Manor Tennis Court Test Pits

Location

The footprint of a proposed development in the grounds of The Manor is that of the existing, disused, hard tennis court. It is bounded to the south by a garden wall (possibly the remaining north wall of a (tithe) barn or constructed from reused barn wall stone materials), to the north by the allotments, to the west by grass and trees and to the east a hedge.

This development presented an opportunity to carry out an archaeological investigation in an area close to The Manor which dates from c1260. Two pilot test holes were dug on 9 April 2018 to test the practicability of digging. The archaeological digs proposals were approved by the Trustees and needed to be carried out in advance of the construction ground works with August 2018 as target date to complete the test pits.

Historical maps show earlier use of this area as fields.

The first 20cm of material consisted of asphalt and a subsurface of clinker. It is presumed that the area was levelled, before construction of the tennis courts, by removing the topsoil and possibly more.  This level of archaeology was therefore lost at that time.

Archaeological Investigations

Three test pits (ID CB005-CB007) were dug over the weekend of 2&3 June 2018, metal detection of the spoil heaps, pits and area surrounding the tennis courts was carried out. The test pits were backfilled on completion. A resistivity survey was also carried out of the open lawned areas of The Manor grounds and the results of this will be reported elsewhere when available. The investigations were carried out by the Charney Bassett Archaeological Group, supervised by David Ashby BA (Hons), MRes Archaeology of the University of Winchester.

Finds

The finds have not yet been formally identified and quantified but some pictures are given below together with some preliminary identification. Some clinker material continued to fall into the pits during excavation hence its appearance at lower levels.

Metal Detection finds close to Tennis Court

Matchbox Superfast No 39 Clipper, 1973
Lump of metallic material
Victoria Half Penny 1861 – very worn
Obverse

Test Pit 5 Finds

Assemblage: tile, nail and nail heads

No other finds from any other spits in this test pit. [there was a post hole in the base]

Test Pit 6 Finds

Test Pit 7 Finds

Roman and Medieval Greyware potsherds
Roman Samian Ware
Bones and a small piece of window glass

Assemblage
Flint
Medieval pot rim
Medieval pot rim
Medieval pot rim

Assemblage
Bones and tooth
Glass slag
Flint