Experts unearth the history of site of new houses in Raunds

The site in Raunds
The site in Raunds

A silver penny from the 1100s, a collection of lead pistol and musket balls and a copper ring are among the medieval items found on the site of a new development in Raunds.

Experts from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)’s Northampton team have spent several weeks at the field in Midland Road, which will soon be the site of 94 houses.

One of the items which was discovered

One of the items which was discovered

Following removal of topsoil, the team has been methodically excavating and recording the archaeological remains by hand.

Senior project manager Adam Yates said: “We’ve found more than we expected to.

“We’ve discovered that there was a settlement here in medieval times; there are paddocks and enclosures from 1100 onwards, with other buildings probably dating from the later medieval period.”

Members of the public were invited to the site last week to see the findings for themselves, and were given guided tours to see where the buildings would have stood.

Another of the items found at the site

Another of the items found at the site

Among these is at least one building which surprised the archaeologists due to the quality of its construction.

MOLA’s project officer Jon Elston, who is leading the team, said: “It’s stone-built and was clearly very well-made, probably in the 1400s or 1500s.

“We think it might have been associated with a high status residence which would have stood nearby.”

Other highlights for the archaeological team have been the foundations of what might have been a tannery, plus fragments of horse harnesses and metal knives used for whittling.

Guided tours of the site were given to members of the public

Guided tours of the site were given to members of the public

Pieces of an earthenware jug and other pottery were also found, with some even featuring the thumb marks of those who made them.

All of the items will now be analysed by experts to piece together more accurate time frames, and to create a clearer vision of how all the findings fit together.

They will then be archived before possibly going on display to the public, while a report on the results of the excavations will be published.

Pauline Williams, Raunds resident and former town mayor, was among those who took the guided tour.

She said: “It was very good, very informative.

“My late neighbour wrote a book about the history of Raunds and would have loved to have seen this.

“Kier Living Eastern, their groundworkers JJ Mac and MOLA have been so good with us while this work has been going on – I even took them a batch of home-made cookies to say thank you.”

Nick Moore, Kier Living Eastern managing director, said: “MOLA have done an absolutely sterling job on the dig at Midland Road and we’ve been fascinated by their findings.

“We’re glad that the rich history of this site will be preserved for the future, and now look forward to starting building work on this fantastic new community.”

Once the archaeological dig has been completed, work will begin on Kier’s 94 houses, which will be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes.