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CHER Number:MCB16055
Type of record:Monument
Name:Late Saxon - Post Medieval remains, Ramsey Abbey School

Summary - not yet available

Grid Reference:TL 293 851
Parish:Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire

Monument Type(s):

  • BUILDING (Late Saxon to Saxo-Norman - 900 AD to 1150 AD)
  • BOUNDARY DITCH (Late Saxon to Saxo-Norman - 900 AD to 1150 AD)
  • POST HOLE (12th century to 13th century - 1101 AD to 1300 AD)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (13th century to 16th century - 1201 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUILDING (12th century to 13th century - 1101 AD to 1300 AD)
  • DRAIN (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (12th century - 1101 AD to 1200 AD)
  • DEFENCE WORK (12th century to 13th century - 1101 AD to 1300 AD)
  • STOREHOUSE? (12th century to 13th century - 1101 AD to 1300 AD)
  • WATERCOURSE (13th century to 16th century - 1201 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CRANE? (13th century to 16th century - 1201 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (12th century to 13th century - 1101 AD to 1300 AD)
  • WATERHOLE (12th century - 1101 AD to 1200 AD)
  • BEAM SLOT (12th century to 13th century - 1101 AD to 1300 AD)
  • PIT (12th century to 16th century - 1101 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STORAGE TANK (13th century to 16th century - 1201 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds:

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Undated)
  • PENCIL (Undated)
  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Undated)
  • SLAG (Undated)
  • ICE SKATE (Late Saxon to Medieval - 851 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WEFT BEATER (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • WHETSTONE (Late Saxon to 19th century - 851 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHERD (Late Saxon to 19th century - 900 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BRIDLE BIT (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • BUCKLE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FERRULE (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FERRULE (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • Fishing weight (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HINGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HORSESHOE (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PIN (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PLAQUE (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • ROOF FINIAL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SHOT (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SPUR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOKEN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL HOOK (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WEIGHT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WORKED OBJECT (Medieval to 19th century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HARNESS FITTING (13th century to 16th century - 1201 AD to 1539 AD)
  • LACE TAG (14th century to 16th century - 1301 AD to 1539 AD)
  • STRAP END (14th century to 19th century - 1301 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINGER RING (15th century - 1401 AD to 1500 AD)
  • KNIFE (15th century to 19th century - 1401 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • PADLOCK (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WEIGHT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (17th century to 18th century - 1601 AD to 1800 AD)
  • STYLUS (17th century to 18th century - 1601 AD to 1800 AD)
  • TOKEN (17th century to 18th century - 1601 AD to 1800 AD)
  • COIN (18th century - 1701 AD to 1800 AD)

Associated Events:

  • Excavation at Ramsey Abbey School, 2002 (Ref: RAS AB 02)
  • Excavations at Ramsey Abbey School, 1998 (Ref: RAS AB 98)

Full description

1. An excavation was carried out on the area of a proposed building at Ramsey Abbey School. Late Saxon buildings on earth-fast post construction, possibly used for iron smelting, were recorded, followed by a 12th-14th century timber framed building with drains flowing east into a fish or eel pond. A short lived defensive ditch possible associated with the Anarchy period ran across the site. The site was then covered by post-medieval dumping and the footings for two walls. This evidence suggests that the excavation area lay within the monastic outer court.

2. A second phase of excavation was undertaken to the N of the first area, in advance of the construction of an extension. Four main phases of Late Saxo/Saxo-Norman to medieval activity were revealed. The earliest remains, dating from the 10th or 11th centuries, included two or three small timber buildings in the extreme south of the site with an adjacent boundary ditch, which may represent the early settlement focus of the abbey. These buildings were replaced by a short lived large enclosure containing an internal watering hole, with some evidence for iron working nearby. Further boundary ditches were recorded in the centre of the excavation area, with another building to the N. A large defensive ditch of more than 4.6m wide and nearly 2m depth, with an associated bank, may date to the Anarchy period, during which time the house was captured, looted and fortified by Geoffrey de Mandeville. A trackway leading to a large building, interpreted as a possible storehouse, was also revealed, together with additional structures to the N and E. At a later date, a lode was constructed, running for over 45m in a N-S orientation, with a butt end to the south. The lode was up to 8m wide and 1.45m deep, with a flat base and was fed by drainage ditches. Adjacent to the lode, features representing a possible crane were identified, which would have been used to off-load goods on the western side of the lode. At the dissolution the lode was backfilled with domestic rubbish from the abbey, and demolition rubble was strewn across the site. The area reverted to agricultural use until becoming part of the grounds of Ramsey Abbey School in the 20th century. Notable finds included a lead token, with a letter R on one face and a design of a bird pecking at a fish on the other. A nationally important collection of late medieval floor tiles were also recovered.

4. The results of this excavation has provided for the first time a sequence of occupation which can be cross-referenced to the existing historical records and primary sources. The results from Ramsey Abbey School will contribute to the on-going regional/local research on the Saxon and medieval periods in the Fen area.


CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24886.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24887.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24888.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24889.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24890.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24891.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24892.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24893.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24894.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24895.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24896.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24897.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24898.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24899.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24900.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24901.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24902.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24903.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24904.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24905.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24906.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24907.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24908.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24909.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24910.

CCC AFU, 2002, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey (Material archive). SCB24911.

<1> Macaulay, S., 1996, Late Saxon and Medieval Archaeology at Ramsey Abbey, Cambridgeshire. An Archaeological Evaluation (Unpublished report). SCB7143.

<2> Atkins, R. and Macaulay, S. with Spoerry, P. and Shepherd Popescu, E., 2008, Ramsey Abbey: Excavations at Ramsey Abbey School, Cambridgeshire, 1998-2002. Excavation Report (Unpublished report). SCB21158.

<3> Spoerry, P., Atkins, R., Macaulay, S. and Shepherd Popescu, E., 2008, Ramsey Abbey, Cambridgeshire: Excavations at the Site of a Fenland Monastery. Medieval Archaeology 52 (Article in serial). SCB21159.

<4> Macaulay, S.P., 1999, Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey. Post-Excavation Assessment and Updated Project Design (Unpublished report). SCB18976.

Sources and further reading

---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
---Material archive: CCC AFU. 2002. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey.
<1>Unpublished report: Macaulay, S.. 1996. Late Saxon and Medieval Archaeology at Ramsey Abbey, Cambridgeshire. An Archaeological Evaluation.
<2>Unpublished report: Atkins, R. and Macaulay, S. with Spoerry, P. and Shepherd Popescu, E.. 2008. Ramsey Abbey: Excavations at Ramsey Abbey School, Cambridgeshire, 1998-2002. Excavation Report.
<3>Article in serial: Spoerry, P., Atkins, R., Macaulay, S. and Shepherd Popescu, E.. 2008. Ramsey Abbey, Cambridgeshire: Excavations at the Site of a Fenland Monastery. Medieval Archaeology 52.
<4>Unpublished report: Macaulay, S.P.. 1999. Ramsey Abbey School, Ramsey. Post-Excavation Assessment and Updated Project Design.