This site blog covers the ongoing work in the area around the original entrance to the hall where the remains of the original gatepost have survived.
Date: November 10th, 2013
Soil conditions around the left hand gatepost are totally different to the right hand – being dry,compacted dirt instead of the loose clay and crushed brick mix. It was therefore decided to open up a trench behind the left gatepost (trench 11). A line of bricks embedded in sandy clay was immediately revealed seemingly supporting the curbing (but isn’t quite). This gatepost also survives to a depth of four courses and, similar to the right hand post, is also lying (partially) on top of a hard surface. However this time the hard surface has been cut into (being higher than the one under the right hand post).
Digging further down on the right hand gatepost has not revealed much archaeology. However it does show that four courses of the gatepost survives (probably the bottom three form the foundations and the top course being originally above ground). There is also a hard surface just under the lowest course although curiously the stone is not directly on top of it (about a 5cm gap). The hard surface seems to be at the crest of a bank of clay (or is it the slope of a ditch?).
Date: September 22nd, 2013
Removing the bricks reveal that the culvert is lined with bricks but there is nothing lining the bottom of it. It’s difficult therefore to believe that this was a culvert as the ground is so porous it could never have held any water. More likely it was used to protect an electrical cable. The brick are a mix of old and new (most are hand made but one is frogged i.e. 20th century). The culvert goes under the curbing which we are assuming late 19th century – they could however have been removed and put back.
Date: September 13th, 2013
Opening up our trench behind the right hand gatepost (Trench 10) this week revealed what looks like a brick-topped culvert – possibly later than the gatepost itself as it seems to skirt around it.
Further clearing of the left hand gatepost proved difficult due to a large tree root but did reveal a broader base to the gatepost two courses down.
The curving section of the curbing, judging by the 1847 map, is probably the edge of the footpath created when the new hall was built. The straight section of curbing, looks like it was put down to control the tarmac which was presumably laid down sometime in the mid 20th century (in the process burying the path which by then hand gone out of use). This proves that the gateposts were still visible all through this time.
Date: August 30th, 2013
Clearing the left-hand side of the left-hand gatepost did not reveal a wall as thought possible – but it did reveal curbing which must relate to the later hall.
Date: August 25th, 2013
Discovering the original gatepost of the late 17th century hall could prove quite useful as very often they were positioned on the edge of the moat as these were at Low Hall near Platt Bridge.
With this in mind we decided to open up a a trench directly behind the gatepost (Trench 10). Two courses down but no sign of any archaeology.
We have one gatepost but what about the other. At roughly the right distance on the left facing the hall the left-hand gatepost turned up under more undergrowth.
(Details of when the right hand gatepost was discovered can be found in the Rectory (Area 1 Phase 2) blog here).