The parish of Yateley in north Hampshire, is renowned for its natural resource of gravel. However, what is less well known is the prehistoric past hidden beneath the surface.
Fig 1 – Gravel extraction at Yateley CEMEX site
On May 23rd 1917, Mr John Pakenham Stilwell of Yateley wrote to the curator at Winchester Museum to find out if they would accept a “British funeral urn and bones” which he dug up in one of his fields whilst gardening. He described the urn as being of “very early date” and not having been “turned on a wheel.” (Stilwell 1917a)
He continued in a following letter on 30th May 1917 to explain that he was planting fruit trees on arable land known as Round Close when he came across the urn and its contents. They were discovered about 18 to 24 inches (600mm) from the surface where the soil was “a sandy gravel geologically described as Bagshot Sand.”
He concluded by saying “there was nothing of the kind found near the urn burial and no barrow nearer than that on Yateley Common on the Minley border of the parish, a mile away.” (Stilwell 1917b)
Fig 2 – Remains of Bronze Age bucket urn found at Round Close 1917 by J P Stilwell
The cinerary urn, resembling “a large Stilton cheese in shape and appearance.” (Stilwell UD, 8) was examined by archaeologist Stuart Piggott, who gave the dimensions of the base as eight and a quarter inches with just six inches of the sides remaining. The top of the urn was missing and he put this down to it being buried upright and subsequently damaged by ploughing (Piggott 1928, 71)
Fig 3 – Close up of label on cinerary urn presented by J P Stilwell 1917.
Stilwell came to live in Yateley in 1871. A successful banker, he had an interest in heritage and conservation, becoming a member of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society. (HFC 1904, ix). His then wife, Georgina Stevens, had inherited the large house called Hillfield and the family became one of the most prominent in Yateley during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Unfortunately, Hillfield House burnt down and was completely rebuilt, becoming known as Yateley Place. (Conservation Studio 2011, 3.2). That house too, no longer exists, being demolished in 1973 to make way for a housing estate. (Kerslake 1995, 5) The only remains visible of the original site is Skaters pond, formerly Hillfield pond, which lies on the east side of Cricket Hill. The pond used to be in the garden of Hillfield House.(Conservation Studio 2011, 3:2) and can be clearly seen as the Fish Pond in Fig 4 below:
Fig 4 -Map 1932 showing Yateley Place (formerly Hillfield) and Round Close with the site of the Bronze Age cinerary urn find of 1917. The gravel pit adjacent is marked to show where Bronze Age pottery was found in 1927 by Mr J P Stilwell.
John Stilwell continued to find more Bronze Age cremation pottery on his land. In 1927 a gravel pit, owned by him, to the west of Hillfield House yielded several pieces, the best preserved being a small vessel, probably for food, which was originally described as a small vase. Whilst it was common in the Middle Bronze Age for simple cremations to have no grave goods save the pot containing the ashes, we know on occasion a small Food Vessel might be present, which seems to be the case here (Spoilheap, 2017) Groups of cremations were placed in small cemeteries close to settlements. (Parker-Pearson 1999, 90) So we know there would have been a Bronze Age community living nearby.
The original museum exhibition label describing the finds is shown below.
Fig 5 – Winchester Museum label from 1928 for Bronze Age finds from Yateley
Fig 6 – Small Bronze Age pottery vessel found at Yateley gravel pit in 1927. Small pieces of flint grits can clearly be seen on the outside.
Fig 7 – Side view of the Bronze Age pottery vessel shown in Fig 6
There are also a number of sherds from a Bronze Age Collared Cinerary Urn which clearly shows its cord pattern. Stuart Piggott identified it as coarse gritted ware, brick red to black in colour with a probable diameter of 15 inches. (Piggott 1928, 71) Collared Urns are unique to the British Isles and not found anywhere on the Continent (Parker-Pearson 1999, 82) They were used for domestic as well as funerary purposes but it is still not fully known why the collar design originated. One idea is that it may have made it easier to secure an organic covering over the top whilst affixing it underneath the base. (Longworth 1984, 6)
Fig 8– Pieces of a Collared Cinerary Urn found at Yateley gravel pit 1927
Fig 9 -An example of a complete Bronze Age Collared Urn with similar pattern found at Wilsford in Wiltshire
The 1920s saw a number of other cremation finds at Yateley gravel pits. The Romano-British/Late Iron Age vessels shown below were found at a gravel pit owned by Mr J Patterson in Darby Green just east of Yateley. They became part of an exhibition at Reading Museum in 1928, along with Bronze Age cremation finds from the Moor Place gravel pit in Yateley.
Fig 10– Romano-British/Late Iron Age pottery vessels found at a gravel pit Darby Green in the 1920s ((c) Berkshire Archaeology Society)
Vessel 1 was found about two feet from the surface in 1928. It appears to have contained the cremated remains of an adult. Item 2 is a completely intact cinerary urn made of thin ware which would have contained the remains of a child. Items 3 and 4 are the partial remains of tazza form, tazza being the Italian for a shallow bowl on a mount. Item 5 is part of a cup of brownish-red ware with item 6 likely to be the lid of a cinerary urn. (Piggott 1928, 72-73)
The Ash-hole Field at Moulsham
Fig 11 – Map of Yateley (1932) showing Moor Place Farm in Moulsham along with the gravel pit
The most prolific quantity of cremation finds were made at the gravel pit at Moor Place Farm, Moulsham. Locally known as the Ash-hole field and subsequently the Urnfield, it all started on 22nd February 1926 when workmen opening up a new hole in the gravel pit came across three Bronze Age cinerary urns. Unfortunately, they were broken into pieces by their picks and thrown back into the gravel heap. A long piece of wood was also discovered which crumbled upon contact with the air. (Stilwell 1926, 83)) Mr English, who owned the pit, saw the urn sherds and took them to Reading Museum for identification. They were classifed as being of the Bronze Age from 1000-500BC.
Mr English kept three of the fragments; two were of ordinary grey earthenware, but the third was of a brown colour with a smoother surface with traces of indentation about two inches below the lip which formed a rough ornamentation. (Stilwell 1926, 83)
Examined in 1928 by archaeologist Stuart Piggott, the brown colour earthenware was described as more reddish. He interpreted this find as a late Bronze Age bucket urn. However, he acknowledged that it was also very like an early Iron Age Hallstatt type where bronze was still in use during a cross over period before iron became widespread. Piggott dated it to 700-600BC (Piggott 1928, 69)
N.B. These types of bucket urns are currently thought to be Middle Bronze Age and are now dated at 1700BC-1150BC. So, they could be more than 450 years older than first thought.
Fig 12 -The Urnfield site as seen from the end of Coombe Road. Looking towards the former site of Moor Place farm and the gravel pit.
The same workmen also came across a ‘domed underground cavity’ about four feet high, approached by three tunnels from different directions. There was a tree trunk on the floor. This may have been a burial place or dwelling. The workmen kept their spades and picks in the cavity! – then it was destroyed in order to extract gravel. (Stilwell 1926, 83)
Discoveries continued to be made by workmen digging at the pit. In December 1927 an artificial pit with burnt ashes was found. Unfortunately, the workmen dug right through it. They also found two pieces of the upper part of an urn and a few plain sherds (Piggott 1928, 70). In 1928, the base of very large cinerary urn was found, made of coarse pottery, and nearly 12 inches in diameter. Other pieces may have been there too, but were probably discarded or broken up by workmen. (Piggott 1928, 70)
From 1928 to 1936 a further 30 Late Bronze Age bucket urns were discovered during gravel extraction on this site and the opposite side of the road. There is also evidence for a settlement in the area with loom weights and Roman pottery being found(HCC 1996, 6)
The Urnfield Excavation
Local residents and councillors for many years have fought against housing development on this piece of land. However, in October 2017, following a successful planning application by Bellway Homes to build 150 dwellings, Cotswold Archaeology began an archaeological evaluation of the land.
