Up stream rubble, the Second Sluice area view looking north west and a week later looking north-east.
Right back at the start of the
month I was contacted by Pat and Albert, a couple who live in Hanwell
and who had heard about the project and were keen to help. They have a
great interest in local history and family connections in the village
going way back. We were invited to their home to enjoy a fascinating
collection of documents, mainly relating to Spring Farm and its
occupation by members of the Buller family. Of special interest was a
water colour of the castle by artist William Matthison (1853 - 1926).
Matthison lived in Banbury between 1883 and 1902 and painted several
views of the town. Christopher comments:
|'The Matthison watercolour is interesting but only shows the
immediately pre-Berkeley situation with which we were, in fact, already
familiar: 'West Wing' still agricultural/unconverted, uppermost
tower-window blocked, and the building left-foreground is one of the
French's thatched barns - on the 1st Edition. 25" O.S. - demolished by the
Berkeleys shortly after 1902. The best view of that state of the
buildings which we've come across is in the album of watercolours of
local antiquities commissioned in the 1830's & 40's by Alfred
Beesley, most of which, curiously, he never used in his Banbury. The
album is in the collection at Banbury Museum (I think, rather than
Bodley or Oxon. R.O.) and the Hanwell view was part of the Beesley
exhibition they put on at the library a few years back: it would be v.
interesting to have a closer look now.'
Hanwell Castle by William Matthison (1853 - 1926) © A. and P. King
Pat and Albert have kindly taken on the role of finds washers extraordinaire and
have done a couple of sessions for us recruiting an extra washer for
their second session. Below are the fruits of their labours. It will be
very useful to have
them on board, especially once the finds start flowing from the big dig
in August. We were also having discussions as to the best place
to set up the marquee or possibly marquees for finds washing, tea tent
and occasional common room/social club. As we were examining the lawn
we thought it might be interesting to carry out a preliminary metal
detector survey just to check the distribution of metal objects and
determine if there were any unusual clusters - there weren't .
Spread out to dry, in the process of cleaning we discovered another
piece of decorated medieval tile and a decorated bowl rim that we
hadn't spotted in their muddy condition in the finds trays. Peter
photographed them for us then and there.
|Peter's comment: With regard to
the sherd of pottery (right) we thought as 12-13th. century; may I
suggest that Brill/Boarstall could be the answer and probably leaning
towards the later date, ref. fig. 54, 1 Mellor,
M. 1994. Oxfordshire Pottery: A Synthesis of middle and late Saxon,
medieval and early post-medieval pottery in the Oxford Region. This
date would of course match that of the tile displaying a possible
'Gothic' design of that period (left).
Peter is modeling the very latest in off the hip quiver wear, a natty
product to keep marker flags for the detectorist around town.. or
field. Ask Peter for details. And here are the flags spread about.
Conscious that we needed to prepare
the ground for the influx of diggers in the following month we made
determined efforts to carry on taming the undergrowth. Once again Peter
stepped up to the plate this time wielding three feet of best Honduran
steel to clear some pathways. Following in his wake I continued the
thankless task of spading out 'turf and topsoil' only to hit serious
quantities of stone which once cleaned up turned out to have
significant structural features. Exhausted by this discovery I decided
to go up to the Temple of Flora and do something a little less taxing,
some weeding perhaps. Anyway I'd just got started and the first clump
of nettles I pulled up had spread its roots around a nice block of
ashlar and then another and another. Archaeological weeding at its
finest. It's a curious feature running down the slope at right angles to
the pre-existing wall. My best guess at present is that it could be a
flanking wall for a flight of steps leading down from one terrace to
another. Work on this next month is going to be quite exciting.
The foot of the East Terrace looking
The new walling at the Temple of Flora looking north.