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HER Number:MDV12501
Name:Medieval Settlement, Paiges Lane, Barnstaple

Summary

Site of a medieval settlement between Paiges Lane, Holland Street and Cross Street. Excavations revealed evidence for a large stone building dating to about 1350. Alongside, Paiges Lane seems to have been developed about the same time, providing access to High Street and to a row of cottages. Beneath these several phases of timber buildings were found dating back to the 11th century and earlier.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 557 332
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 34034
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/176
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53SE51

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SETTLEMENT (VII to XVI - 700 AD to 1540 AD (Between))

Full description

Cullen, B + Thompson, S, 09/2013, Joy Street, Green Lanes, Barnstaple, Evaluation, 3, 4 (Report - Evaluation). SDV357185.


Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Area of dense building shown on 19th century map around 'Paige's Lane' in Barnstaple. Many small interconnected buildings to the west of Paiges Lane and longer plots to the east.


Worthy, C., 1884, Notes - Genealogical and Historical - Being a Second Essay towards a History of Bideford, 676 (Article in Serial). SDV18900.

During the reign of Edward IV, Thomas Redwyn gave a rent charge of 12d from his tenement and courtlage near Page Lane, Barnstaple, for the benefit of Bideford Bridge.


Miles, T., 19/07/1977, Holland Street Excavations. Progress Report (Report - Excavation). SDV344489.

600 square metres fronting Holland Street excavated to the natural in 1977. At a depth of 7 metres, beneath deposits of pebbles and silts, an ancient shoreline with pebbles, gravel and seaweed was found against a buried cliff. Evidence for Bronze Age occupation was found in the form of scoop containing charcoal, flints, black and white stones and a few sherds of decorated Bronze Age pottery. The corner of a pre-Norman building comprising 9 postholes in a foundation trench was also discovered. A layer of soil upto 35 centimetres thick over most of the site contained 12th and 13th century pottery and suggests that the land was used for orchards or paddocks at this time. From the mid 15th century there was almost continuous building activity evidenced by the remains of 15th and 16th century stone buildings surrounded by sequences of timber structures, rubbish pits and wells. These pits and wells are producing quantities of finds dating to the 15th-18th centuries. The floor surfaces indicate industrial rather than domestic activity. The late 17th, 18th and 19th century levels, however, have been much damaged by demolition and the construction of a car park.


Unknown, 1974, Barnstaple, 308 (Article in Serial). SDV356770.

Excavations in 1974 revealed a substantial stone building of c1350 which lasted till about 1820 when it was replaced by warehouses. Alongside, Paiges Lane appears to date to about the same time, providing rear access to High Street and to a line of small stone cottages. Beneath these were phases of timber buildings going back to the 11th century and earlier.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 1 (Article in Serial). SDV344485.

Extensive trial excavation prior to redevelopment on a site midway between the medieval high street and medieval waterfront. At the time of writing no results were known but it was considered that buildings would almost certainly be found dating from the Saxon period onwards. Excavations in 1973 in Joy Street suggested that the modern street plan of Barnstaple was first laid out in Saxon times. Properties were originally timber-built but in the 13th century prosperous traders rebuilt their houses in stone. A stone wall was also erected around the town at this time and the first bridge built across the River Taw.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 2 (Article in Serial). SDV344486.

The foundations of a 19th century warehouse building were uncovered during excavations in 1974. The construction of the warehouse had removed most of the floor levels of a well-constructed stone building fronting Paiges Lane dating from about 1400AD. A yard or garden was found behind the building bounded by an earth bank faced with stone. A well and a number of rubbish pits were also found. The house was remodelled in the 17th century, the well was filled and a new brick-lined one was dug. A small building was added at the back with a cellar. The cellar appears to have been filled-in circa 1740 but the house seems to have continued in use until the warehouse was built in the 19th century. Quantities of pottery including moulded floor tiles made in Barnstaple at the end of the 17th century and a fragment of 16th century imported Spanish wall tile.


Miles, T., 1974, News Bulletin No. 3 (Article in Serial). SDV344487.

Beneath the floor of the medieval stone building foundation trenches were found for timber buildings. The earliest of these produced no pottery and maybe Saxon in date. Others were dated by associated pottery to the 12th and 13th centuries. The stone buildings of circa 1400 had a well about 14 feet deep, which was filled in about 1500 and a stone-lined cess pit set against the boundary bank. Beyond this boundary was a garden area in medieval times into which two wells were dug in the 18th century. A boundary ditch crossed this area which was found to contain a sherd of early Norman pottery. Beneath the cellar was a well or soak-away in excess of 10 feet deep.


