Sources for Longthorpe Tower

The following lists provide a summary of the main sources for our knowledge and understanding of Longthorpe Tower.

A drawing of about 1850 by the architect and antiquarian Edward Blore (1787–1879), showing Longthorpe tower and the gable end of the attached building much as they are now
A drawing of about 1850 by the architect and antiquarian Edward Blore (1787–1879), showing the tower and the gable end of the attached building much as they are now. The two bays to the right are much less carefully drawn and omit medieval features that survive today © British Library Board (Add MS 42017 fol 43)

Primary Written Sources

Unpublished

Documents held by English Heritage include:

  • Registry file AA043248B/3/PT1 [papers and correspondence June 1946–November 1964, largely covering initiation of guardianship]
  • Registry file AA043248B/3/PT1 [papers and correspondence January 1946–September 1968, largely covering works to the building and environs, including works to the wall paintings]
  • WPE 043248/001 [advisory file containing correspondence dating from 1964 to 1999, mostly concerning technical study and restoration of the paintings, including typescript report by Mrs KJ Barakan of 5 February 1981]
  • letter, Robert Taylor (RCHME) to Mr Walker, owner of the manor house, 16 June 1981 [in possession of Mr Marco Cereste].

Published

  • Calendar of the Fine Rolls of the Reign of Henry III : preserved in the National Archives, ed P Dryburgh, B Hartland et al (Woodbridge, 2007–9) [online at the Henry III Fine Rolls Project, accessed 7 July 2015]
  • Calendar of the Patent Rolls, Edward III, vol 15: 1370–1374 (London, 1914) [accessed 7 July 2015]
  • Mellows, WT (ed), Henry of Pytchley’s Book of Fees, Northamptonshire Record Society Publications 2 (Kettering, 1927) [for the two years ending 31 Dec 1924]
  • Raban, S (ed), The White Book of Peterborough: Registers of Abbot William of Woodford, 1295–99 and Abbot Godfrey of Crowland, 1299–1321, Northamptonshire Record Society Publications 41 (Northampton, 2001)
  • Raban, S (ed), The Accounts of Godfrey Crowland, Abbot of Peterborough 1299–1321, Northamptonshire Record Society Publications 45 (Peterborough, 2011)
  • Sparke, J (ed), Historiae Anglicanae Scriptores Varii e Codicibus Manuscriptis Nunc Primum Editi, 2 vols in 3 (London, 1723) [vol 2 includes Walter de Whytllseye’s ‘Historia Coenobii Burgensis’]
  • Stapleton, T (ed), Chronicon Petroburgense, Camden Society, 1st series, 47 (London, 1849) [accessed 7 July 2015].
Longthorpe tower viewed from the north west in 1951
The tower viewed from the north-west in 1951 © Historic England Archive

Visual Sources

British Library

    
Courtauld Institute

Holds images, published material, notes etc, accumulated over 30 years of collaborative research.
    

Historic England Archive

There are a number of Ministry of Works plans and drawings mostly relating to the repair and opening to the public of the tower in the late 1940s, and internal fittings of the 1980s, along with some rather unhelpful photogrammetric plots of the wall paintings. These include:

  • ‘Longthorpe Tower’ dated March 1948. Ink on linen. Unphased, labelled scale plans (1:48) of the tower at three levels and (what was then) the farmhouse at ground-floor level. Important in showing the east jamb of the medieval hall projecting from the west end, north side, of the farmhouse [MP/Lot 0003]
  • ‘Stairs to door at first-floor level’, dated April 1948. Tracing paper. One of several drawings showing designs for the existing timber stair for visitor access. No as-found drawings, made in advance of repair, are contained here. [MP/Lot 0004]

  • ‘Plan for reproduction’ dated June 1948. Ink on linen. Finely drawn and lettered. Prepared for first edition Ministry of Works guidebook [MP/Lot 0008]

  • ‘Details of doorways’ dated 16 July 1949. Includes section of tower; shows roof with medieval elements intact, but whether the drawing pre- or post-dates the repair is unclear [MP/Lot 0011].

There are also numerous photographs, mostly of the paintings. Among the most informative are:

  • roof carpentry of hall, below collar level (taken 1983) [BB99/13966]
  • roof carpentry of hall, above collar levels, showing mortice perhaps associated with a smoke louvre (taken 1983) [BB99/13968]

  • seven photographs of farm buildings surrounding the tower shortly after the end of agricultural use but before its environs were built over (taken 22 Aug 1973) [BB052015–BB052021]

  • photograph taken on 19 September 1951 showing the tower from the north-west, before stonework repairs [A1439/6; see above].

