Monday, 2 August 2010

1. Monday 2nd August 2010

On the village green at Hartlington, near Burnsall, is a small stone-built feature that was first excavated in 1896 by a man called Cudworth. He concluded that it was a kiln but had no idea what type of kiln it might have been. It had been revealed by workmen who were clearing off centuries of general rubbish that local people had dumped there (early modern fly-tipping!). Cudworth left no excavation drawings, only one photograph and a rather generalised description.
The feature is described on the HER as a ‘medieval corn parching kiln’ 3.7m by 2.7m with visible foundation stones and in fragmentary condition.
The parish council and the YDNPA agreed that it should be investigated again to see if its structural integrity is still intact, and to see if its original purpose can be ascertained.

The site before excavation begins

Under the direction of Dr David Johnson, three members of UWHG turned up this morning to deturf and get this excavation under way. We were briefly joined by Dr Roger Martlew who set up the GPS fixed reference points for the site using the total station.

After a hard morning's work we had cleared away the top soil and revealed the stone work of the kiln.

We spent some time discussing the strangeness of the structure, which doesn't at the moment seem to make much sense. It certainly isn't a Roman tile kiln as Cudworth had decided. Neither does it appear to be a lime or potash kiln. The most likely explanation does seem to be a corn drying kiln. But it's early days - let's see what happens as the excavation progresses.

Getting very muddy underfoot! wellies are essential.

We are very grateful to local residents for car parking and toilet facilities. Very welcome indeed!

Jane Lunnon, UWHG

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