With so many prehistoric finds having been made in the past, it was expected that this dig could prove to be very fruitful. Forty-one trenches were dug, each 30m long and 1.8m wide. However, the former gravel pit was not part of the excavation.
The outcome was very disappointing with only one sherd of probable prehistoric pottery found and a few pieces of discarded burnt flint. It is interesting to note that “The majority of the archaeological evidence from the evaluation consisted of ditches, pits and postholes from which no dating evidence was recovered. Where dating evidence was recovered it dated to the medieval period.” (25)
Conservation Studio, 2011. Cricket Hill Conservation area character appraisal and management proposal available online at https://www.hart.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2_Businesses/Planning_for_businesses/Conservation_and_listed_buildings/Cricket%20Hill.pdf
HCC, 1996. An Archaeological assessment of Land at Yateley Hampshire Hampshire County Council Countryside Planning and Management publication held at Historic Environment Record
HFC, 1904. Hampshire Field Club Members list available online at http://www.hantsfieldclub.org.uk/publications/hampshirestudies/digital/1900s/Vol_5/Prelims&other_pt1.pdf: 1-14
Kennedy, R 2017. Land off Moulsham Lane, Yateley, Archaeological Evaluation, Cotswold Archaeology report available online at www.yateleysociety.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Archaeological-WIS.pdf accessed 5/1/2018
Kerslake, V. 1995. Stilwelliana, The Yateley Society Newsletter, June, No 59: 5-6
Longworth, I. 1984. Collared Urns: Of the Bronze Age in Great Britain and Ireland (Gulbenkian Archaeological Series), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Parker-Pearson, M.1999. The Earlier Bronze Age in The Archaeology of Britain: An Introduction from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Industrial Revolution (eds.) John Hunter and Ian Ralston, London: Routledge
Piggott, S. 1928. Bronze Age and late Celtic burials from Yateley Hants. Berks, Bucks and Oxon Archaeol Journ 32: 69-73 available online from Archaeology Data Service at http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-787-1/dissemination/pdf/BAJ032_PDFs/BAJ032_A10_piggott.pdf
Spoilheap Archaeology. 2017. Introduction to burial archaeology, Spoilheap archaeology http://www.spoilheap.co.uk/burial.htm accessed 5/12/2018
Stilwell, G H. UD The History of Yateley, C T Hunt Ltd: Crowthorne
Stilwell, G H. 1926. Find of Ancient Pottery at Yateley in Hants Field Club Proceedings (ed.) Volume 10 Southampton: Gilbert and Son
Stilwell, J.P. 1917a Letter 23/5/17 to Winchester Museum held in Hampshire Cultural Trust Winchester City Collections archive at Chilcomb House Winchester. Accession No. WINCM.ARCH 33.00.1-5 and 33.00.2
Stilwell, J.P. 1917b Letter 30/5/17 to Sir Thomas Holt at the Guildhall Winchester held in Hampshire Cultural Trust Winchester City Collections archive at Chilcomb House Winchester. Accession No. WINCM.ARCH 33.00.1-5 and 33.00.2
Fig 1 – Yateley gravel works (CEMEX site) Diane Sambrook reproduced under creative commons licence available on line at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yateley_gravel_works.jpg accessed 5/1/2018
Fig 2 – Remains of bronze age bucket urn found at Round Close 1917 by J P Stilwell photo copyright L Munday- Hampshire Cultural Trust Accession No. WINCM: ARCH 33:00:2
Fig 3 – Close up of label on bronze age bucket urn photo copyright Linda Munday – Hampshire Cultural Trust Accession No.WINCM:ARCH 33:00:2
Fig 4 – Ordnance survey six- inch Berkshire XLIX.NE (includes: Hawley; Sandhurst; Yateley.) Revised: 1930 Published: 1932 online http://maps.nls.uk/view/97793608 accessed 31/12/2017
Fig 5 – Winchester Museum label from 1928 for bronze age finds from Yateley photo copyright Linda Munday – held in Winchester collections archive at Hampshire Cultural Trust, Chilcomb House, Winchester Accession No. WINCM: ARCH 33.00.1
Fig 6 – Small bronze age pottery vessel found at Yateley gravel pit in 1927. Photo copyright Linda Munday Hampshire Cultural Trust accession no. WINCM: ARCH 33.00.1. 1-5
Fig 7 – Side view of the bronze age pottery vessel shown in fig 6. Photo copyright Linda Munday Hampshire Cultural Trust accession no. WINCM: ARCH 33.00.1. 1-5
Fig 8– Pieces of a collared cinerary urn found at Yateley gravel pit 1927 photo copyright Linda Munday Hampshire Cultural Trust accession no. WINCM: ARCH 33.00.1. 1-5
Fig 9 -An example of a complete bronze age collared urn with similar pattern found at Wilsford in Wiltshire picture http://greywolf.druidry.co.uk/2015/03/bronze-age-clay-drums/ accessed 5/1/2018
Fig 10– Romano-British/Late iron age Pottery vessels found at a gravel pit Darby Green in the 1920’s (Copyright Berkshire Archaeology Society) accessed via Piggott, S. 1928. Bronze age and late Celtic burials from Yateley Hants. Berkshire, Bucks and Oxon Archaeological Journal No.32: 69-73 available online from Archaeology Data Service at http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-787-1/dissemination/pdf/BAJ032_PDFs/BAJ032_A10_piggott.pdf
Fig 11 – Berkshire XLV1.SE(includes Crowthorne; Finchampstead; Sandhurst; Wokingham without; Yateley.) Revised:1930 Published 1933. OS Six—inch England and Wales http://maps.nls.uk/view/97793404 accessed online 8/1/2018
Fig 12 -The Urnfield site as seen from the end of Coombe Road. Looking towards the former site of Moor Place farm and the gravel pit courtesy of google maps.
Greywell is a small village located near Odiham. Its name translates as the ‘badgers’ spring or stream’. The village was not individually mentioned in the Domesday book because it was probably included under Odiham but seems to have been a small agricultural community dating back to Saxon times (Hart D C, 2009). It was formerly known as Graiewella and Graiwell in the 7th and 8th centuries respectively. (Page 1911, 76)
Greywell’s population seems to have been at its peak in medieval times with approximately 405 people recorded as living there in 1347. This however, was followed by a sharp drop to 220 by 1450. It has therefore been suggested that this is a “shrunken village” which would have in the past been much larger. (Hart D C , 2009) There are certainly a number of bumps in the field to the south of the main thoroughfare called The Street, These have recently been interpreted as the remains of long lost medieval buildings. Pointing to this is the fact that there are only buildings on the north side of The Street with the south side looking across open fields which lead down to the church and the River Whitewater. (NEHHAS, 2017)
In July 2011, a walk around Greywell village was organised by NEHHAS for the Council of British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology. Members from the Berkshire Archaeology Research Group (BARG) also took part in the walk which highlighted some “interesting features” in the field locally known as Walk Meadow. (Sensicall and Wright 2011, 1)
Fig 1 – The Street, Greywell with Walk Meadow located to the left
Further research conducted following the walk highlighted a need for further investigation of the site. “Distinct rectilinear parch marks” were visible on an aerial photo of the field and historical evidence was found showing that a manor house once stood in the area. (NEHHAS 2017)
Fig 2 – Aerial view 2010 of site showing crop marks courtesy of NEHHAS
Subsequently, the following July, 2012 field walking took place as well as a magnetometer and resistivity survey of the area which was conducted jointly with the help of Berkshire Archaeology Research Group (BARG). The results from the resistivity survey were the clearest with a map shown below. The interpretation given for the results were that the survey was possibly highlighting the layout of a formal garden as opposed to the remains of the manor house. (HFC 2012, 8))
Fig 3- Resistivity survey 2012 of Walk Meadow showing possible remains of formal garden
It is thought that the manor house may have overlooked this formal garden (parterre garden) and was possibly itself located to the West. Several Tudor bricks are visible alongside Walk Meadow with its boundary to The Street. (NEHHAS 2017)
Fig 4- Tracing of possible garden over resistivity results
In June 2014, more survey work was undertaken by NEHHAS and BARG in the field next to Walk Meadow and adjacent to the church called Beverton Meadow. This was an attempt to prove that there was originally a medieval settlement around the church. The church itself is 12th century but there are records that show that there was a church in the 1086 Domesday book. However, there was no evidence of any buildings on the site with just the outline of paths and tracks visible. (NEHHAS 2017)
Figure 5– Map showing the site of geophysical surveys in Walk and Beverton Meadow.
