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In 'Treasure Trove' ..
Landships of Lincoln
Lincolnshire's great engineering heritage
Basket-making - a lost Lincolnshire Industry
Willow growing and basket making in Lincolnshire
Who put the Spa in Woodhall?
The origins of this fashionable area of Lincolnshire
South Kyme Tower
Lincolnshire is full of surprises and the unexpected. One of these is South Kyme Tower.
Farming in Lincolnshire
Farming has shaped our landscape and our population and may truly be said to be Lincolnshire's Heritage.
Signs of the Times
The changing road signs and fingerposts throughout Lincolnshire in the 20th century
The City by the Pool - the story of the Brayford
Lincoln's Brayford Pool - from pre-Roman times through to today, and the future for 'the Pool'.
Bolingbroke Castle
The history of Bolingbroke Castle, from it's building to the modern day.
Treasures of the Witham Valley
Dave Start talks about Lincolnshire's medieval monasteries, and some of the counties finest antiquities.
Do you come from Bardney?
Dave Start explains the origins of this well-known phrase.
Dunston Pillar
A great stone tower set in the Lincolnshire countryside - what could it be?
In the footsteps of St Gilbert
Special events held in 2002 to mark the 800th anniversary of the canonisation of Lincolnshire's Native Saint.
Monksthorpe Baptist Chapel
Paula Judson explores Lincolnshire and discovers a county of hidden treasures.
Preserving Historic Buildings
The work of the Building Preservation Trust in preserving historic buildings.
Abbeys and Monasteries in Lincolnshire
A look at some of the 'visitable' monastic ruins in Lincolnshire.
Torksey Castle
The history of Torksey 'Castle' and its downfall.
Deserted Medieval Villages
Lost medieval villages in the ancient county of Lincolnshire.
Standing Stone Crosses
What were they for and how did they get there?
Dating the Past
How the process of archaeological dating began, and future dating methods.
Ancient treasures: Tales from the Past
The discovery and excavation of human skeletons, and what they tell us about life in the past.
Listing buildings
How and why buildings are identified as having special architectural or historic interest.
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Treasure Trove

South Kyme Tower

Lincolnshire is full of surprises and the unexpected. One of these is South Kyme Tower.


Lincolnshire's landscape is full of the surprising and the unexpected - our rich heritage has fragments from lost times throughout the county - from the mounds of a prehistoric burial ground to the stump of a medieval cross or a great crag of ruin standing silently in a field.
 
I remember travelling round the county when I first came to Lincolnshire, and every now and again just stopping to wonder, 'What on earth is that?' The first time I drove through South Kyme was just such a moment....
 
Great battlemented stone tower
 
At South Kyme, just a couple of hundred yards from the church, stands a great battlemented stone tower. It's 77 feet high with four storeys and is extremely well built from Lincolnshire limestone. A spiral staircase reaches from the ground floor up to the battlements - at first sight it looks a bit like a church tower that's lost its church, but it is in fact the last remaining fragment of a great manor house.
 
South Kyme Tower and its adjoining manor house were built in the 1350s by the then lord of the manor, Gilbert de Umfraville. He was a rich and important man having been appointed the Keeper of the King's Peace in Lindsey, so he wanted a house that was appropriate to his status.
 
Not designed for defence
 
Kyme Tower would have been the tallest and grandest part of Gilbert's House with several other buildings attached to it and standing nearby - the south side of the tower shows the beam-holes at first and second floor level which joined it to another building. We do not know the shape or scale of this great house, but we do know that it was surounded by a watery moat. Some reports say it wa a great castle with four towers of which only one still stands, but this is not true - this house was a great status symbol designed to impress but not designed for defence.
 
Gilbert's house stood for nearly four hundred years as a home for the de Umfravilles, then for the Tallboy family and finally for the Dymokes who left it and demolished all but the tower in around 1725.
 
In modern times
 
During the Second World War, Kyme Tower served as a lookout post for the home guard under the command of Colonel Chambers and on the 19th July 1946 it received national attention in the Daily Express with the report that a bullock had climbed all 108 steps of the narrow spiral staircase and had reached the top - however it could not work out how to get back down again - and in the end two local men (James Hunt and Percy Coy) managed to coax it down backwards.
 
Kyme Tower is on private land and is normally not accessible, although good views (and photographs) of it can be obtained from the adjacent churchyard of St Mary and All Saints. This church is actually a fragment of the Augustinian Priory which was founded here in 1169 by Philip de Kyme. Although altered many times through the centuries, some parts of the present building date from the 14th century priory church which survived the Dissolution to become South Kyme's parish church.


Dave Start
Director, Heritage Lincolnshire



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