Exciting things have been unearthed at Dronfield Hall Barn!
Archaeological Research Services Ltd. have been on site conducting extensive excavation and investigation, trying to uncover the story behind the building. Throughout April, professional archaeologist Alvaro was joined by an enthusiastic group of volunteer diggers from the local community. Together, they delved into the mysterious past of Hall Barn…
Close to the main gates a large trench dug mostly by volunteers exposed remains of a farmhouse fronting onto High Street, a reminder of the later agricultural history of the barn we see today. Fragments of clay pipe, blue wall plaster, stone steps and an interior wall were all discovered in the trench, together with a mystery stone lined feature in the North West corner. Although these findings are relatively modern, this trench was believed to be our best hope of finding structural evidence and something tangible to show visitors.
Findings inside Hall Barn were more surprising! Two large trenches gradually gave up their secrets, with a substantial drainage feature running diagonally through the building and an impressive wall seeming to disappear underneath the existing structure. The stone stylobate supporting the magnificent principle post was exposed and a mixture of pottery fragments recovered, with some possibly dating to the late medieval.
Speculation and mystery deepened with the discovery of a ‘gravestone’ slab set beneath the threshing floor. It had been rumoured that the Quaker Chapel grounds next door to Hall Barn became the final resting place for some souls. Could one of them have ended up buried in the barn?
After a week of teasing volunteers about the apparent headstone, and scaring the visiting school children, Alvaro and project volunteer Paul lifted the ‘gravestone’ on the last day of digging! Despite all the anticipation, a quick dust down and flash of torch light revealed no inscription on the underside so the stone was laid to rest once more.
Thankfully, the only body found was that of a long deceased cow, the bones of which caused some fascination for younger visitors!
Coming soon… look out for our full archaeology report.