Fillingham Project overview - The Case for a Possible Second Church

The discovery of the skeletons indicates the presence of a substantial cemetery at the west end of Fillingham (Field, 1983). This cemetery lies about 250m to the west of the present church, St. Andrew´s, the earliest part of which is of 12th-century date.It is possible that during the early middle ages, Fillingham either had two churches (one beneath the present church and one elsewhere), or that the new 12th-century church was built in a new location.

A Possible Second Church?

While there is no conclusive evidence that there was a second church in Fillingham, local hearsay would support this hypothesis. The villagers in Fillingham whom I have talked to all said that the skeletons were Roman. This information was given by the previous tenants of Lakeside Cottage, and was believed to have been the interpretation given to them by Lincoln Museum. However, hearsay from an elderly resident of the village (now deceased) also places a Saxon church in the paddock just to the north of the burials. This is an odd combination of information, as one would expect either the building to be seen as Roman, or the skeletons as belonging to the Saxon church. Lincoln Sites and Monument Records (SMR) records stonework in the garden of Lakeside cottage, and presumably refers to the foundations mentioned by Mrs Rudkin in her diary. Dressed stone was also found in the walls of Lakeside cottage itself, when it was renovated and made structurally sound. According to the current residents of the cottage, the builders who undertook this work were of the opinion that stone of this size was usually only used in church structures. It is probable that this evidence was the foundation for local belief.

earthworks indicative of medieval areas of settlement

Fillingham is a shrunken medieval village. Earthworks revealing some of the larger medieval village are clearly visible today, although they are partially submerged and destroyed by the lake (Everson et al., 1991). The plan of the village was found to be difficult to interpret by Everson and colleagues, but it may well have been polyfocal. If the cemetery were around a second church, this would have provided a second area of focus within the village, giving rise to a more complicated plan.

Documentary Evidence.

  • The Domesday Book (Foster and Longley, 1924) has 5 entries for Fillingham:
  • 16/43: M. In Filingeham [Fillingham (Aslacoe)] Turgot had 2 carucates and 1 bovate of land [assessed] to the geld. There is land for 3S teams. Anschhitil, Roger’s man, has 2 teams there [in demense], and 9 sokemen and 2 villeins with 2 S teams, and 80 acres of meadow. T. R. E. it was worth 30 shillings; now 40 shillings; tallage 10 shillings (D.B., 352a).
  • 26/11: S. In Frisetorp [Friesthorpe (Lawress)] there are 3 carucates of land [assessed] to the geld. There is land for 3 teams. It is soke[land] belonging to (in) Ingeham [7 bovates] and Felingeham [17 bovates] [Ingham and Fillingham (Aslacoe)]. 10 sokemen and 3 bordars have 3 teams there, and 50 acres of meadow, and 20 acres of underwood (D.B., 356d).
  • 26/11: S. In Frisetorp [Friesthorpe (Lawress)] there are 3 carucates of land [assessed] to the geld. There is land for 3 teams. It is soke[land] belonging to (in) Ingeham [7 bovates] and Felingeham [17 bovates] [Ingham and Fillingham (Aslacoe)]. 10 sokemen and 3 bordars have 3 teams there, and 50 acres of meadow, and 20 acres of underwood (D.B., 356d).
  • 26/24: 5 M. In Fillingeham [Fillingham (Aslacoe)] Frane and Elnod and Aschil and Elnod and Godric had 7 carucates and 1 bovate of land [assessed] to the geld. There is land for 11 teams. Colsuan has 4 teams there [in demense], and 32 sokemen on (de) 4 S teams of this land and 12 villeins with 3 S teams. There is a church there, and 240 acres of meadow. T. R. E. it was worth 4 pounds; now 5 pounds; tallage 40 shillings (D.B., 357a).
  • 68/31: M. In Filingeham [Fillingham (Aslacoe)] Godric [the deacon] had 2 bovates of land [assessed] to the geld. There is land for 3 oxen. Ernuin [the priest] held it of the queen. Now it is the King’s. Roger of Poitou (Pict’) took it without anyone delivering it to him (accepit eam sine liberatore). Anschitil [now] holds it. 2 sokemen and 1 bordar have 3 oxen in a team there. T. R. E. and now worth 4 shillings. (D.B., 371b).

This records 7 manors for Fillingham (the two records of manors held by Godric may refer to the same manor, but this is unlikely, as the second entry for Godric refers to royal land), along with two entries of sokeland (land belonging to Fillingham, which may again be duplicate entries of manors described in 26/24). A village with 7 manors would be very large, and settlements of this size were often polyfocal. The Domesday Book also reveals that in 1086 Fillingham had at least one church (D.B. 357b). This may have been a precursor to St. Andrews, or an unlocated church. The Domesday Book is notoriously inaccurate when recording churches, and it is possible that such a sizeable village had 2 churches (one not mentioned), supporting the hypothesis of a second church at the east end of the village. Second churches were often associated with larger, polyfocal villages.

  • The Lindsey Survey (Foster and Longley, 1924) gives a description of land holding and landowners in AD 1115-18 but does not give us further insights regarding the number and location of churches in Fillingham.
  • 2/11 Robert de Haia in Cotis [Coates by Stow]; and in Camringham [Cammeringham] 4 carucates; and in Spridlinctuna [Spridlington] 2 carucates and 2 bovates; and in Figlingaham [Fillingham] 6 carucates and 6 bovates; and in Ingeham [Ingham] 6 bovates; and in the same vill 4 bovates of (de) Ralph de Crioil; and in Hacatorna [Hackthorn] 3 bovates; and in Ounabia [Owmby by Spital] 1 carcate and 5 bovates; and in Haneworda [Cold Hanworth] 4 bovates (L.S. Folio 4).
  • 2/20 Helpo the Arblaster (Balistarius) in Snitrebi [Snitterby] 10 bovates; and in Figlingheim [Fillingham] 2 bovates and a half and the fourth part (ferding) of 1 bovate (L.S. Folio 5
  • 2/21 The Count of Mortain (Moreton) in Figlingheim [Fillingham] 2 carucates and 3 bovates and the fifth part of 1 bovate, which Ranulf Bilion holds. And in Ingheham [Ingham] 6 bovates; and in Haneworda [Cold Hanworth] 2 bovates, which Renald Purcell holds, and Godfrey (L.S. Folio 5).