At the start of the 14th century, the excavation area underwent a major reorganisation.
The land was cleared, the Walmgate street frontage was consolidated with levelling
deposits and driven posts, and two new boundary walls were then
constructed. The first of these (4005), built of limestone, cobbles,
brick and tile, was situated along the Walmgate frontage, and extended
the full width of the excavated area. The second boundary wall, revealed by a Phase
9 robbing trench (2139/4013), was aligned north-east to south-west, and ran the full
length of the excavation area. It was on the same alignment as the present day wall behind St. Denysí
Hotel. The only surviving portion of the second boundary wall (2645) was situated at
the southern end of the excavation area. A completely new property layout was therefore
imposed at this time.
Both boundary walls were used to support the timber superstructures of a sequence
of timber-framed buildings, Buildings P, Q and R. Buildings P and Q were situated to
the west of the later robbing trench 2139, and Building R to the east of it.
In the central and western portion of the site, a number of levelling deposits were
laid down. These contained pottery of
the 14th century and also a multi-reservoir lamp fragment (see the artefacts report).
A timber-framed building, Building Q,
was then constructed utilising both of the new boundary walls. Its western wall sat
within a shallow beam slot (2684) and a post-hole (2712) may have held a post to
support the roof. Building Q was aligned with its long axis at right angles to the
Walmgate street frontage and measured c.4.5m wide and c.7.70m long. Within its
north-west corner, a hearth (2679) was situated close to the Walmgate
street frontage. A series of associated floor deposits (2681 and 4018) built up to
the south-east and east of the hearth.
Shortly after its initial construction and early use, Building Q was renovated.
The western wall of the building was altered and beam slot 2684 was backfilled.
A post-hole (2676) and a hearth construction cut (2663) for a new hearth were then
inserted, truncating the beam slot backfill. Further west, two post-holes
including 2910 were dug, perhaps implying the expansion of Building Q to the west,
but there were no floor deposits associated with the expansion. The original western
wall of Building Q therefore must have simply been replaced, the new hearth being
positioned adjacent to it. A number of internal floor deposits built up to the
south-east of the hearth including context 2537. Floor deposit 2537 contained a re-used
architectural fragment as well as a
small amount of slag, an iron staple and an iron nail. Also recovered from the
new hearth was a piece of iron (SF01547) coated with hammerscale. This may suggest
that metalworking, particularly iron
smithing, was being carried out within Building Q. There is a strong possibility,
however, that this material was simply redeposited as no structural evidence for
smithing was located within the building.
A second renovation to Building Q was
then undertaken. A new hearth (2401) was constructed to the south of 2663 and
adjacent to the western wall. A post-hole (2614) and stake-holes (35423546) interpreted
as an internal partition or smoke screen were inserted to the east of it. A patch of
mortar and cobbles (2642) to the east of the screen or partition may have acted as an
internal post-pad for an upright post to support the eastern wall or the roof.
Several clay floors including 2599 were inserted to the south of hearth 2401.
These gave the impression that a raised platform was installed at the southern end
of the building. The raised clay platform was heavily burnt and scorched, perhaps
indicating the presence of a kitchen area or craft working area within the building.
A further large post-hole, close to post-pad 2642, and several patches of clay, were
then added within Building Q.
A new building, Building P, was constructed
on the western side of Building Q, the floors of which sealed the western extension of
Building Q. The new building utilised the boundary wall along the Walmgate street
frontage, the rest of the timber frame being supported by post-pads. Building P was aligned with
its long axis parallel to Walmgate and measured over 5.8m long and c.4.5m wide.
Post-hole 2910 (see above) appears to have remained structurally important within
the new building as it was replaced a number of times, its third replacement being
a post-pad. Between the new post-pad and the front wall an occupation deposit (2808)
consisting of multiple lenses of charcoal, clay, silt, mortar and sand built up. This
contained a lead alloy sheet offcut (SF01510). A large hole with associated timber
piles (2664) was then dug. This may have supported a further post-pad for the back
wall of Building P. A build up (2806) was laid down to the east of 2808, which contained
a decorative copper alloy bar mount for a belt (SF01548).
