Village dig reveals hidden past at Oxborough

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Organiser and founder of the group Kelvin Smith at the d

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Organiser and founder of the group Kelvin Smith at the dig.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A community dig has found remains of farm labourers' cottages demolished almost two centuries ago.

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Organiser and founder of the group Kelvin Smith at the d

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Organiser and founder of the group Kelvin Smith at the dig.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Oxborough History Group is digging pits next to the wall of the village churchyard, near Oxburgh Hall, where the homes once stood.

Members have found fragments of brick, glazed tile, pottery, clay pipes smoked by farm workers and the head of an iron nail.

Retired archivist Kelvin Smith, the groups coordinator, said: 'We know from old maps we've got that there were four cottages on this site and we know about the people who were here, their names and what they did - they were labouring families' cottages.'

He said the properties were not shown on the first Ordnance Survey Map of the area, which was based on a survey carried out in 1870, but are shown on a map dated 1720, meaning they were built in the early 18th Century.

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Village resident and group member Hilary Gay.Picture: AN

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Village resident and group member Hilary Gay.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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The houses are believed to have been demolished in the 1840s to make way for the Foulden Road to be diverted from west to east of the church.

Villagers obtained a £8,500 Heritage Lottery grant last year to fund their researches. One of the conditions of the award was that the money would encourage local people to take up something new.

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'Next year, we'll be looking for somewhere else in the village,' said Mr Smith.

'We haven't got any professional archaeologists, we're amateurs so it's a little bit of hit and miss, but it's a nice community thing to do.'

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Some of the finds.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Oxborough History Group archaeological dig. Some of the finds.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Six villagers took part yesterday. More are expected to join the two-day dig today.

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