Greywell has thirty-one listed buildings including those dating from the Tudor era such as the 16th century Malt House, a long timber framed two storey house which dominates The Street. The wisteria creeper adorning its exterior is said to be about 150 years old.
Figure 6 – The Malt House, Greywell
To find out more about Tudor Hampshire click on the link below:
Hart District Council (2009) Greywell Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Proposals
HFC -Hampshire Field Club and Archaeology Society (2012) Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report available online at www.hantsfieldclub.org.uk/hampshire-archaeology-report-2012-districts.pdf accessed 5/1/2018
NEHHAS (2017) The Greywell Survey available online at http://www.nehhas.com/greywell.html accessed 5/12/2017
Page W (1911) Parishes, Greywell or Grewell, A History of the County of Hampshire Vol 4 ed. London: Victoria County History available online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol4/pp76-79 accessed
Sensicall, B and Wright, T (2012) Archaeological Surveys at Greywell, Hampshire
Figure 1 – Walk Meadow field in The Street Greywell photograph by LMunday 23/8/17
Figure 2 – Aerial view 2010 of site showing crop marks courtesy of NEHHAS
Figure 3 – Resistivity map courtesy of Tony Groves and NEHHAS
Figure 4 – Tracing of possible garden over resistivity results courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
Figure 5 Map showing Walk Meadow and Beverton Meadow under Digimap Licence
Figure 6 The Malt House Greywell photography by L Munday 23/8/17
“I am Adam de Gordon, a noble free; Perchance thou hast heard my name. “I have heard it, I trow (quoth the prince), and thou Art a traitor of blackest fame. Yield thee to me!” But the outlaw cried, “Now, if thou knowest not fear, Out with thy sword! by a good knight’s word, I will give thee battle here.”
Excerpt from The Prince and the Outlaw by Menella Bute Smedley (1855)
Hidden away deep in the Crondall countryside in Hampshire lies an area of dense woodland just to the right of a public footpath. To anyone out walking, you may be forgiven for walking straight past not noticing anything special. However, within this tree laden wood lies the remains of the medieval castle of Barley Pound, once the hideout of the famous 13th century Hampshire outlaw, Adam de Gurdon (Williams-Freeman 1915, 307)
Figure 1 Barley Pound and Powderham Castle from the air © Getmapping Plc Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right 2017
Adam de Gourdon was a nobleman, the Lord of Selborne and Bailiff of Alton. He became an outlaw after being disinherited of his land by King Henry III. (Hampshire History 2017) He had sided with Simon de Montfort and other barons in challenging the power of the king and his son Prince Edward. King Henry along with his predecessor, King John, had scant regard for the agreements made with parliament over the extent of the monarch’s powers. King John had put his seal to the Magna Carta, to which he then failed to adhere and Henry III also had disagreements with barons over his failure to abide by measures which would see his powers kept in check. (Battle of Evesham 2017)
By 1264, there was a civil war with supporters of the baron, Simon de Montfort, capturing the king and his son Edward. They were held prisoner whilst parliament tried to enforce its will over the King. Unfortunately, the king and his son escaped and Simon de Montfort was killed in battle at Evesham by the king’s army. When the King resumed power, Simon de Montfort’s son and other barons and knights, including Adam de Gourdon, continued fighting against him and his supporters. (Battle of Evesham 2017) It was from the castle of Barley Pound and the two surrounding siege castles of Powderham and Bentley that he made his raids on unsuspecting passers-by (Williams-Freeman 1915,307). We know that he seized the ancient mill at Hawkley, near Petersfield from the Bishop of Winchester some miles east but gave it back to Edward 1 in 1280 (Hampshire History 2017).
In 1266, Prince Edward himself decided to ride out to confront Adam de Gourdon. We know that he happened upon him in a wood somewhere near Alton and a fight ensued. Prince Edward was the victor but he refrained from killing Adam de Gourdon and instead showed mercy. He took him back to the royal court to meet with the King and Queen to ask for his life. (Cassells 1865, 296) The poem The Prince and the Outlaw by 19th century poet Menella Bute Smedley eloquently continues with the story:
Figure 2: Adam de Gurdon presented to the Queen – The English School
“Prince Edward hath brought him to Guilford Tower, Ere that summer’s day is o’er; He hath led him in to the secret bower ,Of his fair wife Alianore; His mother, the lady of gay Provence, And his sire, the king, were there; Oh, scarcely the Gordon dared advance In a presence so stately and fair……. My children, arise!” the old king said, And a tear was in his eye; He laid his hand on each bright young head, And he bless’d them fervently. “With a joyful heart I grant your prayer, And I bid the Gordon live.”
Excerpt from “The Prince and the Outlaw”- Menella Bute Smedley 1855
Barley Pound and the siege castles
As well as the castle at Barley Pound, there were also two other medieval castles close by, Powderham and Bentley. Barley Pound was by far the largest and was previously thought to be a Roman amphitheatre. It was marked as such on 19th century county maps with Powderham marked as Roman encampment. Contemporary ordnance survey maps correctly describe Barley Pound and Powderham as a Ring and Bailey and Motte respectively. Bentley Castle, not even shown on earlier maps, is now simply noted as an earthwork with its name unofficially bestowed by archaeologists excavating the site in the 1980’s (Stamper 1984, 81).
Figure 3- Map from 1870 showing Barley Pound Castle as a “Supposed Roman Amphitheatre “ and Powderham Castle as a “Roman Intrenchment.”
In 1915, Williams-Freeman author of An introduction to Field Archaeology as illustrated by Hampshire, describes Barley Pound as one of the best examples of a ring and bailey fortress in the county (Williams-Freeman 1915, 306). It is one of his highlights on his walking trail from Alton to Basingstoke – one of several routes he devised to take you around the defensive earthworks of the county.
Today the site occupies a densely wooded area and it’s hard to make out anything of the structure itself. When I visited it recently it was difficult to get into the woodland due to fallen trees and branches. It had quite an eerie feel to it. It’s off the beaten track and feels isolated even though there is a public footpath running adjacent to it. In Williams- Freeman’s day he also encountered the same overgrowth problem but said he could still recognise its features. He described it as having “a roughly circular shell keep at the south- eastern corner of the wood with an inner bailey on the south-west bounded by a bank about 7 feet high and 11 feet above the bottom of its ditch” (Williams-Freeman 1915, 306-307)
Figure 4 -Map showing the defensive outlines of all three medieval castles.
