Purbeck: Treswell’s Palimpsest

February: last week, meetings with Historic England. 5 hillforts in 2 days.

We were puffed out. It’s a long slog up the path to the ramparts of Hambledon Hill.

We paused near to top…just beyond the gate, and looked down on the Dorset countryside.

I turned to our Clive…

‘How did the conference go ?’

‘Good. I discovered a new archaeological term…now what was it?’

‘We tried to guess’   stratigraphic relationship? Harris matrix? Deverel Rimbury Culture?

‘Ah yes! Palimpsest!

High above Child Okeford, we gazed north beyond the chalkland into the Blackmoor Vale. Our eyes drifted across the sunlit network of field systems, farmsteads and trackways, disappearing into a late winter haze.

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The view from Hambledon Hill north into the Blackmore Vale

The archaeological metaphor. The palimpsest of the historic landscape. We nicked the term (archaeologists are scavengers). Wipe a slate clean but earlier messages can never be quite erased..look carefully…they can still be read.

Rip out a hedge, plough two fields as one, but the boundary will still be visible as a dark line.

Abandon a farm, pull down the buildings and walk away… but thousands of years later, scatters of finds will be evidence. Silent witnesses of past lives.

Wouldn’t it be good to go back and take a video or at least a snap shot.

Well, there are old maps at least.

Detailed Ordnance Survey will take you back to the 1880s. Then most areas are covered by the parish Tithe Maps of the 1840s.

If you are lucky..wealthy landowners commissioned surveyors to map their land..often in the 18th century.

Before that there are written documents but no visual links…but in Purbeck there is Ralph Treswell’s survey.

He was an artist cartographer commissioned by Elizabeth I’s favourite Sir Christopher Hatton.

Hatton’s family were from Northamptonshire, but after Elizabeth sold him Corfe Castle in 1572, he decided to carve out a Purbeck empire. He bought various blocks of land across this chunk of south-east Dorset and then decided to have them surveyed (this is the core of the National Trust’s Purbeck Estate).

The result is the Treswell Survey which took my breath away when I first saw it in the Dorset History Centre. It had survived the English Civil War and the plunder of Corfe Castle and been kept by the Bankes family in a cupboard at Kingston Lacy until the 1980s.

The maps are beautiful and detailed. Colour drawings of Tudor life and land tenure with the names of tenants and their land holdings across the Corfe Castle Estate in 1585-1586.

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Middlebere Heath 1586 with Ralph Treswell’s drawing of a Tudor furzecutter with red deer (no longer found in Purbeck)

Gold cannons line the upper terrace at Corfe Castle. Deer prance across Middlebere Heath. Working men stand with their furze cutting tools and rabbits emerge from burrows. High on the Purbeck hills above Langton is a timber beacon tower with ladder to the fire pot ready to warn against Spanish invasion. In the vale to the south, Langton West Wood follows the same contours as today, shrouding the worked out Roman and medieval Purbeck marble quarries.

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The signal beacon drawn on the chalk ridge crest above West Wood (bottom right) which was planted on worked out medieval Purbeck limestone quarries.

Farms and villages occupy the same locations as farms and villages today. The long boundaries across the limestone plateau mark medieval manorial divisions …Worth from Eastington from Acton from Langton..the boundaries survive today and can be traced back to Domesday of 1086 and beyond.

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The long boundaries of stone walls (still in the landscape today) divide the Domesday manors and therefore Saxon land holdings of Worth, Eastington, Acton and Langton.

At Studland, the coast has changed completely..no sand dunes then and the good arable land between chalk ridge, village and heathland is crowded with strips forming the common field system indicated as ‘hides’ by 1086. Studland Wood is larger than today but not ploughed since Roman times because Treswell’s map shows it then and under the trees today are the earthworks of ancient ‘celtic fields’.

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The East Common Field of Studland divided into arable strips between the chalk ridge of Studland Down and the village of Studland. Studland Wood is shown though larger than today. The tree cover preserved evidence of earlier Roman and preshistoric agriculture in the form of ‘celtic fields’. The name Castell Leyes may indicate the site of a 13th century coastal castle or fort referred to in medieval documents of King John.

The maps are a fabulous marker at a time when things moved slowly, reflecting far more of medieval life than can the later estate maps and tithe maps.

These Tudor surveys show how precious our landscape is. Built by the many generations of ancestors who have never been quite rubbed out. Their evidence is all around us. Treswell’s maps prove it !

Under the First Tower Corfe Castle

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Sometimes, at a distance, when the sunlight hits Corfe Castle… it seems whole again..

Just an illusion..it has been a battered shell since 1646, when, after a long siege, it was captured and blown apart by the Parliamentarians.

They made sure that the supporters of King Charles could not use it again..unpicking the defenses, trenching under the walls, packing with gunpowder and throwing the turrets and walls in all directions.

But this blog is also about something that happened 300 years earlier ..when Corfe Castle was one of the brightest and best within the league table of medieval fortresses.

About 1250, the 1st Tower was created for King Henry III.

When first added to the defensive circuit, this structure was a cutting edge design, built to protect the southern and western approaches. The barons were often restless.

A wonderful thing, with its rounded tower and its 3 arrow loop embrasures.. from these, bowmen or more probably cross bowmen could take aim and fell an attacker up to 300m away. A crossbow bolt could penetrate a knight’s armour.

We only know of one illustration and then only in plan.. drawn for the new owner Sir Christoper Hatton..14 years after it was sold to him by Elizabeth I. Such castles were old fashioned by then.

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Ralph Treswell’s 1586 survey of Corfe Castle shows the 1st Tower between the steps up to the Outer Gatehouse (right) and the Outer Bailey latrines (left). 60 years later it was blown in two.

The Parliamentary demolition team searched for weak spots and made them weaker. They set their charges and the explosion fractured the 1st tower.. right down its central arrowloop. It must have sounded like an earthquake in the town.. and when the dust settled, the east half leaned drunkenly outward and the west half  had been flipped 180 degrees coming to a rest half way down the hill slope.. This is where it has remained gathering soil, vegetation and scrub for another 371 years.

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Looking along the west wall of the Outer Bailey from the SW Gatehouse towards Corfe Village. The scrub covered fallen 1st Tower lies below the castle wall hidden by vegetation directly below the position of the church tower.

Other parts of the Castle have been cleaned and consolidated over the years but the chunks that lie tumbled across the slopes, or down by the river, have not. The largest of these pieces is the First Tower, and now …the scaffolding is upon it.

So last week I headed south through a cold winter morning of dramatic contrasts: on the high chalk downs, bright melting sunlight above vales of mist.. but down on the heath, thick freezing fog and brittle white frosted trees.

The caged Tower loomed but nobody was on it. I found them in the tea rooms beside the Outer Bridge. Architects, builders and property staff… after warm drinks we headed for the vertical ladder up from the ditch.

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The route up to the First Tower from the Castle Ditch. The standing half of the tower is on the right with part of the 13th century cross-loop visible, the other half is part buried beneath the lowest scaffolding.

A good time to visit. Most of the centuries of roots and soil had been removed. We climbed over the scaffolding and saw, up close, the medieval construction, types of mortar, the galleting of the joints and the different beds of Purbeck stone, the arrangement of rubble and fine ashlar.

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But everything in reverse. When we got to the top, we saw the great slabs of Purbeck Marble laid down as foundation layers before the tower proper was built above. Someone saw tool marks around their edges and suggested they may have been recycled coffin cover rough-outs.

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The foundation of the Tower made of large long slabs of stone, then rough block work, not meant to be seen, followed by the finely worked ashlar burr stone forming the battered plinth (three course vertical, three at 60 degrees and then vertical again rising to the top of the rounded tower).

A stranded whale of a thing, its construction now more visible than at any time since it was built.

Could we laser scan it and capture this revelation in time?

Yes it can be done.

It will be partly obscured soon, new mortar and capping needs to be placed over the Tower to protect the newly exposed structure from weathering.

