Unearthing Our Past

Anglesey Abbey and the Front Lawn

Archaeologists from the National Trust and Oxford Archaeology East will be working to investigate the medieval history of Anglesey Abbey.

What is happening?

We will be undertaking a targeted programme of archaeological survey and excavation to the south of the house. A series of small ‘test pits’ will be dug by hand on the front lawn, in front of the south and west faces of the house and in the rose garden.

The dig will be happening from 16 - 29 March. Check back on this page for the latest findings and discoveries as the project unravels.

Why are we doing this?                                              

The aim of the investigation is to better understand the early development of the site as a medieval hospital and Augustinian Priory. Geophysical survey and parchmarks identified from aerial photographs have revealed the outline of buildings which appear to be the priory church and cloister, believed to have been built in the thirteenth century. Along with information from documentary records and prior geophysical and earthwork surveys, this new evidence will be used to inform our understanding and future interpretation of Anglesey Abbey’s origins and development.

Artist impression of the Augustinian Priory
Anglesey Abbey - Priory Illustration
Artist impression of the Augustinian Priory

Who is involved?

Oxford Archaeology East 

Oxford Archaeology East, based just outside Cambridge, carries out commercial archaeological fieldwork in advance of development as well as research and community projects. OA East have worked on various projects at Wimpole for over 30 years, including the excavation at Lamps Hill in 2018.

When is it happening?

The Unearthing Our Past project will be happening from 16 - 29 March, so check back on this page for the latest findings and discoveries as the project unravels. 

Unearthing our past

Latest updates

19 Mar 20

The end of day four

Day four has brought us lots of exciting discoveries, and we've at last got a clear view of the north-south wall of the chapel, which spans the whole length of the test pit we began to excavate on Monday. The lumpy bit of the picture is likely to be rubble core, which appears to be toppled wall material, but we're yet to confirm this. We've also found more pieces of stained glass, and a piece of medieval floor tile, suggesting that the church floor may have had intricate patterns on it.

A clear view of the stretch of chapel wall at Anglesey Abbey

19 Mar 20

Preparing trench 2

We've started to prepare trench number two, and have already removed the turf ready to peel back the layers to uncover what lays beneath them. We anticipate to find the potential cloister, and will begin digging in there tomorrow (day five).

19 Mar 20

A piece of a puzzle

For a second day running, we've uncovered pieces of a medieval stained glass window, which has got us very excited! We're hopeful that we'll be able to piece the patterned finds together to reveal the bigger pattern, keep an eye on this page for further updates!

Stained glass found during the archaeological dig at Anglesey Abbey