List of Test Pits

CB27 and CB28

  • The oldest evidence of any activity on this site is a single Roman sherd. Thereafter there is a gap until the medieval period when both pits show a range of fabrics that covers the 12th to 15th centuries. There is more pottery of this age in the northern pit than the one near Church Street, but in both there is a wide range of fabric types that seems to indicate a flourishing trading culture hereabouts. The abundance of medieval pottery is not such that it can be said there was a house here, but in CB27 there is rather more than might be found in a manure scatter in a field. It is possibly significant that here, in both pits, there is pottery from the late 14th C, immediately after the Black Death, implying continuity through the mid 14th C plague here.
  • There is little pottery for the early post-medieval period: one Cistercian Ware sherd in each pit is the earliest. The paucity of finds from this period is widespread in central Bingham, being apparent in areas like this where there is continuity through the Black Death as well as where there is a break.
  • The stone floor found in CB28 is likely to be a 17th C construction and there is a small amount of 17th C pottery with it.
  • The side garden plot is separated from Robert Miles Junior School by a mud wall capped with a tile roof. Such walls were likely to have been commonplace historically, but this is the only one left in Bingham. It signifies a historic boundary between this garden plot and the glebe land to the west. It has been postulated that this wall dates from the 17th century. This raises questions why it was built and what sort of building was the stone floor in, when the land was not known to have changed hands in the 17th C.
  • It may be more than coincidental that in the Robert Miles School dig a crude stone floor was encountered and dated to the last part of the 17th century. Also in this dig a layer of rubble was found that is believed to be the debris from a rectory that pre-existed the Georgian building put up by Rev Walter in 1770. We usually assume that the site of the original rectory was coincidental with the current one, but this may not be the case and we do not know what outbuildings existed with the original rectory. The stone floor found in CB28, which is well made and a much better quality than the floor in the Robert Miles dig, almost certainly dates from the 17th C and the mud wall might also be from this period. The possibilities offered are that the floor in CB28 belongs to a cottage built in the rectory grounds, separated from the rest of the property by the mud wall and lived in by a tenant or that it is one of the outbuildings for the rectory, possibly where the curate lived.
  • The later history is complex. In 1776 it is possible that there were two adjoining houses fronting on Church Street, one in this garden site (the side garden) and the other on the site of the house, No 7, but the name of only one tenant, James Widdowson, is known. There is no indication of a house in the side garden on Sanderson’s map in 1835, but in 1841 there are two properties, a cottage in the side garden and one on the site of No 7. There is also documentary evidence that Mr Pilgrim rebuilt the house on the site of No 7 in 1840 and that a Widdowson lived in Church Street from 1828 to 1853. It is postulated that the houses shown on the 1776 plan were demolished and rebuilt as two separate properties. The western one must have been demolished before 1835 and the eastern one in about 1840.
    The tithe map for 1841 shows a workshop adjacent to the cottage in the side garden and there is abundant rubble in CB28 that could have arisen as a result of the demolition of a Georgian building on this site. The small number of thin, Elizabethan bricks found here suggests that part of the building may have been older, though there is no documentary evidence of one. Or it could indicate that older, reclaimed bricks were reused in the construction of the Georgian building.
  • The side garden was rented as a garden in 1873 and it is thought that the cottage and the workshop would have been demolished by then. There is no sign of the cottage on the 1883 O.S. map. 
  • The presence of sherds from the same pot in spit 3 and spit 11in CB28, that is well above and well below the asphalt layer suggests that the ground disturbance here in connection with the building and demolition of the workshop was profound. 
  • The asphalt is a problem. It is likely that the pieces found were part of a dump and did not mark the site of an asphalt floor, but such a surface must have existed hereabouts. Dating the asphalt is difficult. The inclusion of clay pipe stems in it suggests that it could be 19th C or early 20th C. The layer of asphalt pieces is within abundant building material. Brick sizes above and below the asphalt pieces cannot be used to speculate different sources for them, so the asphalt has to be regarded as being among the rubble derived by the demolition of the workshop, which is thought to be before 1873. Asphalt was used for paving surfaces in Britain as early as 1838 when Richard Tappin Claridge patented it. Its use was widespread in the 1840s and 1850s and there is the record from the Bingham Wesleyan School of its use there in 1868. It is possible that it was laid in Bingham in the 19th C when it might have been used as a floor in the workshop or part of the yard around it. There is, however, no documentary evidence of the existence of an asphalt surface anywhere in this garden to support this speculation.

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