Just further up on the other side of the track from Barley Pound castle is Barley Pound farm. In the field behind stood the famous Barley Pound Roman villa. This accounts for both Barley Pound and Powderham medieval castles being originally mistaken for Roman features. The views in this area are incredible; you can see for miles and it makes good sense to have a castle here. As Williams-Freeman writes “It commands a view of the whole country to the north, from Hungry Hill over Aldershot to the Chobham ridges and to the north-west as far as the Chiltern Hills (Williams-Freeman 1915, 306)
In the 1930’s Powderham Castle was found in the grounds of the County Council school now a private home. It was considered to resemble a Roman watch tower even though it was considered at the time to be a medieval motte. The Hampshire Field Club Proceedings of 1932 says that “no Roman watch tower has yet been recognised in this part of England and the position is admirably suited for a signal station.” (Williams-Freeman 1932, 309) The Surrey Archaeological Society obtained permission from the council to undertake an excavation. Several finds were made from the bottom of the ditch including fragments of a large earthenware vessel thought to be Norman. (Williams-Freeman 1934, 308-309)
From the 11th century onwards, ninety nine percent of all warfare involving laying siege to a castle. (Bradbury 1992, 73) There was a complex process of advance and withdraw involved. Firstly, you had to challenge your opponent, advancing towards one of his strongholds, usually a castle, and besieging it. But what did that actually involve? Well it meant having an army of men first attack the surrounding town or village and then attack the castle. There would be constant firing without let up of arrows and stone shot. Other things may also be fired at the castle including dead animals, dung and even human heads! (Bradbury 1992, 257)
If that didn’t lead to surrender, then a blockade of the castle would ensue. Free movement of people along with the delivery of food and water supplies would be prevented. It was then a case of starving people into submission. (Bradbury 1992, 81) However, things may not go as planned. The lord of the castle may decide to send troops from other areas or his allies to fight you. Hence the need to build a counter-castle or siege castle for your own protection. (Bradbury 1992, 86-87) The siege castles obviously needed to be built fast. We know that both Bentley and Powderham siege castles were constructed quickly. Both of them having very low mottes (a mound surrounded by a ditch which supported the stronghold on top) only 1.2 metres off the ground (Kenyon 1990, 10, Stamper 1984, 85)
Excavations at Bentley Castle – a siege castle to Barley Pound
In 1979 archaeologist Paul Stamper commenced an excavation of Bentley Castle, a name unofficially given to the earthwork by the excavators. The site had been identified back in 1956 but this was the first time it had been excavated. The purpose of the dig was to establish the fortification type. Previously, it had been thought to be a ring and baily fortification. However, the conclusion was that it was definitely a Motte and Bailey. (Stamper 1984, 85) This is a mound encircled by a ditch with an enclosure. (Kenyon 1990,3) The enclosure is thought to be in this case for the pitched encampment who were besieging Barley Pound Ring and Bailey. A large amount of Roman pottery was found during the dig which is of no surprise due to the close vicinity of Barley Pound Villa. There were also a few medieval pottery sherds found. (Stamper 1984, 85-89)
To see photos and more information about the excavation go to this link below:
Is Barley Pound Castle the mysterious Lidelea Castle of the Gesta Stephani?
In the 12th century history book, Gesta Stephani, Lidelea Castle is mentioned as being captured by King Stephen in 1147. However, we are told very little about its location. We know it belonged to Henri de Blois, Bishop of Winchester and brother of King Stephen, and was used to protect church lands from plunder. It was taken over by an enemy of the king, a compatriot of Brien Fitz Count, who “stripped the bishop’s land and possessions by grievous pillaging.” (Stamper 1984, 81) The bishop in response to this gathered a large garrison of men together who quickly built two siege castles to surround Lidelea to “reduce the besieged to the extremity of hunger.” (King and Renn 1971, 301) The Earl of Gloucester tried to rescue those in the castle by bringing a huge army of men to destroy the Bishop’s siege castles and get food to the besieged. However, King Stephen getting wind of this from the Bishop of Winchester, promptly arrived on the scene with his soldiers and the Earl with his army fled. The castle promptly surrendered and was returned to the Bishop of Winchester. (King and Renn 1971, 301)
Figure 5 – Barley Pound from public footpath
Figure 6 – Inside the heavily overgrown Barley Pound
There has never been a place recorded in England by the name of Lidelea. Suggestions have, therefore, been made that the name was misheard during aural transmission. it was in fact meant to be Beddelie, a small holding recorded by the Bishops of Winchester in their very large manor of Crondall. The name Beddelie is very similar to the word Badly with Badly Pound being the previously known name of what is nowadays known as Barley Pound (King and Renn 1971, 301
The fact that the Gesta Stephani mentions two siege castles fits in perfectly with the circumstances in which we find Barley Pound Castle, a large castle surrounded by two much smaller ones. Since 1971 no challenge has been made to the idea that Lidelea is in fact Barley Pound Castle and the excavation of Bentley Castle further supported the theory with the castle motte being higher facing north towards Barley Pound castle. (Stamper 1984, 81)
Battle of Evesham, 2017. History http://www.battleofevesham.co.uk/The_Battle/History.html (Accessed 20/10/17)
Bradbury, J. 1992 The Medieval Siege, Woodbridge, Boydell Press available at Hampshire Cultural Trust Archaeology Collections Library Accession no. A2009.33.1281 C3
Bute Smedley M, 2017, The Prince and The Outlaw – Poem, www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-prince-and-the-outlaw/ (accessed 20/10/17)
Cassells, J. 1865 Illustrated History of England Volume 1 available online at https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Cassell%27s_Illustrated_History_of_England/Volume_1/Chapter_56
Hampshire History, 2017 Sir Adam de Gurdon, knight turned outlaw, turned knight again www.hampshire-history.com/sir-adam-de-gurdon accessed 11/11/2017
Kenyon, J.R. 1990. Medieval Fortifications. London: Continuum
King, D. and Renn, D. 1971. Lidelea Castle—A Suggested Identification, The Antiquaries Journal volume 51, issue 2 September 1971: 301-303
Stamper, P.A. 1984 Excavations on a Mid Twelfth Century Siege Castle at Bentley, Hampshire in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeology Society Volume 40: 81-89 available at Hampshire Cultural Trust Archaeology Collections Library Accession no. B1989.620.126 and online at http://www.hantsfieldclub.org.uk/publications/hampshirestudies/digital/1980s/vol40/Stamper.pdf
Williams-Freeman, J. P. 1915 An introduction to Field Archaeology as illustrated by Hampshire, London: MacMillan &Co available at Hampshire Cultural Trust Archaeology Collections Library Accession no. A2009.33.1196 B5
Williams-Freeman, J.P. 1934 Report on Field Archaeology 1932-33 in F N Davis (ed.) Papers and Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, Southampton: Gilbert and son
Figure 1 – Aerial map of Barley Pound and Powderham Castle © Getmapping Plc Contains OS data © Crown copyright and database right 2017 (used under Digimap Licence for educational use)
Figure 2 – Prince Edward introducing Adam de Gourdon to the Queen by The English School available online at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/prince-edward-introducing-adam-gourdon-to-the-queen-english-school.html accessed 8/12/2017
Figure 3 – Map from 1870 showing Barley Pound Castle as a “Supposed Roman Amphitheatre “and Powderham as a “Roman intrenchment” Surrey XXIX (includes: Bentley; Crondall; Froyle; Long Sutton.) Surveyed: 1870 to 1872 Published: 1873 to 1875 http://maps.nls.uk/view/102352864 accessed 12/12/2017
Figure 4 – Map showing the defensive outlines of all three medieval castles courtesy of Paul Stamper
Figure 5 – Barley Pound Copse from footpath photography © Linda Munday 23/8/17
Figure 6 – Inside Barley Pound Copse photography © Linda Munday 23/8/17
The Grove Jacobean Manor House
Heckfield Place is a grand country house set in 200 acres of wooded parkland on the banks of the River Whitewater in Hampshire. It was built by wealthy businessman, John Lefevre in 1790 for his daughter Helena. However, when he purchased the land in 1785, it was another house nearby that took pride of place in Heckfield parish; the Jacobean manor house called The Grove. Lost in 1818 due to demolition, the house stood just 500 metres to the northwest of Heckfield Place, being located between Church Lodge and Reading Lodge. (Historic England, 2017)
The First Excavation
In 1990 after conducting field walking and other research into The Grove site, North East Hampshire Historical and Archaeological Society (NEHHAS) decided to undertake excavations. These took place between 21st February and the 12th May 1990, after the site had been cleared and a Resistivity survey undertaken. (Hoare 1990, 69) A Resistivity survey can be useful when trying to locate structural remains of buildings and involves measuring the electrical resistance of soil. Built features such as walls are usually more resistant to moisture and so show up differently to more natural features.