Occupation of Building P appears to have been less intensive and shorter lived
than that of Building Q, as the structure only underwent one renovation.
A robbing or renovation trench (2687) was excavated adjacent to the Walmgate street
frontage. This suggests the robbing of the boundary wall or the replacement of a
sill beam for the front wall of Building P. The backfill of this trench contained
a fragment of crested ridge tile, a smithing
hearth bottom, slag and iron concretions, a copper alloy buckle pin, a lava quern
fragment and daub. The metalworking
material may simply have been redeposited from Phase 6, rather than indicating that
this craft was being carried out within Building P. A large post-hole (2636), perhaps
to hold a door post, truncated the backfill of 2687, and a large number of stake-holes,
of unknown function, were inserted within Building P.
A third timber-framed building, Building R,
was constructed to the east of Buildings P and Q, and utilising the two new Phase 7 boundary walls. The
building was aligned with its long axis at right angles to Walmgate and measured c.8.5m
long and over 5m wide. Internally, three large post-pads (2086,
2321 and 2807) made of
clay and cobbles were inserted, probably to hold posts that supported the roof. A bone
lucet or thread twister used in textile preparation was found in one of these
deposits. The building was interpreted as a warehouse rather than a domestic or craft-working
structure. This was concluded from the lack of internal
occupation deposits, although the building may have been floored with materials which
were later robbed, leaving no trace in the archaeological record. Only one small patch
of flooring (4024) was located within the north-west corner of the building.
In the backyards behind Buildings P and Q,
deposits 2945 and 3190 were reworked and mixed, and
further dumps (1891 and 3205) were
laid down. A small pit or large post-hole (2944) truncated dump 2945 and a clearance
cut chopped through the northern side of dump 3190. The cleared area was levelled off with
deposits (3551, 3554, 3557 and
3558) before the construction of a cobbled yard surface (1890,
2936 and 3552) to the south of Building P.
This cobbled surface contained pottery of the 14th century.
At the southern end of the yard a small post-hole (3556) was inserted. A north-south beam slot
(1819) truncated yard surface 1890 and two post-holes
(1889 and 1894) were inserted to
the east of this. These three structural elements may suggest the presence of an
outbuilding or structure to the south of Building Q. To the south of this further
dumps built up, including 3120, 3204, 3208
and 3209. Dump 3208 contained a coin (SF01303),
a barrel padlock (SF01460) and a copper alloy balance pointer
(SF01529). Deposit 3120
may have infilled a ditch or gully aligned north-west to south-east across
the backyard area, or levelled an area of subsidence. Further backyard dumps were
then laid down including 2960, 30543056
and 3116. These dumps contained iron
slag (SF01515), an iron barrel padlock key (SF01440), a
copper alloy strap end fragment (SF01264) and an iron wall hook (SF01351).
Behind Building R, wall foundation 2645 was sealed by a clay deposit prior to the
insertion of a post-hole (2543). This suggests the insertion of a doorway through
the boundary wall. A number of dumps and levelling deposits including 2328, 2335,
23412343, 2478 and 2498
were laid down to the south of Building R. These contained pottery
of the 14th century and also butchery waste, and artefacts
suggestive of copper alloy working.
A fragment of bone identified as red deer was recovered from context 2342
(see the environmental report). Venison was usually only available
either through hunting or through gifts provided by patronage (Neave 1991) in
Walmgate frontage boundary wall 4005
Excavating boundary wall robber trench 2139
Multi-reservoir lamp fragment (SF01425)
Excavation in progress
A complete crested ridge tile from Phase 7 backyard dump
Burgundian double tournois dated 131559 (SF01303)
X-ray of barrel padlock SF01460
Barrel padlock key SF01440