17th May 2015 – Trip to Horham Hall
Horham Hall is the perfect example of accessible heritage; although an historic house filled with items from many different periods, it has a lived in feeling that is lacking from many other sites. The hall was visited twice by Queen Elizabeth I and her court, once in 1571 and again in 1578.
More information about Horham Hall can be found here:
Our visit in May began with the chance to wander around the grounds, before heading into the Hall for a brief run through of its history from the owner, Mrs Ward-Thomas. We were then allowed to explore the Hall, viewing items from different periods and rooms in different styles. The visit ended with another stroll around the grounds when the sun had come out.
7th June 2015 – Trip to Warden Abbey
Warden Abbey is a Cistercian Abbey, which was founded in 1135, and lasted until the dissolution in 1537; it established three daughter abbeys at Sawtry, Sibton and Tilty. While no physical remains of the building survived a portion of a Tudor mansion remains on site under the protection of Landmark Trust. The trip included the chance to look at the many artefacts that had been found in the area from a previous dig, as well as local maps showing the land which belonged to the abbey. This was followed with a walk round the area, viewing where certain buildings would have been and a talk on the history, geography and extent of productivity of the Abbey. After a delightful lunch in a nearby village, we then visited the local 12th Century Church of St Leonard in Old Warden where a brief talk was held on its history and its relationship with the Abbey.
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5th & 6th September 2015 – Test Pit for the outer Abbey gatehouse
The dig was held to see if we could find traces of the outer, medieval gatehouse for Tilty Abbey; Tilty Church indicates where the inner gatehouse would have been, as it was the capella extra portas – the chapel outside the gate. This dig was longer than the previous one and took two days, focusing on two different pits. No indication of a building was found, but there was evidence of life during the medieval period, with the discovery of tiles and pottery of the period, small animal bones and oyster shells. We also uncovered a sizeable cobble-stoned area in one pit, which tallied with the presumed location of the road and gatehouse. Further work will have to be done. However, the finds were extremely positive. There were numerous volunteers over the two day period, and the dig attracted much interest from passers-by.
[ Last updated 7th February 2016 ]