Two areas were marked out on the ground where there was abundant evidence of surface building material. Each of these areas were 15 metres long by 10 metres wide and designated as trench 1 and trench 2. The trenches were divided up into 2 metre squares and excavated according to the density of surface building material. Trench 1 had a larger concentration of rubble and yielded significant finds. It was subsequently extended from 10 metres to 14 metres wide. (Hoare 1990,69)
In Trench 1, an area was located containing a culvert or drainage tunnel. This is where a large amount of 18th century china and pottery had been deposited. The excavation of this area also uncovered the floor and walls of what could be interpreted as a cistern or cess pit. However, no organic matter was found in the area. (Hoare 1990, 69)
Fig 1. Clearing out of the culvert just before pottery find – courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
In trench 1, a possible cellar was also located with a clay floor, brick walls and a brick lined drain (Fig 2) Another excavated area in the same trench contained a well – sited next to the substantial structural wall of the house. This was surrounded by an external brick covered drain. (Fig 3)
Fig 2 Cellar with brick lined drain. Photo courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
Fig 3 – Well located next to structural wall of house. Photo courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
The smaller trench number 2 contained a possible garden feature. This consisted of “a pit that had originally had a barrel lining, a small brick walled structure and a path or remains of a channel surface with clay roofing tiles and partially edged with loose and unmortared brick.” (Hoare 1990, 69)
Further Excavations 1990-1996
Further annual excavations of the site took place. The site plan below shows the layout of the site and excavations dating from 1990-96.
Fig 4 – Plan showing excavations at The Grove 1990-1996 courtesy of NEHHAS
In 1997 it was decided to investigate feature 37 on the plan in fig 4. This was the projected course of the culvert which fed into cellar 1. There were also investigations to see if there was any physical connection between cellars 1 and 2.
The results of the excavation found that the south end of cellar 1 had a drain running into the culvert. There was a sump where two bottle seals ‘Jacob Hatt 1734’ were found along with “evidence of a raised stone flag floor” (Hoare 1997, 21) Something of a surprise, was the discovery of sprouting horse chestnuts found 1.5 metres underground! These were probably connected to rabbit burrows found in the cellar.
A connection was found between cellar 1 and 2. A passageway with a drain was discovered between them. (Hoare 1997, 21)
18th Century China and Pottery
A Hampshire County Museum Service report on the finds from the culvert, records thirty-eight separate pieces of mainly 18th century china and pottery including a 19th century brown stoneware ink bottle (Macfarlane 1990 1-4). In addition, several brown bottles were also recovered from a trench on the excavation site.
The 18th century china and pottery were predominantly Creamware and Staffordshire Willow pattern (Macfarlane 1990, 1). English willow patterns such as Staffordshire were based on original designs found on Chinese porcelain. The pattern generally consisted of a Chinese landscape scene with a willow tree in the centre. There were usually two ornate buildings, a bridge with people walking across it and a boatman on the water. Often two doves were shown flying across the centre. This imitation of Chinese design became known as chinoiserie. It has been said that the Willow Pattern was a fantasy image of China which sought to enforce a stereotypical view of it as a backward country which refused to move with the times. (Portanova 2007, 10)
Blue and white porcelain had been imported in vast quantities from China to northern Europe from the 17th century and being very popular it was natural for it to be imitated (Portanova 2007, 2). Depending on your income, most middle and upper- class homes had by the late 18th century a variety of chinoiserie in their home whether imported from China or imitations made in Europe. Production in England commenced in the late 18th century (Portanova 2007, 1)
Creamware was a highly refined cream coloured earthenware originally produced by Josiah Wedgewood from 1740. It was covered in a vivid, rich glaze and was particularly popular due to its moderate price. It was also very versatile and looked good either left plain or decorated. It could be used as everyday ware as well as for special items(Wedgewood 2017). The creamware from the find at The Grove was slightly crazed so probably not produced by Wedgewood but likely made at a nearby factory (McFarlane 1990, 4).
Figure 5 – Finds from the Heckfield excavation picture courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
The oriental style was so important in the 18th century that Chinese design was everywhere including in interior design. A good example being the Brighton Pavillion which had a largely chinoiserie designed interior (Portanova 2007, 4).
There were three chamber pots discovered alongside another very interesting item called a Bourdalou(e). This could be described as an 18th century portable chamber pot for female use. The design is of a chinoiserie landscape with a pagoda and a moth border made by John Davenport of Longport in Staffordshire. With the death of Wedgewood in 1795, John Davenport became the most important producer of china in the Stoke area. (Macfarlane 1990, 6)
Figure 6 – Bordaloue made by John Davenport found during The Grove excavations (courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS)
The term Bourdalou or Bourdaloue is said to have come from the name of a French Jesuit priest called Père Louis Bourdaloue. He apparently gave such lengthy sermons when preaching at the court of King Louis XIV, that ladies in attendance asked for a portable chamber pot to be supplied to relieve themselves without leaving court. Maids would be on hand to remove the vessel for emptying. Of course, it is important to remember that in the 18th century women did not wear knickers as they had not yet been invented and there were no public toilets! (Getty Museum 2017)
This urinal pot, resembling a gravy boat, was designed to be used by a lady whilst standing. An explicit painting circa 1760 by Francois Boucher called “La Toilette Intime (Une femme qui pisse)” or in English “The intimate Toilette” or “A woman who pees” clearly shows one in use.
Fig 7 – “La Toilette Intime (Une femme qui Pisse)” Boucher 1760
After the finds were analysed by Hampshire County Museum Service, a report was compiled and everything was returned to the landowner. A digital copy of the report can be obtained from Hampshire Cultural Trust, Collections (Archaeology), chilcomb House, Winchester.
Further excavations 1997- 2001
In 1997 the passageway joining cellar 1 and 2 together was excavated further to make sure there was a definite connection. Evidence was found to confirm that the base of two drains in cellar 2 converged on the passageway that linked to the drain in cellar 1 (Hoare 1998, 36).
