The English Civil War at Longhedge, near Old Sarum
This roughly square feature, with further squares on the corners, was first seen in the geophysical results when this housing site was first considered for development. At that point, no-one was quite sure what it was. Although a Civil War date was considered, it was also possible that this feature was associated with the WW2 features that surrounded it.
We had a look at it in the trenched evaluation, but didn’t get much more information, and so an excavation was required as part of the planning permission. This took place in 2015 and the initial post-excavation works are well under way. The excavation demonstrated that the structure was indeed large and square with square ‘turrets’ on the corner. Its outline was made up of a ditch cut into the chalk.
There were also the remains of a small building with flint footings, which can be seen in the photo above in the centre of the group of archaeologists.
The trench that made up its outline was quite narrow and not very deep, as can be seen in this photo. The original trench would have been much larger, but ploughing on the site had reduced the levels very significantly.
At this stage, the shape of the structure was suggesting an English Civil War date, but we still had no evidence. Then one of the sections of ditch revealed part of a candlestick. This shows the torso of a figurine holding a candle-holder. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it definitely dates to the 17th century.