Day 31 – Broadening our investigations

The start of Week 6 was grey and gloomy and it was necessary to dodge rain through the day.  However, we have continued to work on the burials in the chancel and also have now begun to expand the trench by the War Memorial.  We have already found sealed middle Saxon pottery in this area and various post holes and pits indicating activity at the same date as the church in the mid 7th Century.  The line of the path offers the opportunity to explore a long transect across this central area of the monastic enclosure.  More importantly, in this area of the churchyard which has only been used since after the First World War, we know precisely where all the burials are.  In particular, we know there are no burials on the line of the path, so the archaeology ought to be undisturbed.

12 Aug War memorial trench 2

Further afield, a visit to the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral gave the opportunity to see the columns from the triple arcade of the church of St Mary at Reculver, built in the years after 669.  It thus dates to around the same period as our church.  In its original construction, it had a north and south porticus, straddling the arcade that divided the chancel from the nave, just as at Lyminge, although we of course have only one porticus.  Each porticus had an entrance from the outside and from the chancel.  The church was some 18m long, a little larger than the one in Lyminge.  The nave was the same width as the chancel, so different from Lyminge in this respect, but otherwise it was very similar.  Sadly, and indeed scandalously, the church was demolished in 1805.  This was controversial even at the time.  However, the columns of the arcade were found later in the 19th Century mostly in the orchard of a farm close by, with a further piece in the farmyard.  They were taken to Canterbury where they are now on display.  The size of these columns appears very similar to the dimensions of our own column fragment, suggesting that the interior of our church would have supported an arcade of similar dimensions.  Arches would have sprung from the tops of these columns.  This suggests the church was narrow but proportionately quite lofty.

12 Aug Reculver columns

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