An access stairway in cellar 2 was also excavated with a large number bottle bases and necks being found. The foundations of a Tudor fireplace with hearth were also discovered (Hoare 1998,36)
In 2001, NEHHAS returned to the site of the Grove to conduct further excavation work. Work again took place on the culvert, the site of the pottery finds, and it was found to veer slightly north. It appeared to get deeper rather than coming up to the surface as expected and was observed at one point with a tile floor. (HFC 2003,2)
Further excavations north of the original site yielded finds of bronze age pottery sherds and iron age slag. The pottery was dated to the late bronze age/early iron age (HFC 2003, 2). It is thought that the slag comes from the middle iron age and was probably produced from iron ore production. (Dungworth 2007, 8) Iron working is known within the area at nearby Risely Farm dating to the Late Iron Age and the Early Roman period. An unidentified linear feature was also discovered running east to west as well as a semi-circle of stake holes (Hampshire Environment Record No 51294)
An examination was made of the Iron Age slag and a report compiled by English Heritage in 2007 which can be accessed below:
For more information about the work of NEHHAS go to their web site http://www.nehhas.com/
Dungworth, D. (2007) Heckfield, Hampshire: An Examination of Middle Iron Age Iron Smelting Slags English Heritage Report number: 104/2007 available online at: http://research.historicengland.org.uk/Report.aspx?i=14615&ru=%2fResults.aspx%3fp%3d1%26n%3d10%26t%3dheckfield%26ns%3d1 accessed 12/12/17
HFC (2003) Heckfield 2002 based on a report by Richard Whaley Hampshire Field Club Newsletter No.39 Spring: 2-3
Historic England (2017) Heckfield Place List Entry Summary available online at https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1001379
Hoare, G.S. (1990) Heckfield, The Grove in M Hughes (ed.) Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report: 69-70
Hoare, G.S. (1997) Heckfield in B Howard (ed.) Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report:21
Hoare, G.S. (1998) The Grove Heckfield, in A Purdy and D Hopkins (eds.) Archaeology in Hampshire Annual Report: 36
Getty Museum( 2017) Chamber Pot (Bourdaloue) The J. P. Getty Museum available online at http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/5724/chantilly-porcelain-manufactory-chamber-pot-bourdaloue-french-about-1740/ 12/12/2017
Macfarlane, M (1990) Hampshire County Museum Service Pottery report from The Grove excavation available at Hampshire Cultural Trust, Archaeology Collections, Chilcomb House, Winchester
Portanova, J. (2007 ) Porcelain, The Willow Pattern, and Chinoiserie, New York, New York University accessed online 19/10/17 at http://www.nyu.edu/projects/mediamosaic/madeinchina/pdf/Portanova.pdf
Wedgewood Museum (2017) Queen’s Ware, Wedgewood Museum available on line at http://www.wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk/learning/discovery_packs/pack/lives-of-the-wedgwoods/chapter/queens-ware 12/12/17
Figure 1 – Clearing out the culvert – Heckfield Excavation 1990 photo courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
Figure 2 – Cellar with drain – Heckfield Excavation 1990 photo courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
Figure 3 – Well located next to house’s structural wall Heckfield Excavation 1990 photo courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
Figure 4 – Plan of excavations at the Grove from The Archaeology of Hampshire Annual Report 1996 pg 17 courtesy of NEHHAS.
Figure 5 – A display of the finds from the 1990 Heckfield excavation courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
Figure 6 – Bourdaloue found at Heckfield excavation 1990 photo courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS
Figure 7- Francois Boucher painting 1760 “La Toilette Intime (Une femme qui Pisse)” available online open source.
An occasional series looking at Hampshire digs large and small; Yateley and Otterbourne – two medieval churches.
In May 1979, an act of arson resulted in the destruction of much of the ancient fabric of St Peter’s church at Yateley, near Crondall. It was possible to save only the 15th century timber-framed tower, the 13th century chancel walls and the north wall of the nave, the oldest part of the church structure.
During routine repairs in 1952 a small, blocked, round-headed double-splayed window had been discovered, indicating a pre-Norman date for the original nave. The remains of Anglo-Saxon churches are rarely found in north-east Hampshire so it is intriguing that an ecclesiastical pre-Conquest stone building existed in an area which the Domesday Book revealed to be the poorest and least-populated of the county. At that time, the Bishop of Winchester held the Crondall estate, and Yateley may have been part of this.
Following the arson attack, and before the rebuild, the University of Southampton recorded the standing Anglo-Saxon north wall. Faint traces of probable medieval painting were found on the plastered sides of the formerly blocked window. Very small-scale archaeological investigations were carried out inside the south side of the nave. No internal floor levels survived below the Victorian wooden joists but it was found that the octagonal pillars of the now demolished 14th century south aisle rested on the footings of the south wall of the original Anglo-Saxon nave.
Whereas the church at Yateley has been rebuilt and its timber-framed tower restored, the old church at Otterbourne suffered a more lasting fate. Its 12th century nave was demolished soon after 1839, when the nearby present-day church (St Matthew’s) was consecrated and although the chancel, with its 13th century lancet windows, was initially retained as a mortuary chapel, it too was demolished in 1971.
Various features, including wall paintings including a Doubting Thomas, were recorded before the demolition and stone arches and a piscina were removed to other locations, with varying degrees of success.
Between 1982 and 1984 Southampton University carried out an excavation to clarify the plan of the building, but did not attempt to dig beneath the immediate foundations. They found that various inter-cut post-medieval vaults had completely destroyed the medieval floor levels. This meant that there was no physical evidence for an earlier structure (a church is mentioned in the 11th century Domesday survey) and there were no earlier finds, such as pottery. It is quite possible that the 12th century build was on a new site.
Among the finds were floor tiles made by William Tyelere of Otterbourne. His products have been recognised in Winchester College (six different designs) and in William of Wykeham’s chantry chapel in the Cathedral (four designs), this latter work being completed by 1404.
The Winchester College accounts (1395-96) contain a reference to ‘Richard Porteur of Fareham…having dug clay there and carted to Otterbourne for the making of tiles’. It is thought that this would have been white clay, to enable the manufacture of two-colour designs, Otterbourne providing only red clay locally.
Hinton, D.A. and Oake, M.K. 1983, The Anglo-Saxon Church at Yateley. Proc Hants Field Club and Archaeol Soc, Vol 39, 1983, pp. 111-120. Online: <http://www.hantsfieldclub.org.uk/publications/hampshirestudies/digital/1980s/vol39/Hinton&Oake.pdf>
Hinton, D.A. 1991, Excavations at Otterbourne Old Church, Hampshire. Proc Hants Field Club and Archaeol Soc, Vol 46, 1990, pp. 73-89. Online: <http://www.hantsfieldclub.org.uk/publications/hampshirestudies/digital/1990s/vol46/Hinton.pdf>
St Peter’s Church, Yateley. A Brief History of St Peter’s. Online:< http://www.stpetersyateley.info/History.html>
Archives held by Hampshire Cultural Trust – A2003.3
Anne Aldis, Dave Allen, Sarah Gould, Lesley Johnson, Jane King, Peter Stone
Previously known as Sudtune and Launge Sutton in medieval times, the small parish of Long Sutton and Well is located just to the south-east of Crondall, on the Hampshire/Surry borders. The manor of Long Sutton is recorded in the Domesday Survey as a sub manor of Crondall and valued at £7. By the 18th century the manor had become known as Sheep Sutton. The Harrow Way, one of the oldest roads in England, once ran through Long Sutton and is the reason for the growth of a settlement in the area. (Page 1911, 18-20)
Fig 1 – OS Map of Long Sutton in Hampshire © Crown Copyright and Database Right (2017). Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence)
After the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170, Long Sutton became a stopping place for pilgrims on their way to visit his remains at Canterbury Cathedral. The 13th century church of All Saints was constructed to serve the spiritual needs of both pilgrims and community. (Hart D C, 2017)
A prominent feature in the parish today is Lord Wandsworth College, an independent boarding school founded in 1915, set in 1200 acres of farmland. The 1930s saw land owned by the college, known locally as Court Gardens, yielding finds of medieval tiles and pottery. (Pastscape, 2017)
Fig 2 – Entrance to Lord Wandsworth College in Long Sutton © Linda Munday
Fig 3 – Aerial view of Lord Wandsworth College and the Battery with Court Gardens to the west © Getmapping Plc
The Hampshire Field Club Proceedings for 1932-34 describes the pottery find in Court Gardens as being dated to the 12th century but suggests that some stonework also found in the field may point to the site of a Norman dwelling house. (Ellaway and Willis 1932, 310) In the same field as Court Gardens, is a crescent shaped earthwork, known as The Battery. The Battery is a scheduled ancient monument and has been classified as a medieval ringwork (a bank with a ditch) with a medieval dwelling. This small medieval building was “uncovered within or acting as a revetment to the inner side of the surviving crescent-shaped bank within the wood; this is well preserved with a linear continuation of the ditch to the SE.” (Wilson and Moorhouse 1971, 147)
Little information was known in the 1930s about the site other than there was a line of burnt earth with fragments of undetermined pottery. (Ellaway and Willis 1932, 310)
Fig 4 -Finds of medieval pottery and a medieval cow bell from fieldwalking in the 1930s and 1950s from Hampshire Cultural Trust Collections (Archaeology)
Field investigations in the 1950(s yielded more medieval pottery. In 1956 it was noted that “In a hot dry summer, the rectangular site outline of a large building can be seen as parched grass in the field west of the Earthwork. From the building a strip of parched grass goes to the earthwork as if a road underlies the grass” (Pastscape 2017) The building was reported as being “visible as a scatter of larger flints and fragments of tiles at the highest point of a spur of high ground in the field.” (Pastscape 2017)
Fig 5 – Looking across fields towards Court Gardens and The Battery courtesy of Charles Miller
A partial excavation was undertaken on the site in 1963 and 1964 by Ian Dormor from the Farnham Museum Society Archaeological Group. The Alton Mail newspaper of the 1st January 1965, reported on the dig stating:
“The ditch was sectioned to determine its original depth and to measure the amount of silt in it. A keystone of Norman date was found at the bottom of the ditch. This stone does not appear to have been used in a building as there are no traces of mortar on it. A similar block of masonry was found at the same depth in the trench dug next to the section.”
Fig 6 -Map from the Hampshire Environment Record clearly showing outline of the crescent shaped earthwork called The Battery with Court Gardens to the west
Three weeks after the excavation commenced, ploughing of the field saw a rafter rest (a distinctive roofing stone) dated 1100AD being found as well a large number of medieval tiles, pottery sherds and nails. The pottery appeared to be of both Roman, post conquest (1066) and medieval era. A 13th century arrowhead was also found along with the nails. They were all electrolytically cleaned by David Graham of the Farnham Society thus removing all traces of rust. The finds from the dig were originally put on display at Farnham museum but their current whereabouts are not known. (Alton Mail 1965)
Fig 7 – Aerial view of the crescent shaped earthwork The Battery (centre right) in Long Sutton © Getmapping Plc
Interestingly, a bronze Roman steelyard weight (counterweight for a Roman balance) was also found in the same field in the 1930s by a shepherd. It was described as being in the shape of a young boy’s bust and filled with lead with a suspension loop on top of head. The whole item stood 2.7 inches high including the loop. In 1967 it was at Farnham Museum and then was transferred to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Enquiries made at the Ashmolean have so far proved fruitless as to its whereabouts. The original hard copy from the Historic Environment Record is shown below:
Fig 8 – Original record of bronze steelyard weight from Hampshire Environment record
An example of a Roman steelyard with weights can be seen below:
Fig 9 – Roman steelyard with weights on display at London Mithraeum © Linda Munday
Alton Mail (1965) Discoveries at the Battery, Farnham’s Group work, The Alton Mail Newspaper clipping dated 1st January 1965 held in the Hampshire Environment Record at Hampshire Cultural Trust Archaeology Collections
Ellaway, J. R and Willis, G. W (1932) Field Notes, Basingstoke District in F.N. Davis (ed.) Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, 12,: 309-310
Hart D C (2017) Long Sutton available online at https://www.hart.gov.uk/long-sutton (accessed 29/11/17)
Page W (1911) A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 4, London, 1911 available online at British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/hants/vol4/pp18-20 [accessed 29 November 2017].
Pastscape (2017) Monument No 243724 available online at https://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=243724&sort=2&type=&typeselect=c&rational=a&class1=None&period=None&county=None&district=None&parish=None&place=&recordsperpage=10&source=text&rtype=monument&rnumber=243724 (accessed 29 November 2017)
Wilson, D.M. and Moorhouse, S.,(1971) ‘Medieval Britain in 1970’ Medieval Archaeology Vol. 15
Figure 1 – OS Map of Long Sutton in Hampshire © Crown Copyright and Database Right (2017). Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence)
Figure 2 – Entrance to Lord Wandsworth College in Long Sutton 22/10/17 © Linda Munday
Figure 3- Aerial view of Lord Wandsworth College and the Battery with Court Gardens to the west © Getmapping Plc via Digimap Educational licence
Figure 4 – Finds of medieval pottery and a medieval cow bell from fieldwalking in the 1930’s and 1950’s photographed at Hampshire Cultural Trust by L Munday 17/10/17 © Linda Munday
Figure 5- Looking across fields towards Court Gardens and The Battery courtesy of Charles Miller 22/10/17 © Charles Miller
Figure 6- Map from the Hampshire Environment Record clearly showing outline of the crescent shaped earthwork called The Battery with Court Gardens to the west (Held at Hampshire Cultural Trust Collections (Archaeology) Chilcomb House Winchester
Figure 7 – Aerial view of the crescent shaped earthwork The Battery in Long Sutton © Getmapping Plc
Figure 8 – – Original record of bronze steelyard weight from Hampshire Environment record available at Hampshire Cultural Trust Collections (Archaeology) Chilcomb House Winchester
Figure 9 – – Roman steelyard with weights on display at London Mithraeum photograph © L Munday 30/11/17
The Lost Villa of Barley Pound
The year 2017, marks the two hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the Barley Pound Roman Villa in Crondall, Hampshire. It was on the 26th May 1817 that a carter, by the name of Hurdle, was ploughing a field at Barley Pound Farm when he came across some pieces of Roman tessellated pavement. He immediately contacted his employer, Mr Charles Benham and a further exploration of the site commenced. (Jefferson 1817, 1)
Figure 1 – site of the Barley Pound Roman villa © Crown Copyright and Database Right (2017). Ordnance Survey (Digimap Licence)
A booklet was produced in 1817 by Joseph Jefferson called An Account of the Roman Mosaic Pavement found at Badley (sic) Pound Farm. He describes how the discovery had “excited much curiosity in the neighbourhood” and how he felt obliged to record some information on the find. Even though he admits the account is “drawn up in an imperfect manner” hoping that it will “lead the more learned antiquary to further investigation.” (Jefferson 1817, A2) The booklet explains the surprise shown that the mosaic floor had not been found before as the field had been ploughed many times. (Burningham 1859, 298) However, it had also been observed that corn did not grow well in that part of the field. (Jefferson 1817, 6) The mosaic was described as twelve feet square with the tiles (tessera) made of burnt clay or brick. Each tile was about an inch square and of many different colours. The mosaic’s workmanship was of very high quality. So, it was thought to belong to a very fine Roman residence. (Anon, DU)
Figure 2 – County Map 1870 showing Roman villa site north of Barley Pound Farm
The mosaic design had a grid of nine guilloche bordered octagons. (Burningham 1859, 298) Guilloche is a common form of ornamental bordering on Roman mosaics which consists of two or more strands twisted together. The octagons (eight sided shapes) each contained a medallion within which were alternately framed a flower, lotus urn and an urn in a wreath in the centre. (Rainey 1973, 59)
Mosaic making originated in Greece in 400BC and the Romans invited Greeks to the empire to make them. The earliest mosaics in Britain would have been designed and made by craftsman from Rome and elsewhere in the Mediterranean (Rainey 1973, 12) The small cut pieces of either stone, glass, marble or pottery were called tesserae which is the Latin word for cube or die. Hence the term tessellated pavement used for the Barley Pound mosaic. (Rainey 1973, 11)
The Barley Pound mosaic was surrounded by an “inferior pavement of pieces of brick about an inch and a half square” (Jefferson 1817, 6-7) It was not long for news of the discovery to spread and sadly some boys and other “ignorant visitors” started to damage it. This led to a building being erected to protect it. (Jefferson 1817, 8)
Even though a hut was built over the mosaic to protect it, gradually pieces of the pavement were removed by visitors, until nothing remained. Fortunately, Charles Lefroy, had an illustration made of the mosaic, which now resides at the Hampshire Record Office, a copy of which is shown below:
Figure 3 – Illustration of Barley Pound Mosaic 1858
Attached to the illustration, is a manuscript by Charles Lefroy dated 1858. Interestingly, the date of the mosaic find is quoted as 1819, two years different from all other records. It reads as follows:
“Copy of the tessellated pavement of a Roman Villa discovered in Crondall parish in the year 1819, in a field near Barley Pound, south of this church and not far from the old encampment in Barley Pound Coppice. This beautiful pavement, perfect when found was impaired and pieces taken away by visitors and has at last been entirely picked up and removed. CEL 1858”
This is the same Charles Lefroy who aged eighteen found the Crondall Hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins and jewellery in 1828. The Church he is referring to is All Saints Church in Crondall village where another image of the Roman mosaic hangs – a partially completed sampler.