Both halves will be digitised.

The scaffolding will be edited out, and then, by the touch of a button… the First Tower will be reunited again.

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Corfe Castle Begins

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It would be wrong to let the day go by without our NT anniversary post. This was the Outer Gatehouse at Corfe Castle, Dorset on 7th April 1986. I was there again today 30 years later.

The ticket office and the turnstiles are gone now and the Outer Bailey today was alive with people dressed in medieval costumes, amongst the tents and archery practice. Lots of children on holiday getting involved and soaking up the atmosphere.

In 1986, Nancy and I met the first mini-bus full of National Trust working holiday campers and we began to cut the turf to understand what lay under the grassy mound.

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Under the turf was a courtyard of limestone gravel and the west wall of the Outer Gatehouse guard chamber which had fallen against the curtain wall (to the right) burying a flight of stone steps.

The mound turned out to be a large block of walling, part of the Outer Gatehouse guard chamber which had been blown up in 1646. After the second siege, the Parliamentarian soldiers captured the Castle and undermined the walls. It seems that they filled the guard chamber with gunpowder and blew it to pieces. Everything flew outwards and the barrel vaulted roof dropped onto the floor burying the guard chamber fireplace and flagstone floor.

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Nancy excavating the diamond leaded window pieces. The stone west window of the guard chamber top right.

We found that the top and edges of the collapsed wall had been picked over and a lot of the good stone blocks had been nicked by the locals to make repairs to their houses.Well, why not after all the damage that had been done to their properties during the Civil War… some of the Corfe cottages acquired some very grand fireplaces in the 17th century.

The west wall had fallen and broken over the stairway that once led to the top of the gatehouse.

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Clearing the broken blocks of fallen gatehouse to reveal the stairway up to the top of the curtain wall. Part of the first floor of the gatehouse can be seen to the right 90 degrees out of true.

We cleaned the revealed walls, photographed and drew them and then it was time for the stone masons to come and consolidate the masonry.. the mystery of the mound of grass had been revealed.

I got a particular buzz when we cleaned the steps and saw the wear marks of the feet on the stone. Nobody had walked there for 350 years. We walked up and down them..our feet where theirs had trod.

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Archaeology SW Day 2014: Hambledon Sunset

This is the time to review the year and say thank you. The Christmas Archaeology Day is a good time to meet up, celebrate and share SW conservation work and discoveries.

We met at our new office at Tisbury.

The tithe barn at Court Place Farm beside the new NT office at Tisbury.

The tithe barn at Court Place Farm beside the new NT office at Tisbury.

Nancy organised lunch and talked about two Gloucestershire sites. Crickley Hill, which has had its archive and finds assessed this year (Crickley is a hillfort overlying a causewayed enclosure excavated 1969-93) and Chedworth Villa (analysis of the finds from the museum have highlighted some important new information about its Roman owners.. watch this space).

Nick (see FragmeNTs) talked of developments at Stonehenge and Avebury. Results from geophysical survey beside the great Avebury henge indicate an early settlement there and she also gave the latest on the plans for a dual carriageway tunnel under the line of the present A303 beside Stonehenge.

Jim brought a ‘Jamaica Inn’ style atmosphere to the room as he spoke of the wreck of the frigate’Royal Anne’ on Stag Rocks south of the Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula. In 1721, a naval ship, bound for Barbados was driven onto the rocks during a storm. The locals picked over the remains to remove valuables. The bodies of the crew are thought to lie in a narrow valley above the cliffs known as Pistol Meadow. Bournemouth University have geophysed the field and a scatter of trench and pit-like anomalies suggest the locations of mass graves.

Mid afternoon and we piled into cars and headed for Hambledon.

Last year we went to Whitesheet Hill on the Stourhead Estate, it rained hard and we got soaked but a good experience. The year before, a windswept bitter day. Cley Hill near Warminster circled by a war of showers, rumbles and shafts of sunlight. This year looked very promising.

The view of Hambledon from the Childe Okeford road. It looks a bit like a great green whale.

The view of Hambledon from the Childe Okeford road. It looks a bit like a great green whale.

We set out late. A squadron of 5 cars. The route rather convoluted between Tisbury & Childe Okeford. Out of the Nadder valley, over NT’s Win Green Hill, along the brink of the chalkland valley bordering the NT Fontmell and Melbury Estate and down into the Blackmore Vale. 3 cars made it to the lay-by. A phone call spoke of a traffic jam at Fontmell Magna so we climbed the hill. Meg who’d completed the Hidcote Estate Archaeological Survey this year, Carol researcher of Westbury College Gatehouse, Alice fellow Chedworth archaeologist and an astrophysicist from English Heritage.

Friday's sunset through the SW gateway into Hambledon Hill. The photo is taken from a large oval terrace cut into the slope of the hill. This was the site of a significant round house in the Iron Age.  This thatched timber framed building would have been the most prominent structure if you were to enter the hillfort over 2000 years ago. The entrance track splits in two in front of the building. The way forward either NW or SE of it. You would have entered the fortified settlement through double-leaved timber gates. Now the gateway is a grassy gap between banks as shown in the picture.

Friday’s sunset through the SW gateway into Hambledon Hill. The photo is taken from a large oval terrace cut into the slope of the hill. This was the site of a significant round house in the Iron Age. This thatched timber framed building would have been the most prominent structure if you were to enter the hillfort over 2000 years ago. The entrance track splits in two in front of the building. The way forward either NW or SE of it. You would have entered the fortified settlement through double-leaved timber gates. Now the gateway is a grassy gap between banks as shown in the picture.

The sun was setting as we neared the summit. The sky cloudless and clear. The SW entrance was protected by a funneled corridor approach between banks. There was a gap between the ramparts which once held massive double-leaved gates. We passed through.. and in front of us was a raised platform cut into the slope. We stood on it and looked back towards the sun. This terrace must once have held a large timber round house and as we continued up hill, smaller hollows and platforms could be seen all around us. There had been 100s of buildings here over 2000 years ago.

At the top of Hambledon’s chalk ridge we found the remains of a Bronze Age burial mound.The low winter sunlight was showing up the faint earthworks beautifully and traces of narrow ridge and furrow here were evidence that the summit had been ploughed briefly during the Napoleonic wars. Now the long concentric circuits of massive ramparts and ditches could be better appreciated.

The view south from the southern rampart across the hillfort interior. Middle top left is the SE entrance. It is thought that it was here that a charge by Cromwell's cavalry was driven back by musket fire from the Dorset Clubmen who had occupied the hillfort in 1645. Top left is the central dome of the hill which is the site of the causewayed enclosure dated c.3600 BC.

The view south from the southern rampart across the hillfort interior. Middle top left is the SE entrance. It is thought that it was here that a charge by Cromwell’s cavalry was driven back by musket fire from the Dorset Clubmen who had occupied the hillfort in 1645. Top left is the central dome of the hill which is the site of the causewayed enclosure dated c.3600 BC.

We walked north towards the middle. Here, a cross rampart blocked our way. We climbed it and looked back. The inturned SE entrance was clear and beyond it the dome of the hill top where the great causewayed enclosure had been excavated in the 1970s. Dated to c.3600 BC, the people of Hambledon hillfort lay mid-way in time between us and them…. but in 1645 Oliver Cromwell fought the clubman here. Back then, a mere 370 years ago. Volleys of musket fire from the Dorset ‘clubmen’ (who supported neither King nor Parliament) drove back a cavalry charge from Cromwell’s besieging forces.

The Wiltshire rangers arrived from Fontmell. Ben, who has recently led the repair of erosion scars at Figsbury Ring and Cley and Mike who’s formidable work on the Stonehenge Estate has led the conservation of the earthworks on the World Heritage Site.

We continued to the long barrow and wondered what this long ridge on the summit was. A 5,500 year old communal burial place or something else? It had been dug into in two places. Perhaps the work of Edward Cunnington who excavated here before 1894.

