Community Dig 2023 group

8 King Alfred Terrace (Hyde2023 8 KAT)

datePosted on 21:34, February 10th, 2024 by Website Admin

Courtesy of Ruth Pelling and Richard Osgood

Supervisor: Briony Lalor


The trench in 8 KAT was to be dug in the location of a substantial shed that had been demolished in preparation for the dig. The shed was still standing when the GPR was run, therefore only one GPR transect could be run alongside the shed which revealed some significant GPR anomalies. There were weak indications that the wall seen in 9 KAT is present in the eastern part of 8 KAT.  There was a stronger east – west linear feature between 0.6 and 0.7m below the surface some 2m further north that suggests a wall (Plan 4)

The excavations

Two trenches were dug at the north end of the garden, which was previously occupied by a garden shed. The area was likely to have been the site of the south range of cloister buildings.

Trench 42

The most southerly trench, trench 42, was located to explore an area which was in an east west line with wall structure found the garden of 14 King Alfred Terrace and was limited by the location of the householders prized tomato plants. The first 400mm consisted of garden soil with significant quantities of rubbish from the occupation of the house since built in late Victorian times. At this level a concrete base appeared with a 120mm diameter hole. Further excavation showed that this was the likely site of a 2nd World War Anderson shelter, complete with fragment of cast iron soil pipe.

Below this level there was a layer of abbey demolition material under which the foundations of a substantial 1 metre wide abbey wall was revealed. To the south there was a clear cut associated with a robber trench to extract facing stone. On the northern surface of the foundations there was a line of roof tiles used as either a dampproof course or levelling layer for the wall.

The northerly trench, trench 43, was to establish the extent north of the south range of cloister buildings. The initial 400mm comprised garden soil with significant quantities of modern refuse. Below this there was a layer of chalk rubble and flints probably associated with the demolition of the cloister buildings.   mortar crumbs suggesting recovered stone being dressed on site in post medieval  period. Decorated window mullions were recovered at this level.

This was followed by a continuation of demolition rubble with non local stone rather than chalk and quantities of oyster shell. The context was medieval material disturbed in a post medieval period. Finds in this context included a delightful fragment of a medieval lead grill, likely to have been part of a covering of a medieval ventilation panel in an opening to one of the cloister buildings (photo 6). Main fill mortar crumbs together with a large fragment of 13 to 14th century decorated tile of a pattern not so far found amongst the 50 odd different tile patterns to date.

There followed a continuation of the demolition material but with a large quantity of oyster shell..  At around 1 metre remains of what was probably a cloister wall comprising chalk and flint set in mortar. Adjacent to this were the remains of a semi circular wall foundation – possibly a lavabo – with only the base layer remaining. Below this was clay which was either natural or, as reported in the literature, bought in as a foundation (and possibly waterproofing) layer for the original build of the abbey.

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19 King Alfred Place SO23 (Hyde2023 19 KAP)

datePosted on 21:31, February 10th, 2024 by Website Admin

Courtesy of Jenny and Martin Masters

Supervisor De David Ashby

Courtesy of Jenny and Martin Masters

Supervisor De David Ashby


The garden is an area which is shown on plans to be outside of the abbey cloisters but likely to be part of the site of the western end of the county Bridewell (opened in 1788 and closed 1845).  An adjoining garden (no 19 ) was one of the sites of the 2021 Hyde900 Community Dig  The trench there revealed the remains of a major foundation feature, cut by a curved robber trench. It was located in an area which was to the southwest of the conjectural location of the west entrance to the abbey church. Due to the depth of the trench the foundation was not fully excavated, but extends to at least one metre below the top surface of the feature, itself

 As there is considerable uncertainty as to the position of the western end of the abbey church .there are several interpretations of the function of this feature. They include

  •  The foundation of a major two storey wall of the building found in 1 and 3 King Alfred Terrace
  • The foundation of a tower located at the south western corner of the abbey church
  • The foundation of the western wall of the nave

The Excavations


Plan showing the assumed outline of the county Bridewell on a contour map with trench locations (red) and GPR results with abbey outline in brown

Two trenches were dug to explore a possible continuation to the north of the major find of a massive foundation structure discovered in the adjacent garden. The site was located to the find any extension to this foundation and confirm the location of the west end of the county Bridewell.

Trench 40

This southerly trench revealed a 400mm depth of garden soil. Below this there was a hard chalk raft  associated with the Bridewell. This was cut by a possibly post medieval robber trench to remove facing stone from a wall feature running north – south. The cut was filled with post medieval fill of demolition material from the destruction  of the abbey. The remains of the wall comprised a core of unfinished flint and hard rough packed chalk blocks with mid yellowish lime mortar.

Trench 40 Medieval wall feature cut by robber trench

Trench 41

This more northerly trench, as in trench 40, featured 400mm depth of garden soil This was followed by 500mm of rubble from the demolition of the Bridewell. Immediately below were the remains of a wall of the Bridewell made up of one course of roughly laid brick. This was followed by about 120mm of demolition material from the abbey. Below was a raft of hard packed chalk The raft is thought to be medieval in origin. This may have formed part of a western or southwestern wall or tower associated with the abbey church. The raft was cut by two holes with vertical sides. One, to the east was 500mm diameter and 150mm deep with a flat base. The fill was of medieval In origin. A second hole  to the west was smaller at 250 to 300mm diameter 150mm deep with a similar fill. These features could have been associated with timber scaffolding used during construction of the abbey.

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