Building record MLI22360 - Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding


Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding.

Type and Period (4)

  • (Post Medieval - 1730 AD? to 1830 AD?)
  • (Medieval to Late 20th Century - 1450 AD? to 1987 AD)
  • (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1450 AD? to 1600 AD?)
  • (Late 20th Century to 21st Century - 1987 AD to 2050 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Ayscoughfee Hall was built in 1420. A number of restorations and additions were made, particularly in 1793 and 1845. {1}{2} The Hall was the former home of antiquary Maurice Johnson, founder of the Spalding Gentlemen's Society. It is now (2011) in use as a District Council Museum. {3}{4} The formal and ornamental gardens date to the 18th to 19th century, and cover about three hectares to the east and the south of the Hall (see PRN 25721). Ayscoughfee Hall was begun in 1429 for Sir Richard Aldwyn, with later additions and alterations in the 16th century, in 1792 and in 1845 probably by William Todd. Gardens to the east and south, are mainly 18th century in origin, laid out in about 1730 by William Sands. The principal feature is the pond, rectangular and lying north-south, with outstanding yew hedges. There is a view to St Mary and St Nicholas's Church to the north. The war memorial is by Lutyens, dating to about 1925 and is to the south. The bowling green is to the east and the lawns to the south. The building has associations with antiquary Maurice Johnson, 1688-1755. {5}{6}{7} A programme of building recording and historical research was carried out at Ayscoughfee Hall in 1999. The building survey identified multi-period features, and indicated that the basic H-plan of the building was most likely rapidly developed in the 15th century. A tentative sequence of development has also been proposed. Historical research has suggested that the hall may be located on the site of a manor recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The descent of the hall from initial construction was also traced. {8} Stained glass in this building is of English and Continental origin and dates from the late 13th to the 17th century. It includes Saints and Angels from a Te Deum window. {9} A building survey was carried out during repairs and refurbishment of the Hall in 2005. A number of internal features were revealed including an early floor in the ground floor of the north wing. Dendrochronological dating was carried out on all the historic roof timbers and the results indicate that the earliest phase of construction took place rapidly in the 1450s. {10} Excavations in the gardens of Ayscoughfee Hall, carried out during the period January to May 2008, revealed deposits and features associated with use of the house and grounds. Trenches to the rear (east side) of the building, uncovered the foundations of a brick structure, which appears to correspond with an annexe or outbuilding shown on Grundy's 1732 map of Spalding. A furnace at its north-western corner may indicate that the building functioned as a hothouse or stove. It was post-dated by the extant Garden Room at the south-east corner of the house, and by a section of the adjacent garden wall, which probably represents an infill made necessary by the demolition of the original structure. Two wells (one of probable medieval date) were located on the eastern side of the house. On the south lawn, a brick culvert leading south from the house was connected to another culvert aligned east to west, with the latter possibly functioning (but no longer active) as a conduit between the canal and river. Investigations along the west wall exposed earlier phases of construction, including limestone footings, while a brick-lined pit at the north-west corner of the south garden may be interpreted as a post medieval cess pit. The feature had been contained with a small brick outbuilding, demolished at some time in the 20th century. {11}{12} This museum, formerly a mansion developed from a substantial high status medieval open hall, was built in the mid 15th century and underwent alterations in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was extensively remodelled between 1781 and 1808, and again in about 1834, together with further extensions. It was further altered to create the present museum which opened in 1987. The Hall is said to have been originally built by Sir Richard Aldwyn in 1429 and the tower survives from this period. There is a late Elizabethan H-type front facing the river. This was given Gothick treatment in 1792 and considerable alterations in the Tudor style were made in 1845 by William Todd. A brick garden wall (PRN 25408) is also listed. For the full description and the legal address of this listed building please refer to the appropriate List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. {13}{14}{15} Since the date of the construction of the hall is known, the building was used as a dating control in a project by Durham University to evaluate the accuracy of optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of brick. A brick from the upper part of an internal gable wall was tested and gave a date of 1447 +/- 13 years. This date accords very well with the known date of the original construction of the present hall of 1450-55. {16}

Sources/Archives (16)

  •  Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Card Index. TF 22 SW: 9.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: GOOCH, E.H.. 1940. HISTORY OF SPALDING. vol.250, p.312.
  •  Index: Lincolnshire County Council. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 22 SW: W.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Nikolaus Pevsner and John Harris, with Nicholas Antram. 1989. Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Second Edition). pp.675-6.
  •  Serial: 1897->. Country Life. 1916, p.730.
  •  Article in Serial: Roberts, David L.. 1975. 'Ayscoughfee Hall: the building of a great merchants house' in Lincolnshire History and Archaeology. vol.10, pp.37-47.
  •  Report: Archaeological Project Services. June 1999. Building recording and historical research at Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding. SAH99.
  •  Bibliographic Reference: Penny Hebgin-Barnes. 1996. The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire. pp.264-70.
  •  Report: Field Archaeology Specialists. 2005. Historic Building Assessment: Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding. SAH04.
  •  Report: NAU Archaeology. 2009. An Archaeological Excavation at Ayscoughfee Hall Gardens, Spalding, Lincolnshire. SAHG08.
  •  Archive: NAU Archaeology. 2009. An Archaeological Excavation at Ayscoughfee Hall Gardens, Spalding, Lincolnshire. -.
  •  Index: Department of the Environment. 1975. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. 1/28.
  •  Report: South Holland District Council. 2007. Spalding Conservation Area Appraisal. Riverside character area.
  •  Website: Historic England (formerly English Heritage). 2011->. The National Heritage List for England. 1359532.
  •  Article in Serial: Bayliff, I. K., Blain, S., Graves, C. P., Gurling T. and Semple S.. 2010. 'Uses and recycling of brick in medieval and Tudor English buildings: insights from the application of luminescence dating and new avenues for further research' in The Archaeological Journal. vol.167, p.168.



Grid reference Centred TF 24903 22363 (41m by 42m) Surveyed

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (8)

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Dec 6 2023 10:32AM


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