Element Group record MCC9340 - Medieval and Late Medieval features to the east of Turkey Cock Lane, Stanway


A number of medieval and late medieval ditches, pits (clay extraction pits?) and post-holes were defined (possibly part of a structure?) in advance of the construction of a water pipeline in 2011.


Grid reference TL 93562 24295 (point)
Map sheet TL92SW
County ESSEX


Type and Period (5)

Full Description

Between January and March 2011, Trench C was machined and features investigated by Oxford Archaeology East - the central (4m-wide) easement of a water pipeline by Essex and Suffolk Water, c.145m long to the north of London Road.<1>

A number of medieval and late medieval features were defined.
In the south-east of the excavation area lay a curvilinear ditch 297 and 324, forming the western end of a horse-shoe shaped enclosure. The ditch had a U-shaped profile, which measured 0.8m in width and 0.4m in depth; the fill was a light yellowish brown soil, yielding early medieval pottery.
A large probably circular pit 313 was investigated in Trench B, which measured c.6m in length and 2.6m wide. The profile was a wide U shaped with a depth of 1.05m. The pit was filled with a series of brown silty sands, one of which (309) contained a hand-forged iron nail. Adjacent to this feature was a large amorphous pit 296, which measured 4m in length and 1.1m in depth. The pit contained early medieval pottery within its brown sandy silt fills. Given there size, profile and lack of finds, the report suggests they were probably cut for clay extraction (they were on outcrops of clay). The location of the pits near to large field boundaries (318, 321) would suggest that this area was been utilised for extraction.
Part of a possible structure was present at the southern end of Trench C, consisting of two post-holes. The northern post-hole 301 was circular in plan, with a diameter of 0.3m and a depth of 0.4m. The posthole had a concave profile. A sherd of early medieval pottery was recovered from the light brown sandy silt fill.
Immediately to the south lay a much larger posthole 303; this had a diameter of 0.6m and was circular in plan. The base of the cut, which measured 0.50m deep, sloped slightly to the north ; the slightly irregular nature of this post-hole is consistent with disturbance caused by removal of the post. These two post-holes were situated within a depression measuring 4m wide and 0.2m deep, and apparently enclosed within the horse-shoe shaped enclosure.
A large pit 300 was located adjacent to, and to the north of, this depression. This was oval in plan and had a wide U-shaped profile. It measured 1.2m wide and 0.32m deep, and had a topsoil-derived fill containing medieval pottery. A similar U-shaped pit 299 was located immediately to the north, observed as 1.7m wide and 0.3m deep. This pit was shown to recut an earlier pit 298 possibly enlarging it and prolonging its use. Pit 299 was also dated to the early medieval period, as a sherd of sandy ware pottery was retrieved from its fill. This series of pits all showed evidence of topsoil infilling, possibly as a result of tipping, the purpose of which is unclear.

Trench C revealed features demonstrated to be Late medieval in date. These features were contained south of a large boundary ditch 318, which ran north-east to south-west along the same alignment as London Road (Stane Street). The boundary ditch was 6.2m wide and 1.2m deep, the sides were steep, with a flat base. The fills contained ceramic building material and a mixture of pottery, the latest being a medieval coarseware. A large number of struck flints was retrieved dating to the Late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age although these are likely to be residual.
Parallel to this, a further ditch 321 was exposed to the south. This steep-sided, flat bottomed ditch may have formed an internal boundary, the dimensions of which were 0.75m wide and 0.5m deep; it contained a single fill.
Both ditches 318 and 321 correspond to boundaries on the 1897 OS map; however the finds retrieved, being early medieval in date, would suggest an earlier origin.

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> EXCAV REPORT: Stocks-Morgan, Helen. 2012. Prehistoric and Medieval activity along the route of the Wormingford to Abberton pipeline: Excavation Report. Figs. 4, 5 & 7.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 28 2016 1:50PM

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