The King’s Room is a key room within the Gatehouse, which was named after Henry VII who visited Oxburgh Hall in 1498. Whilst work is underway on the roof, we are taking the opportunity to address a long-standing structural issue with a leaning wall and with the floor raised to insert the steel bars that connects the north and south walls, we have been doing more underfloor archaeology.
So, what did we find? The main surprise for our archaeologist, was the discovery of a thick layer of black material, which turned out be a mix of perfectly preserved oat grains and carpenters waste (saw dust, wood shavings and off-cuts) and ash all trampled down. This means the room has not always been the grandest in the house and in the 17th and 18th centuries it had become a functional space, serving as a grain store and workshop. Entombed here were the remains of what had been an invisible tribe of creatures making their home in dark corners of the workshop, including perfectly preserved cellar and mealworm beetles and little mummified families of mice.
Underneath this was the remains of a timber floor, perhaps the original floor. Resting against one of the rotted joists was a thin bronze coin. In fact, this was a jetton, a type of token used for doing calculations and accounts on a chequer board (hence the term exchequer). The jetton dates from the mid to late 16th century, when presumably the room was still a grand and suitable place to do the estate accounts. This timber floor had been constructed on a layer of rubble, which was a mixture of ornamental brick and stone. Could this be evidence for a fine building, which stood on the site before the construction of Oxburgh Hall?