Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire

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1 Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire An Archaeological Evaluation for British Flora by Andy Taylor Thames Valley Archaeological Services Ltd Site Code GFH 05/63 July 2005

2 Summary Site name: Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire Grid reference: SU Site activity: Evaluation Date and duration of project: 8th and 11th June 2005 Project manager: Helen Moore Site supervisor: Andy Taylor Site code: GFH 05/63 Area of site: Approximate 3.71 ha Summary of results: Four undated gullies were encountered in trench 1, and two 2 nd century AD ditches and an undated gully were recorded in trench 4. No archaeological finds or features were observed in trenches 2 and 3, or the stripped area and exposed section. No metal finds were retrieved during the metal detecting survey of the spoilheap. Monuments identified: Two Roman ditches, five undated gullies and a modern ditch. Location and reference of archive: The archive is presently held by Thames Valley Archaeological Services Ltd, De Beauvoir Road, Reading, RG1 5NR, and will be deposited with Buckinghamshire County Museum in due course. This report may be copied for bona fide research or planning purposes without the explicit permission of the copyright holder Report edited/checked by: Jennifer Lowe Helen Moore i

3 Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire An Archaeological Evaluation by Andy Taylor Report 05/63 Introduction This report documents the results of an archaeological field evaluation carried out at Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire (SU ) (Fig. 1). The work was commissioned by Mr Jonathan North of British Flora, Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, HP15 6AD. Planning applications have been submitted to Wycombe District Council for the construction of an agricultural building (app no 05/6287) and erection of polytunnels and associated landscaping (app no 05/6043). As a requirement of the planning process and the District adopted local plan on archaeology (HE19), an archaeological evaluation was requested. This is in accordance with the Department of the Environment s Planning Policy Guidance, Archaeology and Planning (PPG ), and the Districts policies on archaeology. The field investigation was carried out to a specification approved by Mr David Radford, Archaeological Officer with Buckinghamshire County Archaeological Service (Radford 2005). The fieldwork was undertaken by Andy Taylor and Leon Fern on the 8th and 11th July 2005 and the site code is GFH 05/63. The archive is presently held at Thames Valley Archaeological Services, Reading and will be deposited with Buckinghamshire County Museum in due course. Location, topography and geology The site is located on a roughly rectangular parcel of land associated with Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden and lies to the north east of High Wycombe. The land is currently scrubland, and will be used for polytunnels (Fig. 2). Originally the site had a gentle slope from the north to the south but much of this had already been stripped and or terraced away before the evaluation began. The underlying geology consists of clay with flints (BGS 1971), which was observed in all trenches. The site lies at a height of c.175m above Ordnance Datum. 1

4 Archaeological and historical background Finds of prehistoric struck flint are recorded from the area, possibly suggesting presence of contemporary occupation sites within the vicinity. A basal sherd of Roman pottery has also been found just to the west of the site. The site lies adjacent to the suggested location of the medieval hamlet of Pirenore, which was fee of Great Kingshill and parcel of the manor of Wendover. The estate was sold to Missenden Abbey in about 1275, and appears to have been the first estate in Kingshill that the abbey acquired, according to documentary evidence. Documentary evidence tells us that a Baldwin de Pirenore was the earliest tenant during the later 12 th century. A previous owner had been a John Brand, and despite changes of ownership, the name of Brand s Fee has remained attached to the land (Bucks SMR). Earthworks survive in the field to the north-east of Grange Farm that may be the remains of house platforms and structures relating to the deserted settlement. The surviving farmhouse is a grade II listed medieval cruck-built structure with the earliest part of it dating from the 15 th -16 th centuries. Buckinghamshire Sites and Monuments Record A search was made at Buckinghamshire sites and monuments record for a radius of 500m around the site. A total of 13 sites and findspots were recorded. The results from this search are listed in Appendix 3, and summarized below; their locations are plotted on Figure 1. Prehistoric Seven entries related to the prehistoric period [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9]. All of these were stray finds of prehistoric worked flints generally Neolithic to late Bronze Age in date. Six flint flakes and a tranchet arrowhead [2] were found 350m east of Grange Farm. An artefact scatter was located in a field to the north east of Grange Farm [3]. This comprised three worked flints found 2m apart and four distinct flint scatters were located during subsequent field walking. Eight flint flakes were found to the west of Grange Farm [4], and a double platform core and 2 flakes [5] were found to the south of Grange Farm. One side scraper and two flakes of black flint [6] dating from the Neolithic to early Bronze Age, and 16 flakes of the same period were found 400m east north east of Grange Farm. Five flint flakes [7] were found to the north east of Grange Farm, and three flint flakes [9] were found 450m north north east of Grange Farm. 2

