Monument record BSE 381 - Medieval features, Manson House, Bury St Edmunds

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Evaluation, excavation and monitoring, identified three medieal ovens possibly grain dryers, a number of medieval pits indicative of domestic or small scale semi industrial/agricultural activity.


Grid reference Centred TL 8562 6456 (64m by 57m)
Map sheet TL86SE


Type and Period (11)

Full Description

2011: Evaluation trenching in the grounds of Manson House has revealed archaeological deposits in two areas both fronting onto Cotton Lane with one at its junction with Pump Lane. An east-west ditch was identified along Cotton Lane that contained animal bone but was otherwise undated; the lack of ceramic finds could be an indication that the area was not settled and therefore the ditch could be early medieval in date although this is speculation. The trench at the junction of Pump Lane and Cotton Lane included a spread of occupation debris that is dated to the 12th to 13th century, which was sealed by layers of gravel and post-medieval deposits (S1).

2014: Excavation and monitoring in advance of residential development on land to the rear of Manson House, Northgate Street, identified significant evidence of medieval domestic occupation and domestic activities, or small-scale craft working and manufacture to the rear of shop fronts, relating to food production such as baking or brewing during the 12th-14th centuries. The boundaries of the modern plot and road layout as a whole are likely to date back to the early medieval period, when the plot appears to have been open ground and likely bordered by roadside ditches. No firm evidence of sub-division of the plot was identified but it probably consisted of a variety of individual yards and gardens. Archaeological features chiefly consisted of a dense collection of intercutting miscellaneous pits, indicating continuous activity throughout the medieval period. Although the pits' original function has not been defined they appear to have eventually been used for casual domestic rubbish disposal, with the finds assemblages being typical of the medieval town. Other significant features consisted of three circular clay-built ovens, similar to examples seen elsewhere in the town, which have been interpreted as grain dryers. There is a significant decline in features towards the end of the medieval and/or into the post-medieval periods, with no clear evidence for new structures, and an associated complete absence of late medieval and post-medieval ceramics. This suggests that although the site remained within the urban core there was a strong change in the nature of occupation and use of the plot as a whole. By the mid-18th century the area is depicted as open gardens or orchards on a map of the town by Thomas Warren, further indicating that the use of the plots as working yards appears to have ceased (S2).

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Tester, A.. 2011. Archaeological Evaluation Report, Manson House, Bury St Edmunds, BSE 381.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Craven, J.. 2014. Archaelogical Excavation Report, Manson House, Bury St Edmunds.

Finds (18)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Aug 16 2018 1:45PM

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