Archaeology at the manor

three volunteers excavating with trowels in a trench

In the summer of 2015 archaeologists and visitors worked together to explore the origins of Brockhampton estate and set out to answer some questions about the early history of the estate.

We want to begin replanting the historic orchards at Brockhampton to increase the habitat for wildlife and help to preserve traditional orchard fruits. But first we needed to carry out archaeological investigations all around the manor house and into the orchards to check for hidden history beneath the soil.

Apple orchard Brockhampton Estate
Apple tree in orchard, blue sky

What we discovered, with the help for professional archaeologists, volunteers and visitors has challenged our assumptions about Brockhampton history and revealed previously unknown aspects of the manor house and chapel.

Graveslab dedicated to Barneby family in Brockhampton chapel
Stone graveslab in Brockhampton chapel

What did we do?
We used a combination of tried and tested archaeological techniques such as ground penetrating radar surveys, geophysical analysis and combined these with the traditional technique of dowsing using rods to see what we could uncover.

A volunteer tries out dowsing
Woman holding metal dowsing rods

This meant that visitors and volunteers could get involved and try their hand at a range of surveying techniques.

Dowsing experts carry out a survey at Brockhampton
two people walk on grass holding metal dowsing rods
Archaeologists carry out a survey over the moat at Brockhampton
theodolite and archaeologist surveying across the moat

Volunteers from local community groups and visitors also helped us once the trenches went in to excavate finds and to process the artefacts we uncovered.

Tray of finds from the excavations at Brockhampton
tray of archaeological finds including stone roof tile

What did we discover?
We revealed many new aspects of Brockhampton’s history including a new understanding of the history of the ruined chapel. We also discovered the types of crop that were grown around the manor house in medieval times revealing the cultivation of cereals for food near the moat.
The excavation teams also dug up some rare types of pottery, one of which had not been seen before by the experts who analyzed the finds.

Volunteers mattock open a trench at Brockhampton for excavation
volunteers open up a trench using mattocks

What can you see now?
New interpretation on site takes visitors on a journey through the excavations. A short film created by young people from local charity Media Shypp also shares the story of the summer of archaeology with visitors. The interpretation unveils what we now know about the site history based on these excavations.
Visitors can also see selected finds and replicas from the dig on display.


Summer of Archaeology short film

Young people from local charity MediaShypp filmed the excavations at Brockhampton Estate. They recorded what we discovered and made this film to share the news of our new understanding of the estate history.