1974, Unknown, 308 (Article in Serial). SDV82157.


Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 76 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.


Miles, T., 1977, Barnstaple - Paiges Lane/Holland Street, 8-9 (Article in Serial). SDV354893.

Excavation undertaken in 1977 of an area of 1,120 square metres at the junction of Paiges Lane and Holland Street in advance of redevelopment. The site, on a silt and gravel terrace, roughly central to the presumed area of the medieval town, revealed the following sequence :-
a) Prehistoric - flint scatter, small post-pit filled with charcoal and stones, small sherds of decorated Bronze Age pottery.
b) Saxon - two boundary ditches circa 1 metre wide and at right-angles were aceramic and considered to be Saxon.
c) Medieval - large post holes containing 'earliest Norman' pottery were followed by a series of insubstantial buildings and 12th and 13th century rubbish pits. At least four stone buildings were erected in circa 1300-1350 on Paiges Lane which may have originated in this period. A building of circa 1450-1500 on Holland Street may have been a shop with a metal working area at the rear. Many medieval rubbish pits and one Medieval well recorded, but artefactual evidence was meagre.
d) post Medieval - the medieval buildings on Paiges Lane were much altered circa 1680-1730 and became a row of 8-10 cottages. The Holland Street properties were rebuilt circa 1800. The foundations of Holland House, which was built at the end of the 17th century in the centre of the excavation area were not found. Good groups of Post Medieval pottery from rubbish pits.


Miles, T., 1977, Slides of 1977 Excavations (Photograph). SDV82156.


Markuson, K. W., 1980, Barnstaple Survey (Un-published). SDV356766.


Henderson, C., 1983, Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Devon Archaeological Statement. Appendix 6, 23 (Un-published). SDV357965.


Rance, C. + Weddell, P. J., 1994, An Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Marks and Spencer Development in Holland Street and Paiges Lane, Barnstaple (Report - Assessment). SDV82149.

Miles' 1977 excavation, which included frontages onto Paiges Lane and Holland Street, have not yet been published, but identified early features including a possible Bronze Age hearth. Boundary features running roughly parallel to Paiges Lane and Holland Street date from Late Saxon times. A series of stake holes were interpreted as early features of the settlement. No finds were recovered; this is significant as Late Saxon Barnstaple is believed to be aceramic. The Medieval frontage onto Holland Street no longer exists due to road widening over 300 years. There was evidence of timber structures possibly dating to 11th or 12th century. Late Medieval pits and a bell-casting pit, along with Post Medieval wells and pits were also found.


Matthews, A. J. + Weddell, P. J., 1994, An Archaeological Evaluation at the Marks and Spencer Development Site in Holland Street and Paiges Lane, Barnstaple (Report - Evaluation). SDV89933.

Evaluation trench (T1) indicated little recent disturbance. Stratification appears to represent a series of horizons within a garden or open plot behind Holland Street dating to the 16th century. Material may have accumulated against the boundary wall between Numbers 3 and 4 Holland Street, which appears to have been a significant and well established property boundary. A well was located in T3. Date and depth not known, but Post Medieval wells and pits are known to have been located in this area. Trench 4 produced no evidence for Medieval stratification. Deposits indicate that this area lay outside a building fronting onto Holland Street. Cartographic evidence shows that this plot was not built up in 19th century, apart from the frontage itself.


Exeter Archaeology, 2003, Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment, 21 (Report - Assessment). SDV319631.


National Monuments Record, 2010, 34034 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV344490.

Foundations of a possible early Medieval building, a 13th century building, a late 15th century building with 17th century additions and a warehouse constructed in about 1820 were identified during excavations in advance of re-development in 1974. Other details: SS53SE51.


Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.


Southwest Archaeology, 2013, Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database, Mapping Areas 534, 535 (Un-published). SDV351581.


Timms, S., 24/06/1981, Redevelopment of Paiges Lane/Holland Street (Personal Comment). SDV350756.

