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Recording the heritage of our built environment is an area of archaeology that is less well known than the trench, and we do this partly by keeping an eye out for the opportunities presented by maintenance and other work around old buildings.

Recently Sedgeford's church of St Mary the Virgin underwent some structural work. Long-time SHARP team member Terry was able to go along to check out what was revealed and has kindly provided this guest blog post today.

Drop in and say hello to Terry in our Visitor Centre when you visit the site this year, and if you are interested in architecture and built heritage, have a look at our new course in 2018, Unlocking Sedgeford's Medieval Past.

And if you want a chance to visit Sedgeford's beautiful church, come along to one (or all) of our 2018 lecture series: more details here.

Take it away Terry...!

St Mary the Virgin, Sedgeford

St. Mary’s church in Sedgeford has been investigated several times in the past by various SHARP teams. This is important as the church would be a focal point of any English village from the early medieval period to the modern day. Earlier this year we had another chance to see below the everyday floor level as more building work was being carried out.

The south transept of the church, and church organ

The South East side of the church is where the organ is situated. Unfortunately, the underfloor support structure was made of wood. Over time this has rotted and deteriorated, threatening the organ, which is very, very heavy.

Brick supports under the memorial stones

The organ had been dismantled and the craftsman had removed the floor stones to repair and reinforce the floor. However, from an archaeological perspective... there was nothing to see. Apparently, the highlight of the day was a fletton brick (bricks made just outside Peterborough) and I had missed it. The floor had been disturbed in the not too distant past, hence nothing to record. What was uncovered however was another memorial stone that had been hidden under the organ.

Memorial to Ann, daughter of Ambrose and Elizabeth Fleming, who died in March 1727, aged 49 weeks.

With some of the floor removed it was able to see the brick supports holding up the memorial stones. With the organ removed it was also possible to better see a lovely little piscina placed in the East wall. As I was there, I took an unhurried look at the graffiti on the pillars of the bell tower, in anticipation of Mathew Champion’s lecture on medieval church graffiti coming up in the summer. Imagine my surprise to find my initials carved into the pillars at least 5 times. All I can say is “it was not me folks”. Hoping to see some of you in the summer, good bye for now.

The piscina in the South East corner of the church


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