• Impressive vaulted<br />brick ceiling
  • The standing buildings

Woking Palace Archaeological Project 2012

Week Two - Was somebody here before us?

This week the Project welcomed children from two Woking schools, Horsell Primary School and Sythwood Primary School, onto the site. The visits were divided into sessions that included a tour of the site and an introduction to its history plus hands-on sessions excavating in the trenches and cleaning some of the finds unearthed.

Excavation continued in both areas with the steadily growing spoil heaps a testament to the amount of material being removed. The trenches nearest the vaulted building, in the heart of the medieval manorial complex and Tudor Palace, produced a complex series of remains of walls dating from the 14th to the 16th centuries [below], while in the area close to the eastern moat it became clear that there had also been a number of periods of less intensive re-building. New features, including a tile-on-edge hearth at the end of a timber-framed building, were uncovered in this area.

The ‘finds team’ were kept busy throughout the week dealing with the vast amount of building material that clearly represented the demolition of the palace in the 17th century and also with the pottery, bone and other artefacts that those excavating had placed in their finds trays. Glazed medieval and Tudor tiles continued to feature along with bottles from the 20th century. One of these was a type of ginger beer bottle known as a Codd bottle. Research by a member of Surrey Archaeological Society has shown that this bottle, marked “Castle Brewery (Lascelles, Tickner & Co.) Guildford”, dates from the period 1910 to 1918.We are left wondering if this and other bottles may have been left behind by previous excavators who worked for Lord Iveagh in around 1911.

The call to ‘clear up your loose’ which signalled a ‘tea-break’ was always eagerly anticipated and all those working on the site were grateful for the efforts of members of the Friends who served refreshments during these breaks [below]. Breaks also provided a time to exchange information on the different areas or just to soak up the atmosphere of the site. During one of these breaks we learnt that Lisa, one of the community volunteers, who has recently joined the Friends of Woking Palace is distantly related (second cousin 18 times removed) to Lady Margaret Beaufort who lived at Woking Manor between 1466 and 1471 and who passed the manor to her son King Henry VII in 1503 [right].

The weather remained dry and often sunny for most of the week. However those in the trenches close to the moat who were wishing for rain to soften the ground and make trowelling easier had perhaps not envisaged the deluge that arrived mid morning on Sunday and drove us all off site. The nature of the two groups of trenches is such that the rain has improved conditions for those close to the eastern moat but has flooded the trenches close to the vaulted building.

Next week will bring its challenges as we try to get everything done by Friday ready to prepare the site to welcome the public to the Open Day on Sunday 30th September.

Week one Progress Report | Week three progress report

View the photographs on the Digging Surrey's Past facebook page (you do not need to be registered with Facebook to view the photographs).

Experiencing cleaning finds

Experiencing cleaning finds

Exposing the ruins

Exposing the ruins

Walls appearing

Walls appearing

Margaret Beaufort's relative

Margaret Beaufort's relative

2012 digging 2012 information stand 2012 Bottle
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