Forthcoming Reader,

As you are hopefully now very aware on this integral subject, the shed is gone, and I’ve already blogged about some old stuff. Let’s continue (with the medieval bits).

My main area of historical interest, especially as a kid, was the middle ages – castles, knights, battles – all the sorts of things that the sensationalised parts of history encourage in the imagination of young children. So the shed just might have been full of a lot of stuff from then.

This long bit of metal was something I had really hoped I'd find - it's a window catch, but the site this one's from dates it to c1500

This long bit of metal was something I had really hoped I’d find – it’s a window catch, but the site this one’s from dates it to c1500

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This wonderful knife blade is also late medieval, but very battered – it was recovered from a spoil heap put together by a JCB so was probably damaged by the digger.

Ironwork is a tricky thing to look after – it degrades quickly in the wrong conditions (similar to decayed glass) and what state it might be in was a bit of a worry, but I was very happy and impressed that the metal had actually lasted perfectly where it had been sat for the last ten years.

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There was a surprising amount of building stone as well as brick and floortiles in the shed, this is a rather nice medieval window mullion

Good quality building materials are often scarce especially on medieval Essex sites, where a lack of stone means that pretty much everything that could be taken away and reused was. Bicknacre Priory for example, after that burned down at the start of the 19th century, was almost completely pulled down over the subsequent twenty years and used to build roads.

On one site we dug on the owner of the medieval house that stood nearby came and asked if anyone would need the bricks when the dig was over. There were so many bags of them that we’d just weigh them and put that in the report, so after that they went off and were used to repair his house!

These were two floor tiles, probably discarded having been broken when they were removed from the floor as whichever building they were in was being demolished. The one on the right still has traces of its green glaze

These are two floor tiles, likely discarded having been broken when they were removed from the floor when whichever building they were in was being demolished. The one on the right still has traces of its green glaze

A close up of a nicely decorated medieval floor tile fragment

A close up of a nicely decorated medieval floor tile fragment

Danbury was of course a famous centre of tilemaking in the Medieval period, and since these tiles were found locally they may well have been made not far from my back garden where they now (or at least did until now) reside.

There was a lot of window glass. This medieval piece still had painted hatchings across it from whatever design it once had

There was a lot of window glass. This medieval piece still had painted hatchings across it from whatever design it once had

This little thing comes from a monastic site - I didn't know what it was when I first found it, but was later told it's a stylus and could either have been used for markings on wax, or for drawing out template lines in a scriptorium

This little thing comes from a monastic site – I didn’t know what it was when I first found it, but was later told it’s a stylus and could either have been used for markings on wax, or for drawing out template lines in a scriptorium

I suppose I should close this with something nice, and of all the pieces of pot this is a particularly nice one. It's just the base of a pot, probably a storage jar or something mundane, but someone had clearly attempted to pick it up before it was fired, and left their mark!

I suppose I should close this with something nice, and of all the pieces of pot this is a particularly nice one. It’s just the base of a pot, probably a storage jar or something mundane, but someone had clearly attempted to pick it up before it was fired, and left their mark!

Adieu, Happy Reader!

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