The last area of the Anglo-Saxon church to be explored is the area under the porch. We had contractors on site to lift the flagstones.
Underneath the porch, as we suspected, the substructure is precarious to say the least and needs to be addressed before the flagstones are replaced.
We have found the nave wall of the Anglo-Saxon church, but sadly not the west wall of the porticus that we were expecting to find. If the porticus was the same size as the similar structure at Reculver, this wall should have been under the porch. The ground is very disturbed, but given that the nave wall has survived, it is strange that the porticus wall has not. This suggests it may have been much larger and extended further to the west where the nave wall has been lost as well. But the situation remains unclear.
The large foundation in the trench up by the War Memorial is thought to be later medieval. Having done some digging in the records, a good candidate for this structure is the “Aula” or hall of the Archbishops. This is referred to on old Ordnance Survey maps as a “palace”, but this is probably creating a grander impression than is justified. The hall, which we can perhaps understand as a complex of buildings around a central grand structure, would have served as accommodation, as well as including a great hall. It was extensively repaired, perhaps even substantially rebuilt, under Archbishop Peckham who became Archbishop in 1279. However, in 1382, the King gave Archbishop Courtenay permission to take stone from his manors (which included Lyminge) to repair his castle at Saltwood, so this may have brought about the end of the building we see in the picture above.
Meanwhile, we have carried on with the survey of the church. This has involved laser scanning both the inside and the outside.
We have also gone up on the roof of the tower.
From the tower, you get a magnificent view of Tayne Field, the centre of the royal estate established towards the end of the 6th Century with its magnificent great feasting halls. This is where quite probably Queen Ethelburga came to live when she was given the estate by her brother King Eadbald around 634. This shows how close the site of her church was.