5 Roman One sherd of Romano-British colour coated ware [8] possibly from the Oxford area and dating to the 3 rd to 4 th centuries AD was found in 1982 when a group dug to find a Hampden bomber. Medieval Grange Farmhouse at Widmer End [1] dates from the 15 th to early 16 th centuries. It was altered in the 17 th and 19 th centuries. The right bay has collapsed exposing the central cruck. Some timber framing is left with brick infill to the upper storey, and the remainder has been rebuilt in brick. It is Grade II listed. The possible deserted medieval settlement of Pirenore [10] is thought to lie in a triangular parcel of land to the north-east of Grange Farm, however the exact location of this settlement is unknown. There are earthworks in the form of low banks 1-2m high within the field marked on a map in the SMR in a north-south orientation; how accurately these have been surveyed in is, however, unclear. A sherd of possible medieval pottery was also found in the area. Post-Medieval Three extractive pits [11, 12, 13] are marked on the first edition OS maps, and are 19 th century to modern in date. 20 th Century In 1982 a group carried out an excavation to find a Hampden bomber dating from the Second World War. Bits of the bomber and crew were recovered [8]. Cartographic sources A search was made in Aylesbury Record Office for maps relating to the site. The Tithe map of 1844 (not illustrated) shows no detail of any physical remains on or near the site. However the Tithe Award is more descriptive, as plot 990 which is the triangular parcel of land where the suggested settlement exists, is called Banking Meadow. Plot 989, which covers the site, was called Little Grange Field. It is described as arable and was owned by John Newman and John Macbean. The First Edition Ordnance survey map surveyed between 1874 and 1877 (Fig. 6), also shows no earthworks in or around the area. The site is a field, possibly arable. The same is true for the Ordnance Survey editions of 1898, 1925 and

6 Objectives and methodology The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the presence/absence, extent, condition, character, quality and date of any archaeological deposits within the area of development. In particular the work undertaken involved clearing a stripped area to evaluate any archaeological features that may have been exposed; cleaning and recording of exposed sections that may contain archaeological features; trial trenching of areas that remained to be terraced and a walkover and metal detecting survey of the spoilheaps. Specific aims of the evaluation were; a) To determine if archaeologically relevant levels have survived on site. b) To determine if archaeological deposits of any period are present. c) To determine if any deposits relating to the presence of late Saxon or medieval occupation of the hamlet of Pirenore are present. Four trenches were dug using a 360º type machine fitted with a toothless grading bucket. All were dug under constant archaeological supervision and all spoilheaps were monitored for finds. The stripped area and the section of the terraced area were monitored for archaeological deposits and finds and a metal detector survey of the spoilheap from the stripped area was also carried out. A complete list of trenches giving lengths, breadths, depths and a description of sections and geology is given in Appendix 1. A complete list of features are detailed in Appendix 2. Results (Fig 3-5) Trench 1 (Plate 4) This trench consisted of topsoil overlying clay and flint natural and was aligned east-west. Three gullies were identified (1-4). Feature (1) was a terminus, aligned approximately north west south east, through which a slot measuring 1.00m in length, 0.46m wide and 0.11m deep was excavated. No finds were recovered from its light grey brown silty clay fill (51). This continued into an adjacent gully, also aligned north west south east. A slot (3 and 4) was dug in order to determine the relationship between the two, although no clear relationship was recorded. No finds were retrieved from either of the features. A further gully (2), aligned roughly north south and parallel to (3) was identified. A slot measuring 0.87m in length, 0.46m wide and 0.23m deep was dug through it. Again no dating evidence was retrieved from its light grey brown silty clay fill (52). 4

7 Trench 2 This trench consisted of topsoil directly overlying clay with flint natural. It was aligned south-west north-east. No archaeological finds or features were observed in this trench. Trench 3 Trench three consisted of topsoil directly overlying clay with flint natural. It was aligned east west. No archaeological finds or features were observed in this trench. Trench 4 (Plates 1-3) This trench consisted of topsoil overlying clay with flint natural. It was aligned north-east south-west. Three ditches and a gully were identified in this trench. Ditch (5) was partly machined out due to the difficulty of digging through the flint natural; this was carried out in consultation with the archaeological monitor. It measured 2.15m wide and 0.97m deep and contained three fills (55, 56, 57). The upper fill (55) was a light grey brown silty clay measuring 0.30m thick and contained 32 sherds of 2 nd century Roman pottery. Fill (56) was an orangey brown silty clay and contained 82 sherds of 2 nd century Roman pottery. The primary fill (57) was a black silty clay layer, which contained no finds. Gully (6) was cut by a modern gully, neither of which were excavated. Ditch (7) was again machined and contained a mid grey brown silty clay (59). This produced 2 sherds of 2 nd century Roman pottery. Metal Detector Survey The metal detector survey produced no metal finds. The Stripped Area The stripped area (Fig. 3) which had been cleared with a toothless grading bucket, was examined for archaeological features. At the western side of this area the topsoil and natural geology had been dug to a depth of 1.65m. The stratigraphy consisted of 0.30m of topsoil onto 1.35m of the natural clay geology. The area sloped up from west to east, and the eastern end was 1.35m deep. No archaeology was visible either in plan or in section. 5

