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HER Number:MDV44356
Name:Undercroft, 5 and 5a Guildhall Yard, Totnes


Undercroft. Archaeological investigation was confined to the area previously exposed by the lowering of the cellar floor and a pit dug by the police.


Grid Reference:SX 802 604
Map Sheet:SX86SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTotnes
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishTOTNES

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86SW/217

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • UNDERCROFT (Unknown date)

Full description

Dick, A. M., 1992, Historic Environment Service File Note (Report - Excavation). SDV350721.

Investigation was confined to the area previously exposed by the lowering of the cellar floor and the pit dug by the police on their earlier visit, consisted of cleaning up the exposed surface in order to ascertain whether pit, grave or other cuts were present. A ‘cordon sanitaire’ of approximately 35 centimetres was left alongside each wall.

Cleaning revealed a trampled layer of stiff yellow/brown material with slate and occasional charcoal fragments pressed into the upper surface. This survived at the higher west end of the area. At the east end, and along the central part of the west, it had been broken through previous floor lowering work. This feature was interpreted as a working surface related to the making up of ground level prior to laying the cobbled floor.

The overlying makeup layer, lying directly beneath the cobbles, could be seen in section to comprise a loose, sandy, yellow brown matrix with inclusions of charcoal, slate fragments and small to medium stones.

Underlying the trample was a fairly consolidated layer of clean yellow/brown matrix, slightly less stony with higher clay content then the upper makeup level. This layer produced a quantity of disarticulated human skeletal material, primarily at its interface with the trampled surface. The bone comprised digits and fragments of rib, tibia/fibula and skull. The fragmentary nature of the remains would be consistent with redeposition of residual charnel material possibly derived from the churchyard are during levelling up in advance of house construction. No datable material of any sort was found in either layer.

The bone was bagged up and left with the owner, Mrs Ainsworth, to be reburied by the vicar.

The owner, Mrs Ainsworth informed Ann Marie Dick and Bill Horner that the stonework of a well had been revealed against the west wall of the cellar. However, this lay within the ‘cordon sanitaire’ and no investigation was made.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 1996, Assessment of Civic Centre Area, Totnes (Report - Assessment). SDV340328.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV340328Report - Assessment: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 1996. Assessment of Civic Centre Area, Totnes. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K477. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #92160 ]
SDV350721Report - Excavation: Dick, A. M.. 1992. Historic Environment Service File Note. A4 Stapled.

Associated Monuments

MDV9083Part of: 5 and 5a Guildhall Yard, Totnes (Building)
MDV44357Related to: Disarticulated human remains, Undercroft, 5 and 5a Guildhall Yard, Totnes (Monument)
MDV44358Related to: Well, Undercroft, 5 and 5a Guildhall Yard, Totnes (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Mar 5 2014 1:16PM