Two more silhouettes approached. Dave and Gill had found us at last. Dave had geophys mapped the whole of Hambledon and nearby Hod Hill. Gill monitors and records the Brownsea industrial archaeology as the sea gradually erodes the island’s shoreline.

One more stop at the northern cross-ditch. Some think the hillfort developed over time. First the northern third, then the middle section including the long mound.. and then the southern third was finally enclosed. The pottery from the northern ditch is Early Iron Age.. All Cannings about 500 BC.

A plan of Hambledon. The top northern part of the hill probably contains the earliest part of the hillfort. The remains of its southern limit can be seen as a cross-rampart just north of the narrow neck of the hillfort. Later, this neck was included within the defences and a second east-west rampart was constructed on its south side. This new area included the long barrow aligned north to south on the summit of the neck. It is thought that the southern part of the hillfort with its SW and SE entrances was the last part of the hillfort to be enclosed.

A plan of Hambledon. The top northern part of the hill probably contains the earliest part of the hillfort. The remains of its southern limit can be seen as a cross-rampart just north of the narrow neck of the hillfort. Later, this neck was included within the defences and a second east-west rampart was constructed on its south side. This new area included the long barrow aligned north to south on the summit of the neck. It is thought that the southern part of the hillfort with its SW and SE entrances was the last part of the hillfort to be enclosed.

“Look!” said the astrophysicist, ‘the last before solstice’ and as small dots on the whale-back of Hambledon, we felt the ancient world turn. We watched… and the bright full moon erupted from Melbury Beacon as the vivid orange sun plunged below the Childe Okeford horizon at our backs.

West Bailey, Corfe, Day 5 The Burial Ground

The view south across the finished  trenches and the West Bailey high above the Purbeck countryside

The view south across the finished trenches and the West Bailey high above the Purbeck countryside


A day to take photographs, make scale drawings and polish the archaeological record. This will be the residue of our days once the trenches ..and eventually we are gone.
Drawing the revealed part of the buried north wall.  Once, it is thought, the 13th century constable's house. Someone like Richard de Bosco  who made sure the Castle was at the cutting edge of military design for his master Edward I.

Drawing the revealed part of the buried north wall.
Once, it is thought, the 13th century constable’s house. Someone like Richard de Bosco who made sure the Castle was at the cutting edge of military design for his master Edward I.

What of past digs? Thomas Bond in the 1880s left his book on Corfe Castle and a few photographs.. and the RCHM scholars published their article in Medieval Archaeology and created their wonderful Dorset volumes. Volume II pt.1 has their account of Corfe Castle.. still the best .. though we have added something new this week.

But Corfe’s RCHM men were mainly experts in medieval history and architecture. There was so much to say about medieval royal Corfe that Corfe the post-medieval new money mansion got a bit neglected. Queen Elizabeth I flogged it in 1572 and from the Hatton family is passed to the Bankes. Sir John and Dame Mary garrisoned the Castle in support of Charles I, and, following its capture in 1646, Parliament insisted on blowing it to bits. It’s this late Tudor, early Stuart and Civil War knowledge of Corfe that the National Trust’s research over the years has built up. It’s great that Ralph Treswell created his plan of the Castle in 1586 but as we found out this week Sir John Bankes paid for a lot more work on his prestigious new home before its destruction.

One of the lumps of animal bone mixed in the limestone debris on the east side of the 17th century wall.

One of the lumps of animal bone mixed in the limestone debris on the east side of the 17th century wall.

Carol and Kate spent the last hours digging down on either side of our narrow wall in trench B while the well-cut masonry of the ‘Constable’s House’ was being measured and drawn in trench A.

We have some good information on some of the constables. My favourite is Richard de Bosco who served Edward I in the 1280s-90s. His name shines out as the Castle’s Project Director in the parchment account rolls which survive in the National Archives, London. He made sure that what was required got done. If you know medieval latin and can decipher the handwriting and abbreviations (I can’t but we found someone who could).. they’re a great read (well, if you’re into that sort of stuff). Month by month they detail the repairs to the Castle, naming nearly everyone involved and how much they got paid. Some good touches too.. like the candles bought to enable the craftsmen to work at night “in preparation for our Lord King’s arrival”.

