Newmarket Farm Dig Tour – Saturday 2nd November 2013 *and Sunday 3rd!*

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.

Watercolour of Newmarket Farm by Bob Phipps
Watercolour of Newmarket Farm, painted from memory by Desmond (Bob) Phipps, in about 2010.

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!

Newmarket Farm Dig by Dominic Sladden
‘Newmarket Farm Dig’ by Dominic Sladden.

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.

View SE over site from half-way up aerial
View SE over site from half-way up aerial on Newmarket Hill; click to enlarge!

And just to wet your appetite, here is a selection of some of the best photos of the dig:

6 replies on “Newmarket Farm Dig Tour – Saturday 2nd November 2013 *and Sunday 3rd!*”

Thanks for the interest. There have been a few people who have made the same request. We are always happy to show people around when we are on site. This is (weather permitting) Fridays and Sundays 10am-4pm. We meet at 10am in the Falmer Road car park, immediately north of the Bexhill Road turn off, Woodingdean. The dig continues till sometime before Christmas. The trenches must be backfilled before the winter frosts damage the archaeology, so how long we continue digging depends on how soon the cold weather sets in. However, there is a good chance that we will be continuing again next year – so watch this space!

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