More details of these and other items can be found in the Historic England Archive online catalogue. Some material is not yet listed in the online catalogue; for a full search, please contact the enquiry service. Copies of images and documents can be ordered through the website or by contacting the archive. For details of current charges for these services see the archive price list.
    

Peterborough Museum

Peterborough Museum holds an uncatalogued collection of drawings and watercolours, including:

  • sepia drawing of the tower from the north-west, also showing the cross-wing gable; the tower windows appear to blocked (late 18th- or early 19th-century)
  • D Ambrose, watercolour, interior of top-floor room, showing doorway to stair (probably early 20th-century)
  • D Ambrose, watercolour, interior of top-floor room looking south, showing window embrasure and doorway to parapet walk (probably early 20th-century)
  • D Ambrose, watercolour, interior of first-floor room looking south. The walls are painted a uniform yellow. Shows what appears to be another medieval doorway in the cross-wing, seen through open door to tower chamber (probably early 20th-century)
  • D Ambrose, watercolour, interior of first-floor room looking west, showing window with leaded lights, and walls and vaulting ribs painted a uniform yellow (probably early 20th-century).

   
Society of Antiquaries of London

The scaled watercolour record made by E Clive Rouse when he uncovered the paintings in the 1940s are held by the Society of Antiquaries. The watercolours show detail that is difficult or impossible to see today. Many of them are reproduced in Rouse, EC and Baker, A, ‘The wall-paintings at Longthorpe Tower near Peterborough, Northants’, Archaeologia, 2nd series, 96 (1955), 1–57 [subscription required; accessed 7 July 2015] and a number are also reproduced in the English Heritage guidebook to the tower.

Published Secondary Sources

Alexander, J and Binski, P (eds), Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200–1400 (London, 1987)

Bailey, BA, Northamptonshire in the Early Eighteenth Century (Northampton, 1996)

Baxter, R, Bestiaries and Their Users in the Middle Ages (Stroud, 1998)

Bateson, M, ‘Longthorpe’, in Victoria County History: Northamptonshire, vol 2, ed RM Serjeantson et al (London, 1906), 456–60 [accessed 7 July 2015]

Bridges, J, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire … compiled by the Rev. Peter Whalley, 2 vols (Oxford, 1791)

Casagrande, G and Kleinhenz, C, ‘Literary and philosophical perspectives on the wheel of the five senses in Longthorpe Tower’,Traditio, 41 (1985), 311–27 [subscription required; accessed 7 July 2015]

Darby, HC, The Medieval Fenland (Cambridge, 1940)

Davies, J and Manning, T, ‘Wall painting condition audit, Longthorpe Tower, Cambridgeshire’, AML Reports (New Series), 25/1997, English Heritage (1997) [accessed 7 July 2015]

Dobson, RB, Durham Priory 1400–1450 (Cambridge, 1973)

Emery, A, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales, 1300–1500, 3 vols (Cambridge, 1996–2006)

Gaches, LB, History of the Liberty of Peterborough and the Jurisdiction of the Justices of Gaol Delivery for the Hundred of Nassaburgh (Peterborough, 1905) [accessed 7 July 2015]

Goodall, JAA, The English Castle (London, 2011)

Gotch, JA, The Old Halls and Manor Houses of Northamptonshire: An Illustrated Review (London, 1936)

Gunton, S, The History of the Church of Peterburgh by Symon Gunton, edited by Symon Patrick (London, 1686)

Herward, J and Taylor, R, The Country Houses of Northamptonshire (Swindon, 1996)

Howard, H, Pigments of Medieval Wall Painting (London, 2003)

Hudson Turner, T, Some Account of Domestic Architecture in England from the Conquest to the End of the Thirteenth Century (London, 1851) [accessed 7 July 2015]

Impey, E, Longthorpe Tower (English Heritage guidebook, London, 2014) [buy the guidebook]

Janson, HW, Apes and Ape Lore in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (London, 1952)

King, E, Peterborough Abbey 1086–1310: A Study in the Land Market (Cambridge, 1973)

Kinsey, R, ‘The location of commemoration in late medieval England: the case of the Thorpes of Northamptonshire’, in Memory and Commemoration in Medieval England, ed CM Barron and C Burgess (Donington, 2010)

Kinsey, R, ‘Each according to their degree: the lost brasses of the Thorpes of Northamptonshire’, Transactions of the Monumental Brass Society, 18:4 (2012), 311–33

Klingender, F, Animals in Art and Thought to the End of the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA, 1971)

Lancaster, O, Drayneflete Revealed (London, 1949)

Martin, JD, The Cartularies and Registers of Peterborough Abbey, Northamptonshire Record Society (Peterborough, 1978)

