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Archaeological evidence

Houses and buildings

Because Grantham is a town where pressure for land to build on is great, many of the medieval buildings have been demolished over the centuries to make way for new buildings. However, there are fragments which survive which archaeologists can record whenever new buildings are constructed.

In 1975 some thirteenth and fourteenth century pottery, including some fragments of a jug, and some with green glaze, was found in the garden of 15 St Catherine’s Road, together with a section of stone wall and burnt areas. Because they were found so close together, it is thought that this is the remains of a medieval house.

Some fragments of fifteenth and seventeenth century building stone were discovered during archaeological work at 51-52 George Street in 2002. These may have come from a medieval building which stood on the site or nearby.

Some trial trenches were dug in 2003 in the Watergate car park in advance of a housing development. The remains of Victorian and Georgian buildings were recorded, and under those there were limestone foundations which may be medieval. Medieval pottery was found just below the foundations.

Archaeologists found evidence of a possible tannery off Welham Street. There was a metalled yard surface and a dump of animal bone. A tannery is a manufacturing complex where the hides of animals are turned into leather, consisting of buildings for fleecing and drying, as well as treatment pits.

There is documentary evidence dating from 1272-73 (Hundred Rolls) that Richard le Syneker sneaked during the night to the house of Thomas of Swaneton and broke the gate of his tannery. Richard took refuge in St Margaret’s hospital, but was chased there by the tanner and caught. Two days later Richard was hanged.

A glazed floor tile was found during archaeological work at 98-99 Westgate in 2003. These were expensive items and would have been laid in high status buildings, like the Friary.

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Last updated: 3 March 2011

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