Monument record LCS 221 - Medieval, post Medieval, and undated activity at Johnson's Farm, Leiston

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Medieval and post Medieval structures and field systems were found at Johnson's Farm, Leiston


Grid reference Centred TM 4334 6288 (344m by 372m)
Map sheet TM46SW


Type and Period (26)

Full Description

2016: A geophysical survey revealed trace evidence of potential archaeological remains. There was clear evidence of below ground archaeology related to the site of Johnson's Farm, its former access trackway and two ponds recorded on historic mapping. Possible traces of ridge and furrow were also found, along with modern land drains (S1).

2017: Trial Trench Excavation following the geophysical survey confirmed the presence of below-ground remains. Defined parts of a medieval enclosed landscape containing pits were identified. It is probable that these are the remains of a farm potentially dating from the late 11th to med/late 14th centuries with activity continuing perhaps as late as the mid 16th century. Evidence of medieval pottery largley comprise fragments of unglazed jars, a bowl rim, a few fragments of jug handles, along with a small skillet or popkin handle. These are typically of high to late medieval date. The only glazed ware was a single sherd from the shoulder of a Scarborough Ware jug, and another from the base of a late medieval transitional vessel. This indicates that the main phase of activity at the site was from the mid-late 11th to later 13th/14th century.

Post medieval remains are widespread across the site and comprise of field boundary ditches, ponds and quarries associated with the former Johnson's Farm. The majority appear to have been infilled during the course of the 20th century. Evidence of ceramic building material was found consisting of brick and tile, as well as a clay tobacco pipe c. 1750-1900. Hand forged iron nails, a narrow iron pipe and a copper alloy nail were also recoved, as well as a Post medieval iron key.

The environmental samples idicate the presence of a mixed cereal economy, with the cultivation of free-threshing wheat, barley, rye and possibly pat as well as legumes (S2).

2020: Archaeological excavation was undertaken following the results of the evaluation. In the north-western part of Area A, a complex of ditches enclosed the remains of a medieval timber-framed farmhouse. Recovered finds assemblages dated this activity to between the 12th and 14th centuries and included pottery, metalwork, shell, animal bone and both oyster and mussel shells. The central part of Area A also revealed small enclosure ditches, pits and postholes, some of which contained material indicating occupation related activities in the vicinity. Finds from these features included pottery, shell and animal bone, and also dated this activity to between the 12th and 14th centuries. Taken together, the medieval activity presents a picture of a dispersed settlement pattern, possibly sited around the edge of an area of common pasture on the clay soils with an area of arable
abutting Saxmundham Road to the south.

Medieval occupation on the site ceased during the 14th century, probably in the period of population decline and settlement retreat after 1350. The field systems surrounding the large farmhouse were infilled and the house itself was dismantled, with evidence suggesting the timber posts and beamslots were purposely removed, probably for reuse elsewhere. Agricultural activity, however, continued into the early post-medieval period, with a later field system regularising the earlier medieval arrangements along with a single pit of this period. Post-medieval activity on site was comparatively limited, with excavations revealing a break in occupation before the construction of Johnson’s Farm in the later 18th century, which was subsequently demolished in the 20th century, leaving only a fragment of wall and shallow foundation remains. Johnson's Farm is present on Hodskinson's Map of 1783. The farm, its farmyard, ponds and surrounding field system are shown in detail on the Tithe map of 1840, but some of the ditches were then infilled between that date and the production of the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1884.

A number of undated features were present across the site, which produced no datable material or lacked a clear stratigraphic relationship with any other features. (S3)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • --- Unpublished document: Feldkamp, C.,. 2016. Archaeological Desk Based Assessment, Johnson's Farm, Saxmundham Road, Leiston, Suffolk.
  • --- Unpublished document: Lucking, T.. 2021. Post excavation Assessment and UPD: Land at Johnson's Farm, Saxmundham Road, Leiston.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Pre Construct Geophysics. 2016. Archaeological Geophysical Survey: Johnson's Farm, Saxmundham Road, Leiston.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Archaeology South East. 2017. Archaeological Evaluation: Johnson's Farm, Leiston.

Finds (20)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Sep 21 2022 11:45AM

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