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Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum
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In 2008 and 2009, SLR Consulting Limited excavated on behalf of NET2 to investigate the utilities in the area. They also completed four evaluation trenches; two or which were located in the area of the Lenton Martinmas Fair. On the north side of Gregory Street adjacent to the White Hart Inn pre-
Based on the evidence above, full excavations of the potential fair site were going to have to take place before the tram tracks were to be installed and constant monitoring of the works within Lenton were going to have to be observed during the lifespan of the Tram Project.
The excavation, which was the largest piece of archaeological field work undertaken in Nottingham City in the last 20 years, measured 1110m², lasted for 20 weeks and employed 20 field archaeologists. After the initial use of a machine to clear away the modern deposits, the site was hand cleaned and hand excavated. A total of five distinct phases of activity were identified which range from the 11th/12th centuries to the 19th century. A wealth of information was revealed by the archaeological investigations, which is summarised below:
Two large ditches were discovered containing 11th-
The main features of this date are the north to south aligned ditches which were situated towards the north end of excavations and were found to cut through earlier features. They appeared to continue beyond the northern end of excavation and it is therefore unlikely that the outer precinct wall of Lenton priory as suggested by Elliott and Burbank (1952) would have existed here throughout the 13th C and the majority of the 14th C, as the suspected route of the wall and ditches would cross over.
The purpose of a group of these ditches was perhaps to drain the surrounding wider landscape into the larger earlier, and now backfilled, ditch. These ditches seemed to go out of use by the mid 13th C and other ditches were excavated on a slightly different alignment. This reorganisation could be associated with further development to the priory complex and the Lenton fair, such as the designation of a permanent trackway or road through the site. As well as the ditches, a number of pits were recorded in this group. Evidence from some of these pits, such as the regular presence of bone and seeds appeared to suggest that they were used to deposit cess and food waste. One pit even seemed to have been lined with wattle, which suggested it could have been used as a latrine.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, there was a major shift in the organisation of the site and its uses. Once the Phase 2 features were infilled and the associated activities abandoned, a re-
Two enclosures orientated parallel to Abbey Street, suggesting its age, and, potentially, the outer precinct wall, were constructed during Phase 3. The northernmost of these, Enclosure 1, whose northern limit runs along southern extent of excavation and parallel to Abbey Street, measured 38m x 9.5m and may have temporarily hosted the fair as well as being used to deposit waste. Medieval pot, brick and tile were found in these enclosure ditches.
Within enclosure 1, a line of oval pits were uncovered. These are suggested to be deliberate recesses dug into the ground, may be to hold baskets. The lower layers within these pits contained 16th C domestic kitchen waste. Within one of these recesses a silver trading token of French origin was found.
An articulated cow burial was also excavated within the enclosure, and found with 15th/ 16th C pottery. It appears to have been buried under paving, around the same time as the coins were lost. The presence of livestock remains which do not appear to have butchered within the confines of the priory precinct suggests that cattle were kept for the exploitation of secondary products like milk.
The second enclosure appears to have been more intensively utilised and could have been a focus of market activity. Although only a small area of this enclosure was exposed, 28 post holes were revealed, potentially suggesting timber stalls.
A ditched ‘cell’-
A stone lined well was also found, and was made from reused stonework, some of it worked. The well suggests that there was a more direct domestic or habitation focus within this part of the site. The 18th-
The ditches are on the alignment common in Phase 3, which was perpendicular to Abbey Street, but they appear to continue under the course of what would have been the precinct wall. This suggests that the precinct wall was at least partially demolished by the 17th century. There is also a noticeable abatement in the development of features within Enclosure 1, further emphasising the apparent re-
Alongside the on-
Although the evidence points towards the partial deconstruction of the precinct, renovations to the cell appear to have occurred in Phase 4. These included the re-
Regular rectangular pits and ditches were discovered containing tile and clay pipes, however they were in alignment with early phases, which is to be expected as the surrounding landscape has for the most part developed around these features and continues to do so to this day.
Fieldwork was also carried out between February and April 2013 on Priory street and Old Church Street so that cables associated with the tramworks could be laid down. One trench was excavated on the footpath linking Old Church Street to Priory Street. From here, the planned route of the cable crossed onto the south side of Priory Street and proceeded west underneath the pavement toward Abbey Street
The approximately 60m-
Immediately adjacent, on the eastern side of this wall, a surface of large horizontally-
In the trenches located directly east of the main apse, human remains and further structural features were recorded reconfirming the character of the archaeological material present in this area.
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