Not a royal wall but a revetment wall. This the rough east side was not meant to be seen built up against a pile of limestone debris.

Not a royal wall but a revetment wall. This the rough east side was not meant to be seen built up against a pile of limestone debris.

In the 1630s, the Bankes family called on local builders who did a good job but the wall in trench B was very different to that in A. It only had a good finished face on the west side. Carol uncovered only a rough rubble surface on the east which was clearly not meant to be seen. It was a revetment wall, built to shore up a slope made of limestone gravel and rubble containing animal bones and the odd fragment of medieval pot.

The west side of the 17th century wall. Well built and pointed with orange brown mortar.  The sand and rubble peeled off onto a level gravel floor. Pottery dated this floor to the 17th century.

The west side of the 17th century wall. Well built and pointed with orange brown mortar. The sand and rubble peeled off onto a level gravel floor. Pottery dated this floor to the 17th century.

The west face was nicely finished and pointed with an orange mortar. It appeared as good as new, presumably because it had been covered by debris for over 350 years. It was probably less than a decade old before Captain Hughes and his Parliamentarian soldiers did their work. At the lowest level, were a few fragments of green and yellow glazed earthenware typical of the 17th century, just above a limestone gravel floor.

What was this lower west end of the West Bailey used for? The RCHM men give us an idea in their report, though not enough information..”of the later history of the site we have little knowledge except that.. at some date after 1600 the area west of the cross-wall was used as a burial-ground. The most likely period for this later development would be that of the blockade of the castle in the years 1643-6, when the use of the parish church-yard might well have been denied the garrison over long periods”. Sadly no explanation.. how many bodies were found and when? Where are they now? Perhaps a trip to the English Heritage National Monuments Record in Swindon to see if there are extra records there. No grave-like features appeared on the geophys.

What do we take away from this? Well, the obvious..that there is much that we still do not know about this place and particularly its use for the 60 years after Treswell. Our resistivity survey picked up traces of the ‘Constable’s House’ north wall and also the 17th century revetment wall in trench B. We found the very edge of another wall abutting its west side at 45% and the geophysics picked up its continuation south-west, parallel with another feature 6m further south.

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On their fold-out map at the back of Dorset II pt.1, the RCHM show a continuous cross-wall (Ben’s Shweppes bottle suggests some unrecorded digging along there) but we found that it was not continuous and not of the same period, but two walls following a similar line but built 300-400 years apart.

We also found that the erosion along the steep slope, from the east to the west sides of the cross-wall, was not causing any damage to the archaeology. National Trust staff have put a geo-textile barrier across the area overlain with clay .. and although the gradient is never likely to look pristine, it can be topped up with soil from time to time.

Someone said this week. ‘I came here as a child and today I’ve come back with my children, it’s so good, it feels just the same.’ Corfe Castle,..Dorset Scheduled Ancient Monument No 1, will always need funding, monitoring, maintenance and conservation repair to enable it to be enjoyed long into the future.

Carol found a shiney new 5p piece dated 2014 and we put it under a stone placed on the quoin of the ‘Constable’s House’. Then the trenches were refilled and we pushed the wheelbarrows back down the hill.

Trenches gone.

Trenches gone.

So that’s it. Many thanks to everyone for their help and support. Those who dug and encouraged and particularly the staff of the NT Corfe Tea Rooms.

West Bailey Corfe Day 4 Into the Garden

We had to cope without Ray, our front of house manager. Although irreplaceable, we did our best by rapidly annotating our illustrations with marker pen. Still very hot but a bit of a breeze so carefully placed Purbeck limestone rocks to hold the interpretation in place.

The annotated maps on the information table.

The annotated maps on the information table.

It was time to leave the ‘Constable’s House’ West Bailey and climb the stone steps through the gateway into the King’s domain in the Inner Ward. Treswell’s plan of 1586 shows a garden above the well in the north-east corner of this top and most prestigious area of the Castle. The feet of many thousands of visitors have revealed a wall forming the edge of the garden but it post-dates Treswell.

