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#Hart Heritage 11 – The Buried Circle at Hitches Lane by Linda Munday

Stonehenge and Woodhenge are well known examples of Neolithic circular monuments made of stone and wood respectively. However, another type of prehistoric circle exists called a pit circle. Generally found from the middle to late Neolithic and early Bronze age, pit circles are arcs or rings of “shallow but fairly regular oval scoops” which often contain carefully selected deposits. (Darvill 2009)

The diameter of these circles is usually under 20 metres. So, when a Middle Bronze Age pit circle with a diameter of 42 metres was uncovered during an excavation at a housing development site in Fleet in 2007/8, it was considered a rarity. Especially as this part of Hampshire is not known for its archaeological sites. (Pine 2016,1)

There are only 60 timber and pit circles recorded in England. Unfortunately, very little is actually known about pit circles with classification of the various types not yet undertaken. (Historic England 2011,2)


Fig 1 – Site of Bronze Age Pit Circle at Hitches Farm before area transformed into housing development.

pit circle final enhanced

Fig 2 – Picture showing the large size (42m diameter) of the Bronze Age pit circle at Hitches Lane, Fleet.

The excavation site at Hitches Lane was large with 231 trenches dug.  150 individual features were identified with approximately 20 being prehistoric and 20 Roman. The rest were medieval or modern. (Pine 2016, 2) For the purposes of this article, I will be focusing on the Bronze Age finds of a pit circle and field system although it is important to note that evidence of “a substantial 2nd-century Roman rectangular timber-framed building set within a system of fields and paddocks” was also found on the site.

The pit circle consisted of 29 pits, many containing deposits of burnt flint. Each pit varied in depth from 10cm to 50cm. This may be due to damage by ploughing but also the construction of a late post medieval ditch. (Pine 2016, 14 -16) It appeared that the flint had not been deposited to hold up timber posts. Most pits were too shallow and wide to hold posts, except for one. (Pine 2016, 16) Some pits contained unburnt flint as well as pieces of Bronze Age pottery. One of these contained four flint flakes and a flaked flint axe. Wood charcoal of oak, alder and hazel were also found in some of the pits with one containing a single grain of barley (pit 702 see fig 5). The distribution of these finds can be seen in figure 3.

layout of pit circle enhanced

Fig 3 – Plan of pit circles showing the distribution of finds. Small arc of pits inside main circle also shown.

Radio carbon dating from pit number 725 dates the pit circle to 1494-1395BC placing it in the Middle Bronze Age. Pit circles with diameters over 20 metres are usually a feature of the late Neolithic. So, to have one of 42 metres dated to the Middle Bronze Age is possibly unique. Later Bronze Age pit circles tend to be half this size and have multiple rings. (Pine 2016, 36) However, an arc of four pits with a diameter of 4 metres within the main circle could be the remains of a smaller inner pit circle. Of course, it could just be the remains of a round house as it does not lie in the centre of the main pit circle but 5 metres to the south. Burnt flint and sherds of Bronze age pottery were found in the pits (Pine 2016, 14-16) See fig 3 pits 718-721.

S22C-6e18010413070-page-001 crop

Fig 4 – Pit 701 containing pieces of burnt flint in situ.

S22C-6e18010413071-page-001 crop

Fig 5 – Pit 702 which yielded the largest amount of burnt flint – 13.5 kilos and one grain of barley!

S22C-6e18010413071-page-001 crop 2

Fig 6 – Pit 726 in the process of excavation

S22C-6e18010413080-page-001 crop

Fig 7 – Pit no 728 under excavation. This pit yielded 786g of burnt flint.

A flaked flint axe made from grey flint with the butt end missing was found in pit number 703. It can be viewed in fig 8.2. It appeared to have been broken and also had a large lump on the side. Its not known whether the axe broke before it was used or whether the inability to remove the lump meant it was discarded. Again, this is an unusual find on a Middle Bronze Age site. If in use during this time the flint axe would certainly extend the chronology of lithic core tools (tools made from rocks or stone) Of course it could also have been a tool that had been passed down through time and deliberately placed as an offering in the pit. (Pine 2016, 23)

flint finds

Fig 8 – 1: Flint scraper recovered from Middle Bronze Age urn. 2: Broken flake flint axe found in pit 703. 3: Broken flint knife found just outside pit circle.

