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Unlocking Sedgeford's Medieval Past

In 2018 we are introducing a new course delving deep into the medieval history of the very typical English village of Sedgeford.

Organised by Brian Fraser, John Jolleys and Kathryn Oliana, and featuring the assistance of the Landscape team, the course will run from Sunday 8th July to Friday 13th July during the forthcoming 2018 excavation season.

Standing building to be recorded in 2018

The team has the challenge of understanding the workings of the manors, agricultural practice, the economy and everyday life of the people in medieval Sedgeford, whilst looking into patterns of settlement and the buildings themselves.

The course will consider original historical documents and maps and how these can and have been interpreted as well as looking at residual features in the landscape and the descriptions left to us by 19th century antiquarians of features visible then, which have now faded away.

Hollow Way, Sedgeford

Evidence from archaeology; remote sensing, test-pit sampling, evaluation excavations and the ceramic record will be incorporated to consider the evolution of Sedgeford between the late 10th century and the dissolution of the monasteries between 1536-39.

Although the only medieval building remaining in the village is the church of St Mary the Virgin, historical evidence and understanding of medieval building techniques, derived from surviving vernacular buildings in East Anglia allows a possible reconstruction of the medieval settlement.

Tithe barn remnant, Sedgeford

Part of the course will involve walking around the parish to look at features remaining in the landscape, the roads and footpaths, and plot boundaries that may reflect the medieval past. A study of medieval graffiti found inside the church will be made to see how these can give us insight into the beliefs of people at the time. A barn has been selected for study in the standing buildings part of the course.

Graffiti, St Mary the Virgin church, Sedgeford

Middle Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Scandinavian Sedgeford was on the south side of the Heacham River, there is no evidence of any settlement on the north side during those periods, yet by the late 11th century the settlement in south Sedgeford had been abandoned and the village its church and manor had become established on the north side of the valley, where it is today.

One of the aims of the Project is to establish how? why? and when? this occurred. The course will be much involved in developing ideas about this and how those ideas can be tested to provide answers.

John Jolleys.

You can find out more about the Unlocking Sedgeford's Medieval Past Course here; and about our full range of 2018 courses and excavation opportunities here.


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