Mellows, WT (ed), Peterborough Local Administration: Parochial Government before the Reformation, Northamptonshire Record Society Publications 9 (Kettering, 1939)

Mellows, WT, Peterborough Local Administration: The Foundation of Peterborough Cathedral, AD 1541, Northamptonshire Record Society Publications 13 (London, 1941)

Munrow, D, Instruments of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (London, 1976)

Nordenfalk, C, ‘Les cinq sens dans l’art du Moyen Age’, Revue de l’Art, 34 (1976), 17–28 [see p 28]

Ogilvie, RM, ‘The Longthorpe murals’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 22 (1959), 361–2 [subscription required; accessed 7 July 2015]

Ormrod, WM, Edward III (New Haven and London, 2011)

Park, D, ‘Great chamber murals’, in Alexander and Binski, 249–50

Park, D, ‘Wall painting’, in Alexander and Binski, 125–30

Parker, JH, ‘Medieval houses near Peterborough’, Gentleman’s Magazine (June 1862), 677–87

Raban, S, ‘Lawyers retained by Peterborough Abbey in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries’, in Laws, Lawyers and Texts: Studies in Medieval Legal History in Honour of Paul Brand, ed S Jenks, J Rose and C Whittick (Leiden, 2012)

Rouse, EC, ‘Mediaeval paintings at Longthorpe Tower: a remarkable discovery’, Country Life, CI (4 April 1947), 604–8

Rouse, EC, Longthorpe Tower: Official Guide (HMSO, 1949; revised edns 1964 and English Heritage, 1987)

Rouse, EC and Baker, A, ‘The wall-paintings at Longthorpe Tower near Peterborough, Northants’, Archaeologia, 2nd series, 96 (1955), 1–57 [subscription required; accessed 7 July 2015]

Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, vol 2 (North), (London, 1913) [accessed 7 July 2015]

Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England), Peterborough New Town: A Survey of the Antiquities in the Areas of Development (London, 1969)

Sears, EL, The Ages of Man in Medieval Art (Ann Arbor, 1984)

Shenton, C, The Itinerary of Edward III and His Household, 1327–1345 (Kew, 2007)

Thornton, D, The Scholar in His Study: Ownership and Experience in Renaissance Italy (New Haven and London, 1997)

Tristram, EW, English Wall Painting of the Fourteenth Century (London, 1955)

Vinge, L, The Five Senses: Studies in a Literary Tradition, Acta Regiae Societatis Humaniorum Litterarum Lundensis (Lund, 1975), 48–53

Wilson, DM and Hurst, JG, ‘Medieval Britain in 1968’, Medieval Archaeology, 13 (1969), 273 [entry entitled ‘Longthorpe Tower’; accessed 7 July 2015]
Wood, ME, The English Medieval House (London, 1965)

Yapp, WB, ‘The birds and other animals of Longthorpe Tower’, Antiquaries Journal, 58 (1978), 355–8 [subscription required; accessed 7 July 2015]

Yun, B, ‘A visual mirror of princes: the wheel on the mural of Longthorpe Tower’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 70 (2007), 1–32 [subscription required; accessed 7 July 2015]

Unpublished Secondary Sources

Anon, ‘Longthorpe Tower: a report on the examination of the wall paintings, March–April 1995’, English Heritage and the Conservation of Wall Paintings Department, Courtauld Institute of Art, London (1995)

Anon, ‘Wall painting condition audit, English Heritage Wall Painting Section: Longthorpe Tower, Cambridgeshire’ (March 1996)

Barakan, K, ‘Longthorpe Tower, Cambridgeshire’, report WPE 043248/001, English Heritage Conservation Studio (5 February 1981)

Barakan, K, unpublished report, English Heritage Conservation Studio (17 June 1982)

Barakan, K, unpublished report, English Heritage Conservation Studio (12 August 1991)

Keevil, ME, unpublished report, English Heritage Conservation Studio (November 1965)

Kinsey, RC, ‘Legal service, careerism and social advancement in late medieval England: the Thorpes of Northamptonshire c 1200–1391’, unpublished PhD thesis (University of York, 2009)

Pinchart, C, ‘Longthorpe Tower. a report on the March 1995 fieldwork’, Courtauld Institute of Art (1995)

Welford, P, ‘An investigation into the phenomenon of dark flesh areas in English medieval wall paintings’, unpublished dissertation, Courtauld Institute of Art/Getty Conservation Institute Course in the Conservation of Wall Painting (1991)

Wong, L, ‘Documentation and condition survey of the wall paintings of Longthorpe Tower, Cambridgeshire, England, 20 March–7 April 1995: report for the Conservation of Wall Paintings Department’, Courtauld Institute of Art, London (1995)

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