Search

Fence made of animal bones among artefacts uncovered at Rainham Hall archaeological dig

11:11 28 August 2013

A volunteer sorting through findings from the Rainham Hall dig

A volunteer sorting through findings from the Rainham Hall dig

Archant

An archaeological dig at Rainham Hall has revealed clues about the building’s history dating back to the early 18th century.

The plant borders made from sheep bones found in the gardenThe plant borders made from sheep bones found in the garden

The dig saw a team of 24 volunteers join archaeologists to explore the Grade II* listed Georgian National Trust house earlier this month.

Among their most unusual finds was a plant border made from animal bones in the garden.

Local historian Keith Langridge, who was one of the volunteers, speculated that this may be an indication of some 18th century thriftiness.

Original owner Captain John Harle had many staff onsite because his personal and commercial exploits were conducted in close quarters, as was common at the time. Mr Langridge suggested the bones, believed to be from sheep and cattle, could have been leftovers of meat cooked in large quantities to sustain the workers.

The Rainham Hall dig teamThe Rainham Hall dig team

However National Trust archaeologist Gary Marshall, one of the co-ordinators of the dig, had an alternative theory. He said there would likely have been abattoirs in the vicinity around this time, which could have saved up the bones for the house.

Mr Marshall said he had never seen bones used in this way before.

The team was hoping to find trace of an outbuilding that was demolished in the 1920s. Rainham Hall programme manager Emily Gillespie, who was also co-ordinating the dig, said fragmentary evidence of what was probably one of its side walls was uncovered.

Also found during the dig, which took place over the weekend of August 17 and 18, were pieces of ceramic and glass. A near-complete brass oil lamp wick holder was unearthed as well.

Mr Langridge said the dig had been relatively rewarding, and added: “Sometimes it’s the smallest pieces that are the most interesting.”

Mr Marshall said: “The dig certainly exceeded expectations as we found much more evidence likely of the original garden than we had anticipated, including a gravel path running through it.”

The dig was part of an 18-month National Lottery-funded conservation and renovation project that will see future excavations focus more on the garden.

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

16:13
The team cross the finish line in Antigua. Picture: Ben Duffy

The first hurricane to hit the Atlantic in January since 1938 couldn’t stop four daredevils joining the elite group of people to row across it.

13:09
The map shows the net increase of new businesses, which have opened in 2015 by areas. These figures take into account the number of businesses, which closed in the same year.

As new companies are launched around the borough, Romford continues to attract most of Havering’s start-up activity.

Jon Hill outside Buckinham Palace after receiving his CBE. Photo: Jon Hill

When a loved one dies families can take comfort in having a body to bury and grieve over, but for decades the relatives of Northern Ireland’s “disappeared” have not.

The Havering Mind Mental Health Awareness event hosted by Andrew Rosindell MP at the Houses of Parliament

On Thursday night the Recorder launched a major mental health awareness campaign with charity Havering Mind at Parliament.

The 7.53am service from Shenfield to Liverpool Street has been cancelled.

07:00
The 230-page file was mistakenly handed over to the boy's mum

A data protection blunder has resulted in personal details of neighbours who complained to police about a teenage tearaway being given out – to his mum.

Yesterday, 16:11
Gallows Corner junction, flyover and roundabout in Romford

A plea has been made for traffic lights to be included in planned improvements to accident blackspot Gallows Corner.

Yesterday, 15:22
Junior Doctors on Stike outside Queen's Hospital in Romford. Lizzie Hobbs, Elaine Yip and Katherine Elliott

Junior doctors working in the borough will be forced to accept a new contract without agreement or further negotiation, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Champagne experience

This Valentine’s Day, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the perfect destination for lovebirds, offering a range of romantic experiences from Friday 12th February - Sunday 14th February 2016.

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe