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Description: Thornton Abbey Gatehouse and Wing Walls, Precinct Walls and Barbican
Date Listed: 6 November 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 165878
OS Grid Reference: TA1151018967
OS Grid Coordinates: 511510, 418967
Latitude/Longitude: 53.6553, -0.3142
TA 11 NW THORNTON CURTIS COLLEGE ROAD
10/77 Thornton Abbey Gatehouse
and wing walls, precinct
6.11.67 walls and barbican (formerly
listed as Thornton Abbey
Abbey gatehouse and wing walls, precinct walls and barbican. Gatehouse and
wing walls of 1382 for Abbot Thomas Gresham, with later C14-C15 extensions
to wing walls and precinct walls; C15-C16 barbican. C20 renovations,
including replacement of gatehouse chamber floors. Gatehouse of brick with
limestone ashlar dressings and decorative details; limestone and ironstone
ashlar facing to plinth, turrets, lower stage of central front section and
central section to rear. Wing walls of brick with ashlar dressings,
extended in squared chalk with ashlar dressings and outer brick facing.
Precinct walls of squared chalk and chalk rubble with outer brick facing.
Barbican of brick with chalk and limestone ashlar dressings. Plan;
rectangular gatehouse with angle turrets has main central passage with foot
passage branching to right and single rooms either side. Wing walls with
round mid-wall turrets and square outer turrets continue as precinct walls
extending c125 metres south and c40 metres north to base of outer square
turret. Barbican c38 metres long across moat in front of gatehouse.
Gatehouse of 3 storeys, 3 bays, has 2-stage front with projecting octagonal
turrets at angles and between bays, flanked by 2-bay wing walls, the inner
bays sloping down to 3-storey round towers and the wider outer bays
extending down to single-storey square turrets. Barbican of 15 bays with
round turrets flanking entrance. Gatehouse: pointed entrance arch of 3
shafted orders with a cusped segmental outer arch flanked by blank bays with
segmental arches supporting corbel table and outer wall passage. Upper
stage has two tiers of elaborate canopied niches, some retaining carved
figures, corbel table and fragmentary embattled parapet. Central passage
has unusual pointed tunnel vault with longitudinal ridge-rib flanked by
intersecting diagonal ribs springing from small wall shafts with foliate
capitals. Inner arch of 2 orders with upper sections of original 2-fold oak
doors with carved reticulated tracery. Pedestrian side passage has two
sections of similar ribbed vaulting. Gatehouse inner face has plinth,
moulded stringcourses between floors; pointed main arch of 3 orders,
segmental-pointed arches to side bays; four-centred arch doorways, that to
left turret with shafts and fleuron frieze above; first floor oriel window,
2-, 3- and 4-light traceried windows and corbel table beneath parapet.
Interior contains first floor hall with fireplace, carved corbels for
ceiling beams, moulded arch and ribbed vaulting to oriel window; series of
wall passages and chambers, turret staircase ceiling with cusped and
traceried ribs. Wing walls: ashlar plinth, moulded string courses, cornice
and arrow slits to inner bays and round turrets; chamfered brick plinth and
string courses to outer bays and square turrets; blind pointed arches on
inner face, internal galleries and turret chambers. Barbican: roadway
flanked by pointed blank arches with cruciform arrow slits, cogged brick
cornice and fragmentary remains of crenellations; turrets with chamfered
ashlar plinths contain round chambers with corbelled ceilings, chamber to
left with adjoining garderobe. The largest and one of the most impressive
gatehouses in England, notable for its use of brick, ambitious design and
rich ornamentation. For plan and detailed description see DoE (AMHB)
guidebook, Thornton Abbey, 1978; N Pevsner and J Harris, The Buildings of
England: Lincolnshire, 1978, 400-2; illustrations in NMR.
Listing NGR: TA1152618971
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.