16th March 2020:
Relatively little is known about the layout and preservation of the Medieval priory at Anglesey Abbey so the National Trust have invited Oxford Archaeology East to investigate the early history of the site with the help of volunteers.
Anglesey Abbey is a National Trust property in Cambridgeshire, located eight miles north-west of Cambridge in the village of Lode. In 1135, the last year of the reign of Henry I, a hospital was founded on the site and a century later, it was converted into an Augustinian priory. It was later converted into a private house and gardens following the dissolution of the monasteries before opening to the public in the twentieth century.
Geophysical survey and parch marks identified from aerial photographs have revealed the outline of buildings under the lawn to the south of the house. These appear to be the church and cloister of the priory, believed to have been built in the thirteenth century.
Archaeologists from OA East and the National Trust will be undertaking a fortnight-long targeted programme of archaeological survey and excavation, starting on Monday 16th March and finishing on Sunday 29th March 2020. A series of small excavation areas will be dug by hand on the front lawn, involving staff and volunteers from the National Trust and other local volunteers. Along with information from documentary records and prior geophysical and earthwork surveys, this new evidence will be used to inform the understanding and future interpretation of Anglesey Abbey’s origins and development.
There will be regular updates on the ‘Unearthing the Past’ project’s webpage on the Anglesey Abbey website over the coming weeks: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/anglesey-abbey-gardens-and-lode-mill/projects/unearthing-our-past
Visitors to Anglesey Abbey will be able to view the excavation site and learn about the discoveries. Please check the National Trust's website for details of events and guided tours: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/anglesey-abbey-gardens-and-lode-mill/whats-on
OA East and the National Trust are monitoring the COVID-19 situation and following government advice to ensure visitor and volunteer wellbeing and safety.
In 2018, a team from OA East undertook a two-hectare excavation at the the National Trust's Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire at the site of a new car park and visitor centre. Read more about the findings in our news article: https://oxfordarchaeology.com/news/813-excavation-at-national-trust-estate-uncovers-ancient-settlement-inhabited-2-000-years-ago