The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

For occasional articles, snippets and announcements by the Resident Historians. (Andrew Clarke and GH) These articles are presented in date order, but if you explore the back-catalogue, you may find much of interest. Historical information doesn't really go out of date! Any member of the F&DLHS may add an entry or make a comment to an existing entry once they have got their userID and password from the Webmaster.

If you'd like to publish any interesting material about the history of East Anglia on the site, then please send an email to the Resident Historians at Andrew.Clarke@Foxearth.org.uk and we'll add it.

Family Historians have their own area on the site, so look there if your main interest is in tracing your family history.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Time to Dig

Watching Time Team is one of the great pleasures of life. Almost uniquely amongst popular TV programs, the producers assemble real experts in their field. For the local historian, it is like seeing the inhabitants of mount Olympus. Can that really be Carenza Lewis, who wrote the fascinating book 'Village, Hamlet and Field on the way that settlements evolved in Central england, and the rise of the nucleated village? Can that be be Professor Micheal Aston whose book 'Interpreting the Landscape' is the bible of landscape archaeologists? Beyond and behind them, one sees a glimpse of a Middle England that one thought had passed away; of communities, goodwill, an interest in the locality, and fascination in the past. Schoolchildren with eager and excited faces, scrubbing away at bits of brick and stone with toothbrushes. Glorious.

If Time Team knocked on the door here and asked if they could have a bit of a dig, where would one point them? I suppose I am a bit spoilt having a round barrow at the end of the garden and a house mentioned in the domesday book, but there are sites near here that I'm aching to see investigated

On a conspicuous raised platform in the Stour Valley, is a fascinating site that gives every appearance of being a mediaeval moated house. In fact, there are two platforms, and what look like fishponds, overlaid by the later drainage channels for the victorian osier beds. The site is striking on aerial photographs too. Fieldwalking reveals a mass of chalk and broken rooftiles, sharply broken (the worn ones got deposited in fields with the manure). The odd thing is that I can find no record of a mediaeval house in the records office, and it is not marked on any map. It could, of course be a barn used for the Osier-farming, but then the layout looks much more like domestic habitation. Now, what a fascinating program that would make!

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