Backfilling Newmarket Farm Dig – Tuesday 18th February 2014

Looking SSE at backfilling of dig site
Looking SSE at backfilling of dig site.

Tuesday 18th February brought our dig to a close when it was backfilled by Chris Groom and his wife Tina, with their skid-steer digger, and a garden fork!

Looking S at backfilling of E side of cottage
Looking S at backfilling of E side of cottage.
Looking SW at backilling of dig site
Looking SW at backfilling of dig site.
Filming by Barrie
Filming by Barrie Wood.

The sad moment was filmed by Barrie Wood, who is also interested in filming our finds, as well as our excavation if we obtain permission to dig again this April.

Now I am busy with writing up the dig, including finds processing, as well as preparing for giving some more talks in the coming weeks and months. Also there are exciting possibilities of support, with a forthcoming meeting to explore the possibility of an application for a Heritage Lottery Grant for a community based oral history project which would be in some way related to the history of Newmarket Farm. On a more personal level, both my own and my family circumstances have changed, such that I currently have less time to spend on the Newmarket Farm history project. All this has meant that although I have received permission to do more work on site this year, this will have to be limited to just vegetation clearance work, landscaping the cottage site, and surveying the surviving above ground remains of the site as a whole.

So further excavation work has now been postponed till next year. Whilst the majority of the objectives of the 2013 dig have been answered, we still do not know where they obtained their water. All we can say for sure is that their water supply was from outside the area excavated.

There is both a small area to the north-east of the cottage, and a larger area to its south which would require excavation if this important question is to be answered. The memories of three former residents, back from when they were children over 70 years ago, all differ – with the exception that they all remembered a well and not a water-tank. Unfortunately the only dig target we know of for certain is a water-tank!

There is also the story that two local boys during the war dropped a live artillery shell down the Newmarket Farm well, and were disappointed when it didn’t go off!! If – and that is a very big ‘if ‘- we find this shell (carefully) we would have both confirmed a local story, and know we had found the ‘well’. People drop things down holes in the ground, so there should be some interesting finds (even if – hopefully – there are no explosive devices). The presence of spearmint over the site of the water-tank indicates the possibility of waterlogged sediments, so the preservation of any finds may be good.

I can only apologize that this blog entry is considerably overdue. I have lots more exciting news to share and I certainly hope it won’t take over two months till my next blog post.

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