8 Finds Pottery by Paul Blinkhorn The pottery assemblage comprised 116 sherds with a total weight of 582g. It was all of Romano-British date, and was recorded using the coding system of the Milton Keynes Archaeological Unit type-series (Marney 1989), as follows: F1a: Wheel-thrown shell-tempered ware. 1 st 2 nd century AD. 78 sherds, 213g. F2: Soft Pink Grogged ware, 2 nd 4 th century AD. 8 sherds, 65g. F28: Local Romano-British Greyware, 2 nd century AD. 24 sherds, 250g. F45: Grogged Shelly Ware, 1 st 2 nd century AD. 6 sherds, 54g. The pottery occurrence by number and weight of sherds per context by fabric type is shown in Table 1 (Appendix 4). Each date should be regarded as a terminus post quem. The assemblage was generally in a poor condition, with all the sherds abraded to a greater or lesser degree. This seems likely to be a result of the soil conditions rather than any major disturbance of the archaeological strata. All the shelly sherds were heavily leached, with the inclusions in the main represented by voids. However, nearly all the pottery from deposit 56 in cut 5 comprised the broken fragments of a single, near-complete vessel in fabric 1a, indicating that it is a primary deposit. Burnt Flint (Appendix 5) Two pieces of burnt flint weighing 47g were recovered from trench 4, ditch (5), fill (56). Slag (Appendix 6) Two piece of slag were recovered from Trench 4, ditch 5 fill 55, and weighed 8g. Fired Clay (Appendix 7) One piece of fired clay weighing 6g was recovered from Trench 4, ditch (5) fill (55), and two pieces were found in ditch (7) fill (59) weighing 4g. Conclusion Archaeological features were located in evaluation trenches 2 and 4, with no features observed in the stripped area and terraced sections. The ditches and gullies identified in trench 1, contained no dating evidence, and could date from any period from the prehistoric to the Post-medieval. The ditches and gullies observed in Trench 4, 6

9 which was situated adjacent to the suggested location of the medieval hamlet of Pirenore, were dated to the Roman period 2 nd century AD and produced 116 sherds of pottery in total. The Roman date of these features is perhaps surprising given their close proximity to the presumed medieval settlement in the field immediately to the east. It is distinctly possible in the light of these findings that the earthworks visible in this field may date from the Roman period and may not be of a medieval date, as initially thought. A search of the Buckinghamshire SMR did not greatly add to our knowledge of the Roman or medieval periods in this area, as few stray finds or archaeological sites from either period are located in the near vicinity. A sherd of Roman 3 rd to 4 th AD century pottery was found to the west of the site, but no other Roman finds are recorded. Similarly, a possible medieval pottery sherd is marked on a map in the SMR (Figure 1) to the east of the site, but no further artefacts are recorded. A large number of prehistoric flints have been found in the near vicinity, which could suggest that sites dating from the Neolithic or Bronze Age may exist in this area. The undated gullies in Trench 1 may possibly indicate the existence of prehistoric activity, however they could also be Roman or medieval. It would seen likely that further Roman or multiperiod features, possibly associated with the earthworks in the field to the east, will be found in the area of Trench 4 and the proposed potting shed. Any further ground reduction or excavation in this area will impact on these archaeological features and deposits. Similarly if further work is proposed in the area of Trench 1 archaeological deposits, of unknown date, may be disturbed. References BGS, 1971, British Geological Survey, 1:50000, Sheet 255, Drift Edition, Keyworth Marney, PT, 1989, Roman and Belgic Pottery from Excavations in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire Archaeol Soc Monog Ser 2 PPG16, 1990, Archaeology and Planning, Dept of the Environment Planning Policy Guidance 16, HMSO Radford, D, 2005, Grange, Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, Brief for an Archaeological Evaluation, Buckinghamshire County Archaeological Service 7

10 APPENDIX 1: Trench details 0m at S or W end Trench No. Length (m) Breadth (m) Depth (m) Comment m 2.30 E=0.29m W=0.33m Contained 4 undated gullies (1-4). Trench was aligned east west. Silty clay topsoil 0.24m deep above m orange clay with flints. Plate m 2.30 SW=0.42m NE=0.43m m 2.30 W=0.42m E=0.43m m 2.30 SW=0.40m NE=0.35m Contained no archaeological features. Trench was aligned south-west north-east. Mid brown silty clay topsoil 0.40m thickness above orange clay with flints. Contained no archaeological features. Aligned east west. Mid brown silty clay topsoil m depth above orange clay with flints. Aligned north-east south-west. Contained four features ditches 5 and 7 and gully 6. Ditches 5 and 7 produced pottery dating to the 2 nd century AD. A modern ditch was also recorded (unexcavated). Topsoil m deep, above orange clay with flints. Plate 1-3 8

11 APPENDIX 2: Feature details Trench Cut Fill (s) Type Date Dating evidence Gully terminus Undated none Gully slot Undated none Gully slot Undated none Gully slot Undated none Ditch slot Roman 2 nd C? Pottery Ditch slot Roman 2 nd C Pottery Ditch slot undated none Gully unexcavated undated none Ditch slot Roman 2 nd C? Pottery 9

12 APPENDIX 3: SMR records in the vicinity of the site No. SMR Reference NGR Period Type Comment SU Medieval/Post Medieval Farmhouse now derelict C15 th-16 th century, altered 17 th and 19 th centuries. Right bay has collapsed SU8859 Prehistoric Findspot 6 flint flakes, and 1 tranchet arrowhead SU Prehistoric early Neolithic Artefact scatter 3 worked flints found 2m apart. Subsequent field walking identified 4 distinct flint scatters SU8806 Prehistoric Findspot 8 flint flakes SU8823 Prehistoric Findspot 1 double platform core and 2 flakes SU Prehistoric Findspot 1 side scraper and 2 flakes of black flint SU8852 Prehistoric Findspot 5 flint flakes SU th century and Roman Findspot c.1982 group dug to find a Hampden Bomber, bits and crew were recovered, 1 basal sherd of RB colour coat c3rd-4 th century AD was also recovered SU8836 Prehistoric Findspot 3 flint flakes SU Medieval Findspot and settlement The possible deserted Medieval settlement of Pirenore th century to Extractive pit Shown on 1 st Edition OS modern th century Extractive pit Shown on 1 st Edition OS SU th century Extractive pit Shown on 1 st Edition OS 10

13 APPENDIX 4: Pottery occurrence by number and weight (in g) of sherds per context by fabric type BA F1a F2 F28 F45 Cut Deposit No Wt No Wt No Wt No Wt No Wt Date Spoil heap U/S nd C? nd C nd C? Total

14 APPENDIX 5: Burnt Flint Trench No Cut Deposit No Weight (in g)

15 APPENDIX 6: Slag Trench no Cut Deposit No Weight (in g)

16 APPENDIX 7: Fired clay Trench No Cut Deposit No Weight (in g)

17 SITE SITE SU Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, 2005 Archaeological Evaluation GFH 05/63 Figure 1. Location of site within Hughenden and Buckinghamshire. Reproduced from Ordnance Survey Pathfinder 1138 SU89/99 at 1:12500 Ordnance Survey Licence

18 Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, 2005 N Widmer End SITE Four Ashes Grange Farm High Wycombe SU m Figure 2. Location of site GFH 05/63

19 Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, N Stripped area Grange Farm SU m Figure 3. Location of trenches and features GFH 05/63

20 N Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, 2005 Trench 1 N 4 12m m Trench 4 hand dug 5 6 (not excavated) 2m 6m 12m machine dug Modern Trench 4 (continued) 7 N 15m 19m 0 5m Figure 4. Plans GFH 05/63

21 Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden, Buckinghamshire, 2005 SW 51 1 NE mAOD W 52 E m 2 S NW E N S m SW NE m Natural 57 5 NE SW m 50 Natural m Figure 5. Sections GFH 05/63

22 SITE GFH05/63 Grange Farm, Widmer End, Hughenden Buckinghamshire 2005 An Archaeological Evaluation Figure 6. 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Surveyed

23 Plate 1. Trench 4 looking north 2m scale. Plate 2. Ditch 7 Trench 4 south-east facing section, 2m scale GFH05-63

24 Plate 3. Ditch 5 Trench 4, south-east facing section, 2m scale Plate 4. Gully terminus 2, Trench 1 looking north-west, 0.50m scale. GFH05-63

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