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Digging The Harlaxton Manors

Our latest project, launched in the Spring of 2024, is to explore the site of the village's previous manor houses.

Prior to the current Harlaxton Manor, built in the mid 19th Century, there is archival evidence of three previous manor houses on a site in the centre of the village.


It is the aim of Harlaxton History Society to use archaeological techniques to reveal a new understanding of the scope and location of the previous manorial complexes.

Sat on the Southern edge of the village the site is spread across several modern gardens and properties, bordered in part by the remains of the original medieval moat.

Click here to read about progress on this project

North Frontage of Harlaxton Manor in 1817

North Frontage of Harlaxton Manor in 1817

North Frontage of Harlaxton Manor in 1831 from the office of Anthony Salvin, architect of the new manor

Manor houses have been an integral part of the political, economic, and social spheres of England since the 14th century, forming the basic building blocks of the English Feudal system.


Built for wealthy landowners, they provided physical protection and secured a position in the community. Land ownership was a status that subsequently brought a voice in county affairs for the Lord of the Manor. Wealth, manifesting itself in land, was inherited or bought and often included a Manor and the surrounding village.

In the years just before the Norman Conquest of 1066 the owner of the land around Harlaxton was Queen Edith, King Edward The Confessor’s widow and sister of King Harold who would die at the Battle of Hastings.

After the Norman conquest of 1066, Harlaxton became a manorial area with a Norman Lord of the Manor sitting in charge. It may be around this time that the moated manorial complex was established, though the chance that here had been an Anglo Saxon Manor of some sort beforehand cannot be discounted.

For updates on progress researching this site click here.

Timeline of the Harlaxton Manors:

1086—The village of Herlavestune was mentioned in the Domesday Book, which listed 60 acres holding 10 villagers, two smallholders, and 58 freemen. Smallholdings were farm plots that supported one family through cash crops and subsistence farming and freemen were villagers who owned their own land.

1340—A moated Manor was built in the 14th century by Edmund de Swynford.

1485—1603—A Tudor Manor may have been built by The Blewitt / Buet Family

1619—Daniel de Ligne, a Flemish refugee, purchased the Manor for £8,000, equivalent to over £1 million today, and enlarged it considerably while living there in a Jacobean style.

1738—George Gregory, a lawyer for the Harlaxton family, married Ann Orton, historically considered to be the great, great granddaughter of Daniel de Ligne. Claiming she was the newly discovered heir, Gregory became Lord of the Manor.

1775—The family resided mostly at Rempstone Hall, their secondary residence, and in a holiday apartment in London, leaving the original Manor desolate. Landed gentry families often amassed multiple estates through marriage and inheritance.

1782—George de Ligne Gregory, the first son of George Gregory, built Hungerton Hall. In his will, George de Ligne Gregory (the first) left the Harlaxton and Nottingham estates to his three brothers. William, the next oldest, inherited Rempstone and Denton and changed his name to William Gregory Williams.

1822—Gregory Gregory Williams, son of William Gregory Williams, inherited the estates. Changing his name to Gregory Gregory, he sold off plots of land in Lenton and Radford to help fund the new Harlaxton Manor. Gregory Gregory visited Bramshill, Hardwick, Hatfield, Knole, Burghley, Wollaton, Kirby, Longleat, and Temple Newsham for inspiration for his new country house.

1832-1848 New manor House built by Gregory Gregory

1860s Old Jacobean manor in village demolished by John Sherwin Gregory

The Harlaxton Manorial site, boundary in yellow, moat remains in blue

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