Ralph Treswell's Inner Ward plan of Corfe of 1586. The eroding wall is above the well (top right).  It is not on the plan so perhaps it was built for Lady Elizabeth Hatton or for Dame Mary Bankes.

Ralph Treswell’s Inner Ward plan of Corfe of 1586. The eroding wall is above the well (top right). It is not on the plan so perhaps it was built for Lady Elizabeth Hatton or for Dame Mary Bankes.

Today it was photographed and drawn to scale and Andy will protect it under a geo-textile and clay capping. This will stop the garden structure being worn away. We don’t know very much about the garden but it was probably managed and enjoyed by Lady Elizabeth Hatton who owned the castle from the end of the 16th century or Dame Mary Bankes wife of Sir John Bankes who bought the Castle in the 1630s.

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The 17th century wall in trench B was cleaned and the ground lowered on either side of it. In trench A Carol and Kate uncovered the buried wall face of the 13th century building thought to be the enlarged hall of the Castle’s Constable. When in residence he would have managed Corfe and the Forest of Purbeck for the King.

Carol and Kate have uncovered  the face of the 13th century return wall of the 'Constable's House'. In the foreground the smaller 17th century wall.. after a brush down.

Carol and Kate have uncovered the face of the 13th century return wall of the ‘Constable’s House’. In the foreground the smaller 17th century wall.. after a brush down.

At the end of the day Carol found a ring.. I wonder who it belonged to.

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Last day tomorrow..

West Bailey, Corfe Day 3 Both Sides Now

Ben returned to his trench today. He had researched on line and the bottle was typical of a Ginger Beer bottle manufactured by Schweppes in the 1930s.

Some of the older finds from the soil over the wall in trench B. Fragments of ox and sheep bones and more slender bones perhaps hare, rabbit or birds. The meds ate all sorts of birds which we don't bother eating today. In the tray there is also a black medieval cooking pot fragment and a green glazed medieval jug fragment.

Some of the older finds from the soil over the wall in trench B. Fragments of ox and sheep bones and more slender bones perhaps hare, rabbit or birds. The meds ate all sorts of birds which we don’t bother eating today. Black medieval cooking pot fragment and a green glazed medieval jug fragment.

He pressed on with uncovering the wall and soon the silver paper and bottle tops disappeared and a new layer was reached containing fragments of coal and lengths of tobacco pipe stem. When this was removed both sides of the wall could be seen. The east face was exactly in line with the medieval wall in trench A but that wall is over a metre wide. The wall in B is only 0.68m and not so well made. A void in the middle might have been for a post.

Trench B the wall now clearly visible but it is narrower and less well built than the wall in A. There is part of another wall on the right hand side of the picture meeting the main wall at an angle from beyond the trench.

Trench B the wall now clearly visible but it is narrower and less well built than the wall in A. There is part of another wall on the right hand side of the picture meeting the main wall at an angle from beyond the trench.

This wall is not shown on our only detailed plan of the castle.. pre Civil Ware demolition. It was surveyed in 1586 by Ralph Treswell. Perhaps this is evidence of a building constructed at some time in the 60 years after Treswell. Ben hit a orange brown soily layer mixed with a few fragments of stone. This looked like an earth floor layer and contained a small fragment of earthenware with a wet looking green glaze. This very shiny type of glaze is often found on 17th century pots so this might be a Civil War layer. We will see tomorrow.

This is the West Bailey part of Ralph Treswell's map of 1586. The wall we are interested in is the central one pointing north, the one to the left of the South Tower. The wall in trench B is not there..

This is the West Bailey part of Ralph Treswell’s map of 1586. The wall we are interested in is the central one pointing north, the one to the left of the South Tower. The wall in trench B is not there..

In trench A the wall is buried deeply below rubble we worked hard but it was a very hot day.

Trench A, footings of the wall discovered in 1952 seem deeply buried.

Trench A, footings of the wall discovered in 1952 seem deeply buried.

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