Latest News: 2000 Year Old Settlement Found Just off Bath Road
Consultation has been underway on the City Walls Conservation Management Plan and is due to start imminently on Worcester’s Archaeology and the Historic Environment Supplementary Planning Document, part of the city’s Local Development Framework, which replaces the Local Plan. The draft report can be downloaded from the city council’s planning web page [ here ], or can be obtained by calling 01905 722233.
The proposed development of a new public and university library and history centre on and around the city council’s Butts Depot has moved on a stage with the granting of outline consent for the scheme, along with conservation area consent for the demolition of all buildings on the site with the exception of the former Joseph Wood office building. The demolition of the mid 19th century sawmill building, a fine example of industrial architecture, was approved in spite of numerous objections from conservation bodies. The scheme does however have potential for conservation gains in a number of respects, including exposing and improving the setting of the remains of the medieval City Wall, a new home for the county’s Archaeology Service alongside the Record Office’s public services, and a very extensive archaeological excavation which will include significant public involvement. The very high potential of the site for remains of the Roman period was indicated by field evaluation earlier in the year, which showed that the remains identified on sites to the E continued down the slope and on to the floodplain. The results of a borehole survey in the neighbouring car park suggested that there may also be waterlogged remains from the Roman period. This very large site represents one of the best remaining opportunities to investigate the Roman town and its relationship with the river and floodplain.
Two evaluations in the city centre produced evidence of Worcester’s defences. At Angel Place, on the N side of the medieval defences, the wall itself was not seen, but evidence of a medieval rampart and Civil War refurbishment was found. At St Alban’s, Deansway (the Maggs day centre, trenching next to the church revealed part of the Roman rampart, the first time that any part of this has been seen since 1966.
At Danesbury House, Sidbury, medieval remains and a Roman cobbled surface (perhaps a road) were found, while at The Cross, outside St Nicholas Church (now the RSVP bar), the discovery of a human burial found during street works indicated that the churchyard had once extended out towards the middle of the street.
Further afield, evidence of Roman occupation has been found in evaluations at Bull Ring (St John’s) and at Trotshill, while at the former military oil depot on Bath Road, extensive remains of Iron Age and Roman occupation were a surprise discovery on a site which was thought more likely to produce evidence of medieval or Civil War activity (follow the link at the top of the page for more on this site).
At Earls Court, on the W edge of Worcester, evaluation revealed a number of undated ditches and a posthole building of medieval date, perhaps associated with the moated site though some way outside it.
This year’s excavation at Commandery is described elsewhere in this edition. The City Council are now working with local partners to prepare a Heritage Lottery Fund bid for Fort Royal Park, linked to the Commandery. An archaeological desk-based assessment is underway.
Some important medieval buildings are under scrutiny prior to proposed alterations. At 70 Broad Street, two separate buildings of the late 15th century have been recognised and are being recorded, while a building of a similar date has been investigated at Middle Battenhall Farm.
Development is now underway at the Royal Worcester site. The modern porcelain works at Portland Walk has been demolished and excavation for the underground car park is underway. This site has been subject to an evaluation and a watching brief. At the main site (Severn Street), detailed recording of the buildings is due to start shortly, before the demolition of most of the 20th century buildings. The recording also extends to the more recent production and other processes, and there will be close links with a Heritage Lottery Fund project, set up by the Dyson Perrins Museum, which is recording the history of the works through the memories of Royal Worcester Porcelain workers.
Demolition of the important early cricket pavilion mentioned in the last roundup was halted at the last minute when nesting sparrows were found in the roof.
city archaeology office's
contact details are:
Worcester City Council
26 The Butts
721 132 (James Dinn, Archaeological Officer)
721133 (Sheena Payne, Historic Environment Record Officer)