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Stamp End Causeway

Reference Name MLI83321

Stamp End Causeway

Stamp End causeway.


The Stamp End causeway has recently been identified through important work undertaken on the topography of the early medieval city. The research has shown that in the 10th century a substantial barrier was created across the narrow valley floor between the 5m contours 500m east of the walled city. The 'stamp' element derives from a word meaning weir or dam.
Like the other conjectured causeways in the Witham Valley there have been what are thought to be votive finds recovered from the vicinity. These number more than 24 and date from the Bronze Age to the medieval period. Therefore it is suggested that a causeway existed long before the tenth century reconstruction. It is also suggested that during the Roman period also it remained a focus of ritual activity, and that it had been reconstructed in the 4th century.
Again, like the other causeways said to be in the Witham Valley, there is a monastic establishment at one of its terminals: in this case the Monks Leys estate, belonging to St Marys Abbey York, at its northern end. The location of the monastic establishments and early church sites close to the Witham Valley causeways are thought to represent the 'conversion' and guardianship of the important spiritual and ritual siginificance of the area to the Christian tradition. A monastic cell was founded on the Monks Leys estate (now known as Monks Abbey), and it is suggested that its obscure origins may indicate an early church site. Furthermore it seems that the monastery owned a causeway called 'le Stampcause'.
It seems, then, that the conjectured causeway which ran between Stamp End and Monks Abbey formed part of a ritual and symbolic landscape in the Witham Valley dating possibly as far back as the Bronze Age, and extending into the 16th century. The rituals probably focused on water features, including the River Witham itself. {1}{2}

One example of finds made during the major engineering work undertaken in the Stamp End area between 1826 and 1828 is in The Stamford and Rutland Mercury newspaper for 14 September 1827 that reads: 'Amongst the antiquities recently brought to light in digging the bed of the river Witham, near Lincoln, one of the most interesting is that of the skeleton of a human being, having the remains of a metallic circle of some kind round the skull, being most probably the girdle or fastening of some species of helmet. In one hand was a dagger or short weapon, and at the feet a piece of metal like a pewter plate, near which were several copper coins - not decipherable.' {3}

1 Article in monograph: Stocker, D. and Everson, P.. 2003. ‘The straight and narrow way: fenland causeways and the conversion of the landscape in the Witham valley, Lincolnshire’, in The Cross Goes North, Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe, AD300-1300, edited by Martin Carver. pp.271-88
2 Bibliographic reference: Jones, Michael, J; Stocker, D.; and Vince, A.. 2003. The City by the Pool including LARA. pp.22-4; RAZ 5.2, 6.4, 7.13, 8.3.2, 9.1, 10.1, 11.1
3 Verbal communication: Daubney, Adam. 2009. Personal communication. 07/12/2009

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Last updated: 09-December-2015 13:26:26

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