted an interesting and some-what unknown period in Epworth’s past. Following on from excavations in the 1970s, there was still little information about the manor, its location and function. Today dog-walkers use the site regularly and is meeting point for local residents visiting St Andrew’s Church. Thanks to the project, locals using the area have an increased appreciation of the site, taken more ownership, and have a better understanding of Epworth’s past.

Volunteers using techniques such as geophysics and excavation explored Vinegarth, the reputed home of the medieval Mowbray family. Volunteers and local residents attended regular updates, evening talks, open days, finds handling sessions and a wrap up of the results presentation event. Through these community engagements, residents have an increased knowledge of Epworth and perhaps what it looked like during the medieval period. The project findings will be recorded by the local Historic Environment Office and finds donated to the North Lincolnshire Museum Service. The project offered volunteers an opportunity to develop skills in archaeological excavation, geophysical surveying and finds processing. These skills have proved useful to other Landscape Partnership initiatives, progressing into education and supporting external local projects. A positive outcome of the project has been students who joined the excavation have referenced their project experiences in higher education applications and secured places at college and university.

Peeling back the layers of the scheduled Motte and Bailey Castle site has been a much-welcomed project. Prominent in the landscape, the motte and bailey castle overlooks the village of Owston Ferry with many residents previously not aware of it’s glorious and historic past. The new interpretation provided on-site has given visitors the opportunity learn more about the castle and the people who built it.

Cutting back overgrown brambles and nettles, the site has been transformed making the castle accessible and a much friendlier visitor destination. Since the work, local schools have been able to visit and have enjoyed Owston Ferry history themed activities on the mound.

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