Redevelopment of this large site by Marks and Spencer is nearing completion. The scheme has not respected Paiges Lane, which is now blocked off by the new store. No record was made during its construction. Trial excavation by T. Miles for the Barnstaple Excavation Committee revealed a structure of circa 1350 which lasted until it was replaced by warehouses in circa 1820. Paiges Lane may have been inserted into town plan in circa 1350. It gave access to row of stone cottages beneath which timber built phases on a different alignment were found dating back to the 11th century or earlier.


24/06/1981, Slides (Photograph). SDV82155.


Miles, T., 30/05/1977, 1977 Excavation at Paiges Lane/Holland Street (Report - Excavation). SDV344488.


Unknown, Unknown, Sites Excavated 1972-1978 by T. Miles (Cartographic). SDV357959.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SS53SE51 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV82152.

Excavation of a limited area was undertaken in 1974 in advance of redevelopment which revealed the following sequence:
a) Fragments of rough floors and flimsy timber structures; no dateable finds, and presumed Pre Norman.
b) Rough floors and stone footings with circa 13th century pottery.
c) Substantial stone building circa late 15th century with 17th century additions.
d) Warehouse foundations of about 1820.
Site visit: 5th April 1976. Area in temporary use as car park.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV18900Article in Serial: Worthy, C.. 1884. Notes - Genealogical and Historical - Being a Second Essay towards a History of Bideford. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 16. Unknown. 676.
SDV319631Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2003. Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.62. A4 Stapled + Digital. 21.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 76.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #80528 ]
SDV344485Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 1. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344486Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 2. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 2. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344487Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1974. News Bulletin No. 3. Barnstaple Excavations 1974: News Bulletin. 3. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344488Report - Excavation: Miles, T.. 30/05/1977. 1977 Excavation at Paiges Lane/Holland Street. Barnstaple and North Devon Rescue Archaeology Committee Report. Bulletin No. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344489Report - Excavation: Miles, T.. 19/07/1977. Holland Street Excavations. Progress Report. Barnstaple and North Devon Rescue Archaeology Committee Report. A4 Single Sheet + Digital.
SDV344490National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 34034. National Monuments Record Index. Website.
SDV350756Personal Comment: Timms, S.. 24/06/1981. Redevelopment of Paiges Lane/Holland Street. Not Applicable.
SDV351581Un-published: Southwest Archaeology. 2013. Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database. Greater Barnstaple Area Project. Digital. Mapping Areas 534, 535.
SDV354893Article in Serial: Miles, T.. 1977. Barnstaple - Paiges Lane/Holland Street. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Annual Report 1977. A4 Stapled + Digital. 8-9.
SDV356766Un-published: Markuson, K. W.. 1980. Barnstaple Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV356770Article in Serial: Unknown. 1974. Barnstaple. Current Archaeology. 4.10. Newspaper/Magazine Cutting + Digital. 308.
SDV357185Report - Evaluation: Cullen, B + Thompson, S. 09/2013. Joy Street, Green Lanes, Barnstaple, Evaluation. Wessex Archaeology Report. 78942.03. Digital. 3, 4.
SDV357959Cartographic: Unknown. Unknown. Sites Excavated 1972-1978 by T. Miles. a4 single Sheet + Digital.
SDV357965Un-published: Henderson, C.. 1983. Barnstaple Local Public Inquiry. Devon Archaeological Statement. Appendix 6. A4 Stapled + Digital. 23.
SDV82149Report - Assessment: Rance, C. + Weddell, P. J.. 1994. An Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Marks and Spencer Development in Holland Street and Paiges Lane, Barnstaple. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 94.04. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV82152Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SS53SE51. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV82155Photograph: 24/06/1981. Slides. Slide.
SDV82156Photograph: Miles, T.. 1977. Slides of 1977 Excavations. Slide.
SDV82157Article in Serial: 1974. Unknown. Current Archaeology. 45. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin. 308.
SDV89933Report - Evaluation: Matthews, A. J. + Weddell, P. J.. 1994. An Archaeological Evaluation at the Marks and Spencer Development Site in Holland Street and Paiges Lane, Barnstaple. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 94.30. A4 stapled + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV106447Part of: Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV63405Related to: 18th-19th Century Buildings in Holland Street, Barnstaple (Building)
MDV497Related to: Long Bridge, Bideford (Building)
MDV54920Related to: Paiges Lane, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV70640Related to: Post Medieval Wells and Pits, Paiges Lane, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV70637Related to: Prehistoric Flints, Paiges Lane, Barnstaple (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1378 - Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme Archaeological Assessment

Date Last Edited:Apr 1 2015 10:49AM