Further discoveries in the church yard

Work has continued preparing the paths in the church yard for the new surface.  It is necessary to dig out all the old paths first so we can lay a sub-base of aggregate and then lay the new resin-bound surface on top.  Taking out the old path by the main entrance, we discovered what appears to be a gutter made with re-used bricks, probably from the Archbishops’ Palace.  This was behind the line of upstanding edging bricks discovered on Monday.  Some of these were glazed like those found on Monday.

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This gutter probably did not do a very effective job as there is nowhere for rainwater to soak away.  Indeed, the hard core added at the threshold of the gateway does suggest that water might have ponded at this point against the natural chalk.  This is the whiter area to the right of the path in the picture below.  The soft ground to the left seems to have been worn away, requiring patching, which was done with a lot of lumps of yellow mortar, presumably salvaged from demolition elsewhere in the church yard in the same way as the bricks we have found.

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Having exposed the footings of the wall to the right in the picture above, we have found the only example so far of a complete Kent peg tile.  Tiles were mortared on to the face of the wall as it runs down to the gate, but all the others are very broken now.

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The path has obviously been made up and patched over the years as it has received a lot of wear.  It is now ready to receive the sub-base for the latest path to be laid in a long sequence of use.

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We have also excavated the last part of the new path that is being laid to the north door to provide step-free access.  Nothing of interest was found in this area, although that is hardly surprising as we have not excavated very deep.

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Work will continue now levelling out the spoil heaps left from the archaeological excavation.  The job of laying the brick edging to the paths will begin next week.

Having discussed the situation with the contractors, regrettably we are not able on health and safety grounds to allow access at any time to the area where work is being carried out.  During the day, we have heavy plant moving around, so it is potentially dangerous.  Outside of working hours, we still have excavated ground and different levels that create a trip hazard.  Therefore the east and north gates will remain closed at all times while the contractors are on site, and no one should cross the barrier placed across the path by the War Memorial.  Anyone wishing to access Court Lodge Green (the “Bumpy Field”) from the village at this time will have to use the footpath along Church Lane, the gate off the High Street, or the gate from the Village Hall car park.  We are sorry about this, but it is the only practicable and safe way to manage this situation while work is in progress.

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