Between September and November 2021 Ollie Cook and his team undertook an excavation at Lower Farington Hall, near Leyland in Lancashire. A desk-based assessment identified that the remains of a medieval moated manor house – possibly established in the 11th century – may exist on the site. An evaluation of the site, undertaken by Heritage Trust Network Partner Members Salford Archaeology in January 2021, confirmed the presence of the manor house’s moat and the remains of a post-medieval farm complex, which can be seen on historic mapping.
Ollie and his team returned in September 2021 and opened-up a larger excavation area revealing the western arm of the late medieval moat and parts of the post-medieval farm. The most impressive feature discovered on the site was the almost intact remains of a masonry bridge abutment alongside a timber bridge base frame, both dating to around 1550-1650.
It appeared that the moat was regularly recut, presumably to prevent it from silting up, and the banks were stabilised with timber revetments, formed from wattle wound around driven stakes.
Ollie and his team excavated a large slot through the backfill of the moat in the vicinity of the bridge discovering an impressive haul of finds. The baulk of the finds comprised late medieval and post-medieval pottery, significant quantities of leather shoe fragments, animal bones, clay tobacco pipes and wooden objects including a bowl and a basket. The team also recovered a glass bead, copper alloy mail amour, a key chain and lead window came with the glass panes still intact.
Occupation of the site from the 18th century onward was represented by the remains of a farm complex consisting of various agricultural buildings. Fortunately, just before the farm was demolished in the 1980’s, a building survey was conducted along with oral accounts that described how the different farm buildings were used.
The project is now in the post-excavation phase with further analysis of the finds and environmental samples taking place. This analysis will inform a publication that will discuss the results of the excavation and put the archaeology of Lower Farington Hall in a wider context.