Figure 4 – Sampler of Barley Pound Roman Mosaic in All Saints Church, Crondall
Underneath the sampler the following is written:
This silk worked sampler is a pattern of a tiled pavement of a Roman villa found at Barley Pound Farm over 100 years ago. It was worked by my two Great-Great Aunts Sally and Beloy Garrett who lived at Crondall and went to Barley Pound daily to work the pattern from the pavement itself; they were not able to finish it as the pavement was destroyed. I knew my aunts, they were very old people aged 81 and 83 years of age.
The sampler came to my father, George Garrett who was 89 years of age and has been dead 25 years.
I am 77 years of age. I have given the sampler to Mr J Alfred Eggar, as the Roman villa site is on his property and I know that he will see that it is preserved for future generations of Crondall to see and hear about it.
Dated September 14th 1920
Charles Garrett, Pankridge Road, Crondall, Hants
Next to the Roman mosaic at Barley Pound Farm, two other floors were uncovered, one composed of small pieces of brick and the other of brick and tile. It was assumed that these were floors from other apartments. (Jefferson 1817, 8) This field had been nicknamed “The Tile Field” due to the amount of Roman tiles found as well as brick and the foundations of a building. A couple of small coins were also found, one of Antonius Pius and one of Constantine. They were handed over to Mrs Debrett of Chelsea, the then owner of the farm. (Jefferson 1817,11, Burningham 1859, 299)
Fig 5 -The view today from the site of Barley Pound Villa
The Mystery of the Marble Head
Left to All Saints Church, Crondall in a will of 1962, a life- sized marble head has for years been subject to much debate and intrigue. Locally, it is reputed to have come from the Roman villa at Barley Pound but no mention of it is made with regards to the find of the mosaic. (Millett 1977, 352) It appears to have been kept outside for some time having been covered in lichen. Its unknown provenance (origins) have meant the church’s recent attempt at valuation being unsuccessful.
The head, which is currently not on display, was examined in 1977 by local archaeologist Martin Millett (now Professor of Classical Archaeology at Cambridge University) He deduced that there were two main features that could put doubt on it being authentic and Roman. Firstly, the eyes, cut very deeply, appeared staring and “out of character with the rest of the head.” However, parallels to this were acknowledged citing the Louvre’s Titios Gamelos. Secondary indentations could have been made to the statue to pretty the face up at a later date. Secondly, the flattened curly head which “slopes evenly away from the face.” was unusual. This of course could be explained by the fact that it was deliberately made to fit in a niche and would have been seen from below making the flattened head invisible. (Millett 1977, 351)
Other parallels for the head exist in “Antinous type heads from the Hadrianic date (117-138AD).” (Millett 1977, 351) Antinous was the Emperor Hadrian’s lover and was deified after his death with numerous statues and busts produced.
Figure 6- Side view of the marble head showing flattened face and head
The conclusion that Millett comes to is that the head probably comes from a full- length statue due to the angle of the head. The type of marble used is from Greece and this could point to it being brought back from a Grand Tour, a European trip made by the upper classes to view art and culture. (Millett 1977, 352) However, this is all pure speculation. It could of course be true that the head comes from the villa at Barley Pound but until it is excavated, we will never perhaps know.
I recently went to see the head for myself, having made an appointment to see the vicar Reverend Tara Hellings at All Saints Church. Having a background in the Classics, she found the mystery around the head fascinating. It had been in the stores at Farnham museum for some time but had recently returned to the church and she was keen to find out more about it. The head was extremely heavy and difficult to move but we did turn it over and found indentations on the bottom which look like MDMLXII.
Figure 7 – The Roman head with Reverend Tara Hellings from All Saints Church, Crondall
Figure 8 – The reverse of the Roman head
The hoard of Roman Coins
So, we have the mystery of the Roman head but we also have the case of the unknown whereabouts of 300 Roman coins dated to the end of the 3rd century A.D. They were dug up at Barley Pound in 1869. In 1873/4 a Mr Hawgood, furniture dealer in East Street, Farnham appears to have acquired either the majority or all of the hoard. It was at this furniture dealer that more than 200 of the coins were sold to someone of the name of Webb. Enquiries made to the Farnham Society have yielded no results as to who Mr Hawgood or Webb may be. So, if this makes any sense to you then, let me know.
Roman Pottery Finds
Field walking just south of the Barley Pound Villa site in 1980 also yielded finds of 1st and 2nd century A.D. Roman pottery. These are shown below:
Figure 9 – Roman pottery found during field walk in 1980
If you want to find out more about Romano- British mosaics click below:
Anon (DU) Tesselated Pavement at Barley Pound, article (possibly Farnham Society newsletter) with mosaic illustration held in Hampshire Environment Record at Hampshire Cultural Trust Archaeology Collections
Burningham, T. (1859) Archaeological Journal, volume 16 London:298-299 available online at https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/TheArchaeologicalJournal1859_10003244 accessed 13/12/17
Jefferson, J (1817) An account of the Roman Mosaic Pavement found at Badley Pound Farm. Basingstoke: S Chandler held at Hampshire Cultural Trust Archaeology Collections, Chilcomb House Winchester
Millett, M (1977) A Marble Head from Crondall, Britannia, Vol. 8 . Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies: 351-352
Rainey, A. (1973) Mosaics in Roman Britain: A Gazeteer. Newton Abbott: David and Charles Publishers
Figure 1 – Site of the Barley Pound Roman villa copyright Digimap licence for educational use only
Figure 2 – – Map from 1870 showing Barley Pound Roman Villa Surrey XXIX (includes: Bentley; Crondall; Froyle; Long Sutton.) Surveyed: 1870 to 1872 Published: 1873 to 1875 http://maps.nls.uk/view/102352864 accessed 12/12/2017
Figure 3 – Coloured illustration of the tessellate pavement found at Roman villa with manuscript note attached 1858 original in Hampshire Records Office, Winchester Reference TOP84/2/5
Figure 4 – Sampler of Barley Pound Roman Mosaic in All Saints Church, Crondall by Linda Munday 23/8/17
Figure 5 – The view today from the site of Barley Pound Villa by Linda Munday 23/8/17
Figure 6 – Side view of the marble head showing flattened face and head by Linda Munday 23/8/17
Figure 7 – The Roman head with Reverend Tara Hellings by Linda Munday 23/8/17
Figure 8 – The reverse of the Roman head 23/8/17 by Linda Munday 23/8/17
Figure 9 – Sherds of Roman pottery from south of Barley Pound held at Hampshire Cultural Trust Archaeology Collection, Chilcomb House, Winchester. Accession no. A1980.16 Photo by David Allen