Is this the Original Anglo-Saxon period site of Weathercote?

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1 Is this the Original Anglo-Saxon period site of Weathercote? A Batty & N Crack 2016

2 Front Cover. Looking south east across proposed original site of Weathercote. Photograph A 2

3 3 Weathercote

4 Anglo-Saxon period site of Weathercote? SD In the summer of 2015 we undertook archaeological research on an area of limestone terrace 280m northwest of Weathercote. We carried out a topographical survey (Fig1) and a geophysical survey (Fig 3) this resulted in the identification of the remains of two stone based rectangular structures (Plate1). The geophysical survey revealed a high anomaly on the north eastern side, and several smaller readings scattered over the site. We suspected that the highest reading may be a buried iron brace for a service pole, and the smaller readings may represent burnt stones and iron items, these assumptions proved to be correct. There was no evidence of hearth remains so we were unable to find charcoal for radiocarbon dating. Within the overgrown wall remains of structure 1 we recovered an Anglo-Saxon girdle hanger (Plate 5) and a short distance from this we also recovered an Anglo-Saxon strap end (Plate 6). Within the area of ploughing (Plate 2) we found tines from several types of hay making machinery and also the iron tip from a plough share (Plate7). This is probably from a Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries interchangeable, tip-type plough introduced in The linear pile of stones probably represents stone brought to the surface by ploughing, this stone has been placed on top of structure 2 wall remains. There was a scatter of small burnt stones across the site but we could not identify the burning location for these. The main aims of this research were to date the structures, and to ascertain if this could be an earlier site for Weathercote. As stated above we were unable to find material suitable for radiocarbon dating but we did find two artefacts a girdle hanger and a strap end both of which represent the Anglo-Saxon period of settlement. This is the second site on which we have found a girdle hanger the first one was found on a site in Crummack Dale which we radiocarbon dated to the late Anglo-Saxon period (Ref Batty A. 2012) and was also found within wall remains. The strap end is of typical Anglo- Saxon type, and to our knowledge is the first one found in the local area. These two artefacts, and the structural remains, fit with the typology of other dated Anglo-Saxon period sites in the area, and provide considerable evidence for these remains also being from that period. Our second aim was to consider the possibility that this site could be the original location 4

5 of Wethercot which is mentioned in a monastic boundary perambulation of 1346 and this states Wynterskales usque ad comu boriale del Wethercot garth (Brownbill J. 1916) Translated this states Winterscales right up to the northern leg? Of Wethercot garth This is a perambulation of an area of land within the Southerscales estate belonging to Furness Abbey. On the present day site of Weathercote there are two houses one built in the 17th century and one in the 19th century, we do not know if there were any structures previous to the existing ones. The site discussed here overlooks the present day Weathercotes (Plate 4) (Fig 2) this means that it is also in the correct location to fit the boundary description of Conclusions. We have stated in previous publications that the names used in early monastic documents could be several centuries older than their documentary use, and the name Wethercot may be one of these. The evidence given above shows that the structural remains described here are very likely to be of Anglo-Saxon period date. Whether these represent the location of an earlier site called Wethercot is at present unknown and we can go no further than saying that it is possible. The area outlined in blue (Plate 2) has been used in more recent times for growing crops, the plough tip suggests that this could possibly be from very early in the 19th century as Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries introduced the interchangeable share tip in 1808 and a selection of these are shown in plate 8 A soil core 40cm deep was taken down to bedrock in the ploughed area, this is in contrast to the area on the south eastern side of the stone bank on which there is only a very thin layer of turf. Remains of charcoal and fire ashes were present throughout the core, showing that virtually the whole depth of the soil had built up over time from household waste and no doubt animal manure etc. Research is ongoing in the area and should any more information come to light we will update this publication. 5

6 2 1 Fig 1. Survey of site showing structure 1 and 2 and also where the Girdle Hanger (red dot) and Strap End (blue dot) were found. 6

7 Map showing proposed change in location of Southerscales Estate boundary. Possible earlier site of Weathercote Later Southerscales boundary. Fig 2 Showing location of possible earlier site of Weathercote. Drawn by A Batty. 7

8 Fig 3. Gradiometer survey of site. Surveyed by A Batty 8

9 Plate 1. Remains of structures outlined in red. Photograph A Batty. Plate 2. Area of ploughing outlined in blue. Photograph A Batty. 9

10 Plate 3. Looking northwest across site with structure 1 in foreground. Photograph A Batty. Plate 4 Looking southeast with present day Weathercote visible through the trees. Photograph A Batty. 10

11 0cm 5cm Plate 5. Anglo-Saxon period Girdle hanger. Photograph A Batty. Plate 6. Anglo-Saxon period strap end. Photograph. A Batty. 11

12 0cm 10cm Plate 7. Plough Share tip. Photograph A Batty Plate 8. Types of Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries plough tips. 12

13 Bibliography. Batty A Archaelogical Research in Crummack dale. Brownbill J. (ed) 1916 Coucher Book of Furness Abbey 76. Vol 2 Part 2. Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries. 13

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