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Grantham Journal letter: Cherry Orchard was Cherry Holt


I recently acquired a short archaeological report: ‘Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Reports and Papers, Volume 6, Part 2, 1956’.

It contains information relating to The Cherry Holt, a late-17th/early-18th century moated site that once existed off Harrowby Lane.

The Ministry of Works excavated the site in August and September 1953. The report author, Mr. M. W. Thompson, supervised the excavation.

The town council wished to fill in the moat for sanitary reasons – this was in readiness for the commencement of the building of the proposed Cherry Orchard estate.

The earthwork was approximately 40-50 feet broad and four-five feet deep with an entrance to the south-east and would have occupied ground where Shakespeare Avenue meets Byron Avenue. The site first appears on an old map dated 1824.

Clues still exist today on the position of the site. Unlike all of the other houses on the Cherry Orchard estate, the homes built on the site of The Cherry Holt are bungalows.

It is likely that single storey dwellings were built on the site due to the fact that the foundations were built on ground that had been filled. The cul-de-sac opposite the bungalows, Moat Walk, also pays homage to The Cherry Holt.

After pursuing several lines of enquiry, Thompson concluded that the moated earthwork was most probably intended for watering livestock and was similar to another moated site at Epperstone in Nottinghamshire.

Although, some of the ceramic finds may suggest dairying activities, Thompson concluded: “The site is fairly remote from any village and we suggest that the moat was dug as a convenient collecting point for watering and milking cattle while they were on Summer pasture, possibly while they were on the rough pasturage of Hall’s Hill which overlooks the site.”

Terry Welbourn


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