A guided tour of the Newmarket Farm dig site has now been planned for 10am, Saturday 2nd November 2013! By popular request it will also be given on Sunday 3rd November. Full details are given below.
The Newmarket Farm was just an ‘out-farm’ of Kingston near Lewes, built in 1830, and destroyed during allied exercises in the last half of WW2. What makes it important is its iconic location. It was situated just below the top of the highest hill between Brighton, Lewes and the sea, on some of the best examples of chalk downland in Europe.
As a result the area has attracted a surprising amount of history and pre-history. It is a story of great extremes; of shepherds and smugglers, of riches and debt, of hunting and mock battles, of Princes and paupers, of commons and enclosure, of ghosts and murder, of health and disease, of open downs and housing development. It was also the location of the happiest of times in families’ lives, and important for me, it was birth place of my mother, Peggy, in 1942!
The excavated remains of the cottage are definitely worth a visit; substantial flint and brick built walls, floors paved with beautiful terracotta tiles and imported stone. And a variety of finds have reflected the quality of the lives of the farm labourers and their families that lived there. There is good evidence that, almost without exception, they suffered from extreme poverty, but they clearly did what they could to improve the quality of their lives.
We have been researching its history for the past few years and a draft copy of our book, as well as the progress of our dig, can be read on this blog.
The tour starts at 10am at the car park just north of the junction of Bexhill Road and Falmer Road in Woodingdean, on Saturday 2nd November. It can be very windy so it is recommended to dress warmly and to wear sensible shoes or boots as the ground is a little uneven, but the walking is relatively easy and may be possible for an off-road mobility scooter. If the weather is bad a shorter version of the tour will be made.
And just to wet your appetite, here is a selection of some of the best photos of the dig:
Looking SE at diggers & Peggy’s brother, former resident Reg Latham visiting Newmarket Farm; 19th July 2013.
Looking East along northern site boundary; January 21st 2013.
Looking W across excavated area N of house from bulldozed rubble mound; 16th August 2013.
Looking SE towards dig site & Castle Hill NNR; 10th May 2013.
Newmarket Farm by Douglas Holland.
Looking SE at excavation of chalk rubble surface against side of house; 28th April 2013.
Looking W at drain, NE corner of house, and entrance to shed; 20th September 2013.
Looking S from garden boundary wall down path to front door; 9th August 2013.
Heel of child’s boot or shoe; 8th September 2013.
Finds, including brown teapot spout; 14th June 2013.
Digging the site of the toilet! 7th June 2013.
Porcelain cup shards with colourful flower design and intact handle; 22nd September 2013.
View to W – family visit – digging the toilet site! 3rd July 2013.
Mortise lock in base of demolition fill over path to front door; 28th July 2013.
Looking S at excavation of fill of ‘lean-to’ construction; 3rd May 2013.
Looking SW at corrugated iron sheet and other finds; 14th June 2013.
Looking S at my father, cousin and his children excavating outside toilet; 3rd July 2013.
View E across dig site and Castle Hill NNR; 28th April 2013.
Fragmented cast iron grating, probably for our gully drain; 22nd September 2013.
Looking SSE from outside front door to cottage to ‘woodstore’ at its NE corner; 13th September 2013.
.303 cartridge from under corrugated iron sheet; 16th June 2013.
View SE towards trench following line of water-pipe from water-tank at NE corner of barn diagonally across entrance to farmyard to NW corner of house; 26th May 2013.
Milk bottle shards from Woodingdean Dairy and other finds; 14th June 2013.
Looking S at ‘woodstore’ against E side of cottage’s N frontage; 22nd September 2013.
Close up of decorated pipe stem; 16th August 2013.
Decorated clay pipe bowl, 19th c.(?) from rubble mound; 7th April 2013
View SW over front garden from N edge of rubble mound near NE corner of garden; 11th August 2013.
Limb of ceramic figurine, pen nib, light bulb, and piece of red plastic; 14th June 2013.
No. 36M Mills bomb base; 26th July 2013.
Looking NW at brick edged stone floor of outside toilet; 3rd July 2013.
Looking W at trench 1A showing un-mortared bricks on E edge; 7th April 2013
Finds tray from the drain; 30th August 2013.
Plan of dig site progress, with next area to be dug in green – 22nd September 2013 – base plan from Selbach’s 1922 papers in East Sussex Record Office.
Looking W from top of demolition rubble mound at N front of cottage, including shed; 22nd September 2013.
Tautz button from surface of rubble mound; 7th April 2013
SW end of house, looking N; 10th May 2013.
Ceramic drain in front of junction of scullery/kitchen and shed from the drain; 30th August 2013.
Looking SE from site of toilet to site of missing well! 8th September 2013.
Lucite(?) bead, on floor of trench 1B; 7th April 2013
Child’s cup or mug; 9th August 2013.
Part of a cast iron coal grate? 22nd September 2013.
.303 cartridge; 16th August 2013.
Looking NE at unusual iron object; 21st June 2013.
Black rubber screw threaded stopper for Ballard’s beer bottle; 13th September 2013.
Looking N at N boundary wall E of toilet; 21st July 2013.
Rosette crimped blank .303 cartridge, made by The Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal, 1893-1904.
Mortise lock; 16th August 2013.
China doll face; 26th July 2013.
Looking NNW at west side of outside toilet; 3rd July 2013.
Looking S at part of front door – N gable end of house – 3rd May 2013.
Looking W at junction of internal wall with external house wall; 7th April 2013
Painted dolls foot wearing a shoe; 13th September 2013.
SW end of house looking N; 17th May 2013.
Looking E at excavation of E side of toilet; 7th July 2013.
Looking SW at partially excavated path (yard?) towards front door; 28th July 2013.
Newmarket Cottage, looking SE; 3rd May 2013.
Enhanced image of Smith’s milk bottle; 22nd September 2013.
Looking S at tiled floor near front door; 3rd May 2013.
Dramatic sky beyond aerial W of site; 8th September 2013.
Map of the Downs between Brighton and Lewes: Contour data courtesy of OS Maps
Looking NW at excavated outside toilet; 7th July 2013.
Newmarket Farm location. Overlay of old and new O.S. maps and Google Satellite images.
A button from the drain; 30th August 2013.
Looking S at digging E and SE of toilet; 26th July 2013.
Looking NE at excavation of W side of Cottage; 7th April 2013
Clay pipe stem with star shaped makers mark on heel, 19th c.(?) from rubble mound; 7th April 2013
Looking E from garden/farmyard wall across area to front of house, including unexcavated area over possible water tank; 1st September 2013.
Bob Phipps and myself on a tour of the east side of the site; 28th April 2013.
Looking W across front wall of house; 11th August 2013.
Photo looking SE at NE corner of cottage, including gully drain; 20th September 2013.
Looking N at excavation of wood – possibly remains of stairs; 28th April 2013.