Ritual and ceremony were very much part of life in prehistory. Making votive deposits in the earth or gifts to the gods is known from the Middle Stone Age or Mesolithic onwards. In the Bronze Age votives were frequently placed in holes in the ground, under stones or rocks and in caves. (Mackintosh 2009, 258)

Other deposits of flint and bronze age pottery were found in gullies on the site. The gullies were interpreted as a bronze age field system. They formed a rectilinear pattern and were positioned south of the pit circle. A flint scraper was found in a Middle Bronze Age urn found in one of the gullies. (Fig 8:1) and a broken flint knife was recovered from an excavation trench just outside the pit circle. (Fig 8:3 and Fig 3) (Pine 2016, 10)

The conclusion come to by archaeologists is that Hitches Lane is a non-typical Middle Bronze Age site. The large pit circle along with gullies forming a rectilinear enclosure is an unusual feature for the era. It is difficult to place this site in a wider context due to a lack of comparable sites. This is truly a unique find in Hart. (Pine 2016, 35-36)


Darvill, T 2009; The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology, 2 ed Oxford: Oxford University Press available online Oxford Reference. Retrieved 24 Jan. 2018, from http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100329121..

Pine, J. 2016 A Middle Bronze Age Pit Circle and Field System and Roman settlement at Hitches Lane, Reading: Thames Valley Archaeological Services available online at http://tvas.co.uk/reports/pdf/OccasPap12onlineversion.pdf accessed 2/8/2017

Historic England, 2011. Prehistoric Henges and Circles available online at https://content.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/iha-prehistoric-henges-circles/prehistorichengesandcircles.pdf/ accessed 23/1/2018

Mackintosh, J. 2009 Handbook to Life in Prehistoric Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press


Figs 1 – 8 All photographs and plans courtesy of Thames Valley Archaeological Services. With many thanks to Anna Ginger from TVAS archives.



#Hart Heritage 8 – The Romans of the Whitewater Valley Part 1 – Hook by Linda Munday

A Finds and Memorabilia day focusing on local Roman finds in Hook, Hampshire was  held on the 10th June 2017, at Hook community centre. The event staged by the Hook Local History Group, was part of a local heritage project funded by the National Lottery. The project’s aim being to digitise the group’s history archives and make them more widely available to the local community. (Hook local history group 2017, 21)

Hook History group event 10 6 17

Fig 1 -Hook Local History Group – Finds and Memorabilia Day 10th June 2017 at Hook Community Centre.


Fig 2 – Roman artefacts on display from Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Archaeology collection.


Fig 3 – An example of a roman tegulae (tile) showing roof construction


Fig 4 – A roman coin found in Ravenscroft, Hook in 1986

A number of artefacts were on display including Roman pottery and tile finds from the area and a Roman coin discovered in a garden in Ravenscroft Hook in 1986. Although in poor condition,. It was taken to Andover museum for identification where it was thought to be 1st or 2nd century A.D. (Wilsdon UD, 7) A similar looking coin with Roman temple can be seen in fig 5. This coin is from the reign of Antoninus Pius who was emperor from 138 to 161A.D.

Coin from reign of Antoninus Pius

Fig 5 – Coin from the reign of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius 138-161 A.D.

Local school teacher, Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray) took the lead in setting up the Hook History Group in 1987.  She had initially become interested in Hook’s Roman past when she came across information about a find of Roman tesserae, tiles and pottery (including Samian ware) on a  public footpath in Hook in 1952. (Willis 1952, 61) This was reported in the Hampshire Field Club proceedings of the same year. The footpath in question was one that ran “east from Hook crossroads to Holt via Bell pond.” (Willis 1952, 61) See fig 12 which shows location on a map.

Glynis lived on the Bell Meadow estate near to the original Bell pond site and contacted the Hampshire Museum service to make further enquiries (Wilsdon UD, 2) The Museum Service were able to inform Glynis that the Roman finds were mainly sherds of Alice Holt coarse ware of the 3rd and 4th century A.D. which included “the rims of a bowl, a dish and a jar and part of a cheese press”. (Wilsdon UD, 2) No further investigation of the site had taken place and in 1963 the pond was filled in and the field turned into a housing development.

The site where the initial finds of Roman pottery were reported in 1952 is now number 10 Church View. The owner, a Mr Pugh had, found a lot of Roman roof tiles and pottery sherds in his garden which led in 1970 to a trial excavation taking place. Archaeologists, Graham Cole, Graham Huxley and Martin Millett, concluded that there was a Roman building on the site dating from the 1st and 2nd century A.D. ( Wilsdon UD, 2)

In 1989 another excavation took place on the site as footings were being dug for an extension. The archaeologists then were Martin Morris from Basingstoke Archaeological Society and Geoff Hoare from North East Hants History and Archaeological Society (NEHHAS)  It was thought at the time that a layer of flint could be the footings of a Roman wall but further excavation did not take place. (Wilsdon UD, 6)

1979 trench 10 church view

Fig 6 – Plan showing 1970 excavation trench along with excavation of footings in 1989 for house extension.

As the pictures in figs 7-11 show, the layers of the trench clearly contained Roman tile fragments and rubble. (Wilsdon UD, 6)

Extension footings trench 10 Church View Hook 1989

Fig 7 – Extension footings trench at 10 Church View 1989

Trench from 10 Church View Hook 1989

Fig 8 – Extension trench showing layers of Roman tile 1989

Geoff Hoare at 10 Church View excavation of footings 1989

Fig 9 – Archaeologist, Geoff Hoare at the excavation at 10 Church View 1989

layers in trench 10 Church View 1989

Fig 10 – layers in the trench clearly visible at 10 Church View 1989

1989 cross section

Fig 11 – Corresponding drawing of the photograph in fig 10 showing different layers in the earth.

Living nearby at 8 St Johns Close, Glynis had also found, during the 1980’s,   a lot of Roman pottery sherds in her own garden. A total of 100 sherds were recovered. However, she only discovered them in the topsoil. If she dug deeper to a depth of 3 feet nothing was to be found. (Wilsdon UD, 4) Investigations by Glynis concluded that the topsoil had been removed from the Bell Pond site when the housing development began in 1963. It was dumped in what is now Bandhall Place before being redistributed after completion amongst the gardens in Church View and St John’s Close (Wilsdon UD, 4) Now it made sense as to why so many of her neighbours were also finding Roman pottery and tiles in their gardens.

excerpt Glynis Wilsdon's Hook resized

Fig 12 – Map produced in 1980’s by Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray)( showing location of Roman finds on Bell Meadow Estate

Below are some examples of Roman pottery from Glynis Wilsdon’s (now Dray) garden which are held at Hampshire Cultural Trust archaeology collections in Winchester. Their accession number is A1990.17 to A1990.17.11.

decorated coarse ware 8 st john close resized

Fig 13 -Decorated coarse ware found in Glynis Wilsdon’s (now Dray) garden in Hook

coarseware found in glynis garden 1987

Fig 14 – Drawing in 1980’s by Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray) of decorated coarse ware found in 1987 shown in fig 13 above

Coarse ware was the most prevalent type of Roman pottery used for cooking vessels. It makes up more than seventy five percent of all Roman pottery finds in Britain. Local production of coarse ware took place at Alice Holt near Farnham (De la Bedoyere 1989, 93) Finding a lot of this type of pottery suggests that Hook had a Roman settlement.

mortarium from 8 st johns close

Fig 15 – Piece of mortarium found in Glynis Wilsdons’ (now Dray) garden in Hook

Mortaria were mixing bowls which were used for grinding food. They were usually small and had “internal gritting” to help with grinding. (De la Bedoyere 1989, 96) These pieces of grit can be clearly seen in fig 15.

Roman sites nearby

Of course, it is not surprising that Hook had a Roman past with the known Roman sites of Choseley Farm and Lodge Farm in Odiham being so close by. These were both excavated by Dorothy Liddell in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

More articles will follow on Lodge Farm and Choseley Farm.. So watch out for them!


De la Bedoyere, G. 1989. The Finds of Roman Britain, London: Batsford Ltd

Hook Local History Group, 2017. Hook Local History Group Celebrates its 30th anniversary year in style. Hook Focus, The Hook Village Magazine, June edition: 19-22

Varley, T. 2013. Hampshire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Willis G W. 1952. Two New Roman Sites Near Basingstoke, Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club Volume 18: 61

Wilsdon, D. ud (1980’s) The Romans in Hook, NE Hampshire, Pamphlet :1-8 held at Hampshire Record Office reference TOP166/1/9 copyright held by D Wilsdon (Dray)


Fig 1 – Hook Local History Group – Finds and Memorabilia Day 10th June 2017 at Hook Community Centre (Photograph courtesy of www.facebook.com/MemoriesofHookinHampshire)

Fig 2 – Roman artefacts on display from Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Archaeology collection photograph Linda Munday

Fig 3 – An example of a roman tegulae (tile) showing roof construction. Photograph Linda Munday

Fig 4 – A roman coin found in Ravenscroft, Hook in 1986 photograph Linda Munday

Fig 5 – Coin from the reign of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius 138-161 A.D. courtesy Wildwinds.com

Fig 6 – Plan showing 1970 excavation trench along with excavation of footings in 1989 for house extension .Excerpt from The Romans in Hook by Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray)

Fig 7 – Extension footings trench at 10 Church View 1989 – photo held in Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray) archive at Hampshire Cultural Trust Accession No. A1990.17 to A1990.17.11

Fig 8 – Extension trench showing layers of Roman tile 1989 photo held in Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray) archive at Hampshire Cultural Trust Accession No. A1990.17 to A1990.17.11

Fig 9 – Geoff Hoare at the excavation at 10 Church View 1989 photo held in Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray) archive at Hampshire Cultural Trust Accession No. A1990.17 to A1990.17.11

Fig 10 – layers in the trench clearly visible at 10 Church View 1989 photo held in Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray) archive at Hampshire Cultural Trust Accession No. A1990.17 to A1990.17.11

Fig 11 – Corresponding drawing of the photograph in fig 10 showing different layers in the earth. Excerpt from The Romans in Hook by Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray)

Fig 12 – Map produced in 1980’s by Glynis Wilsdon showing location of Roman finds on Bell Meadow Estate. Excerpt from The Romans in Hook by Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray)

Fig 13 -Decorated coarse ware found in Glynis Wilsdon’s (now Dray) garden in Hook photograph Linda Munday

Fig 14 – Drawing in 1980’s by Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray) of decorated coarse ware found in 1987 shown in fig 13 above. Excerpt from The Romans in Hook by Glynis Wilsdon (now Dray)

Fig 15 – Piece of mortarium found in Glynis Wilsdons’ (now Dray) garden in Hook photo by Linda Munday.


#Hart Heritage 7; What lies beneath – Yateley’s hidden cemeteries – by Linda Munday

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)

bucket urn round close right way up

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)

gift sticker bucket urn crop

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:

Yately place showing bronze age find

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.

label with small pottery vessel

Fig 5 – Winchester Museum label from 1928 for Bronze Age finds from Yateley

small pottery vessel hillfield front view

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.

small pottery vessel hillfield bronze age

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)

sherds from collared urn with cord pattern

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.

Gravel finds in Reading museum

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

Map of Moor Place Farm copyright free

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.

Urnfield site

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.





#Hart Heritage 6 – A Tudor House and Gardens at Greywell, by Linda Munday

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)

Site of Tudor mansion in The Street 23 8 17 resized

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)

Aerial view

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)

formal gardens sketch Tony Wright

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)

Greywell map digimap licence

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.

House opposite tudor mansion field resized

Figure 6 – The Malt House, Greywell

To find out more about Tudor Hampshire click on the link below:

Discovering the Tudors through the Hampshire Archives


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

#Hart Heritage 5 – Outposts of an outlaw, Adam de Gourdon and the Crondall Castles, by Linda Munday

I am Adam de Gourdon, 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 Gourdon (Williams-Freeman 1915, 307)

Aerial map of Barley Pound and Powderham from the air

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 Gourdon 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).

barley pound historic map no licence

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)

map of 3 castles

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:

Bentley Castle excavation

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)

Barley Pound Castle site from footpath

Figure 5 – Barley Pound from public footpath

inside barley poundFigure 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







#Hart Heritage 4 – Excavations of a Jacobean Manor House in Heckfield, by Linda Munday

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)

excavation 2

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)

excavation 3 Fig 2 Cellar with brick lined drain. Photo courtesy of Tony Wright NEHHAS

excavation 1

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.

Heckfield plan19122017

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).

collection 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).

The Bourdaloue

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:

Heckfield, Hampshire: An Examination of Middle Iron Age Iron Smelting Slags

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.


Hampshire excavations # 14 & 15

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.


Tiles present at Yateley – 14th century Penn, Bucks.

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.

Chancel in 1963 (E. Course)

The mortuary chapel in 1963 (Edwin Course)

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.


Excavations in progress

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.

Further reading:

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

Series by:

Anne Aldis, Dave Allen, Sarah Gould, Lesley Johnson, Jane King, Peter Stone