Goltho


Goltho

Goltho is a village of Anglo-Saxon roots situated in Lincolnshire, England. The origin of the name is uncertain, perhaps from an Old Scandinavian (Viking) first name or the Viking word for "ravine", or as is widely accepted locally, "where the marigolds grow", referred to in Henry Thorold's guide to the redundant St George's Church, Goltho.

It is a civil parish about ten miles northeast of Lincoln and two miles southwest of Wragby. Wragby parish lies to the east, Rand parish to the north and Apley parish to the south. It is described in White's "1842 Lincolnshire Directory" as 'a parish of scattered farms'. The parish covered about 1,360 acres in 1842. Ecclesiastically, the parish was united with Bullington to form one tithe-free parish in the peculier jurisdiction of the Bishop of Lincoln. Together, the two parishes covered about 2,540 acres. The parish is skirted on the north side by the A158 trunk road as it passes between Lincoln and Horncastle.

The Anglican Church, dedicated to St. George, is more properly called a chapel. It is a small red brick building. By 1900, the church had been converted to use only as a mortuary chapel.

Goltho Hall, torn down long before 1842, was the ancestral seat of the Grantham family, who sold the estate to the Mainwaring family. It was rebuilt around 1875, near the site of the old hall.

Goltho contains a medieval village settlement consisting of a moat, and crofts with buildings, seen as cropmarks and earthworks. Excavation in 1973 revealed an early medieval ringwork and medieval motte and tower. This is a site that has undergone a rare extensive and detailed excavation and was found to have had a complex history. This started as a Saxon defended manorial site and had the earthworks modified on several occasions (and timber buildings rebuilt) including use as a Norman castle.

For governance, the parish was in the ancient Wraggoe Wapentake in the West Lindsey district and parts of Lindsey.

The presence of an upper stratum of Saxon society has been known from historical and archaeological sources for a long time but the associated settlement sites have only come to light comparatively recently. Key excavations include those at Portchester (Cunliffe 1976), Sulgrave (Davison 1977), Raunds (Cadman 1983), Cowdery's Down (Millett and James 1983), Foxley (Hinchliffe 1986), and Goltho (Beresford 1987). As yet, there has been no synthesis of the results of investigations into this class of monument.

If the limits of the site are not known it is difficult to ascertain the overall size of aristocratic residences. From excavations which have taken place, however, it appears that the size varies; that at Goltho covered approximately 0.25ha which was later enlarged to c0.8ha. In general, the early Saxon sites occupied more space than the enclosed late Saxon sites.

The most prominent component of Saxon aristocratic residences are the large and elaborately built timber halls. These were typically between 12 m and 20 m in length and between 5 m and 10 m in width, although larger examples do occur, for example at Goltho, where one building measured 24 m x 6 m. In common with timber buildings from other classes of Anglo-Saxon settlement sites, most halls were rectangular, often with simple length:width ratios (often 2:1 or 4:1); the use of the square, frequently in pairs, was very common.

The archaeological evidence for these buildings comprises the foundation trenches and postholes from which may be inferred the methods of construction and the basic superstructure of the building. Construction methods varied both between sites and within sites. One of the most common methods was the post-in-trench technique which comprised foundation trenches, in general up to 0.5 m deep and between 0.3 m and 0.8 m wide, dug to hold the upright timbers. The impressions or "ghosts" of the posts left in the trenches show that the walls were either of solid vertical planks or of posts spaced apart and probably infilled with panels of wattle and daub. Another method was the post-in-pit method where vertical posts were set in individual pits or postholes and infilled; in some buildings both methods were used.

The halls had between one and four doors, with two usually set symmetrically in the centre of the long walls. In several cases the halls had annexes at one or both ends of the main building, or partitions within the building to create antechambers. Internal postholes indicate that some halls were aisled; for example, at Goltho, where a 10th-century hall has a single aisle 1.8 m wide. The large timber halls were probably used as reception rooms, for feasting and for accommodation; some, however, may have had a specialised function as at Goltho, for example, where artefactual material suggests use as a weaving shed.

As well as timber halls, aristocratic residences also comprise smaller timber-framed buildings; like the halls, these were also either of "timber-in-trench" or of posthole construction. Some of these buildings were similar to the halls although on a smaller scale, others were of less elaborate construction. The associated artefactual material from some buildings suggests specialised use, for example as kitchens.

Within several buildings there is evidence of hearths or ovens. Inside the long hall at Goltho there was a dais, 0.46 m high, at one end of the building, in the centre of which was a cobbled hearth; this was later rebuilt with a timber surround. At the same site, a kitchen contained a central heath comprising a pit 1.5 m x 0.9 m and 0.1 m deep which was filled with burnt daub.

Several aristocratic residences, especially those of late Saxon date, had an earthwork enclosure, within which some or all the buildings were located. At Goltho the 9th-century enclosure comprised a ditch and rampart enclosing an area measuring 48 m x 48 m; in the 11th century the enclosure was enlarged, enclosing an area 97.5 m x 81 m with the ramparts originally standing to between 1.8 m and 2.1 m high and around 7.5 m thick, and the ditch 5.4 m wide and 1.8 m deep.

In some cases there is evidence of the enclosure gate; at Goltho the extra strength of the defences, the worn surface and spread of stone indicate the position of a gateway probably 3.6 m wide; the gate was probably on a sill-beam foundation.

References

*Everson, P.,1990 'The problem of Goltho' Medieval Settlement Research Group Report Vol5 p9-14
*Stocker, D., 1989, 'Review of G. Beresford, 'Goltho: The Development of an Early Medieval Manor c. 850-1150" Archaeological Journal Vol14 p627-9
*Everson, P.,1988, ‘What’s in a name? “Goltho”, Goltho and Bullington' Lincolnshire History and Archaeology Vol23 p93–9
*Hodges, R., 1988, ‘Origins of the English castle' Nature Vol333 p112–13
*Beresford, Guy, 1982, 'Goltho Manor, Lincolnshire: The Buildings and their Surrounding Defences c.850-1150' in Brown, R.Allen (ed), Proceedings of the Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies 4, 1981 (Boydell Press) p13-36, 171-4
*Beresford, Guy, 1977, ‘The excavation of the deserted medieval village of Goltho, Lincolnshire' Château Gaillard Vol8 p47-68 plates 1 and 4
*Selkirk, A., 1975-6, ‘Goltho, a deserted medieval village and its manor house' Current Archaeology Vol5 p262-70
*Salter, Mike, 2002, The Castles of the East Midlands (Malvern) p50
*Roffe, David, 1993, 'Castles' in Bennett, S. and Bennett, N. (eds), An Historical Atlas of Lincolnshire (University of Hull Press) p40-1
*Higham, R. and Barker, P., 1992, Timber Castles (Batsford) p281-6
*Beresford, G. et al, 1987, Goltho: the development of an early medieval manor c 850–1150. (London: English Heritage)
*Bassett, S.R., 1985, 'Beyond the edge of excavation: the topographical context of Goltho' in Mayr-Harting, H. and Moore, R.I. (eds), Studies in Medieval History Presented to R.H.C. Davis (London: Hambledon) p21-39
*King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol1 p265
*Beresford, G., 1975, The Medieval Clay-Land Village: Excavations at Goltho and Barton Blount (London: Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 6)


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