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Church Farm Lewknor Oxfordshire

Gill, Jonathan Church Farm Lewknor Oxfordshire. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Oxford Archaeology was commissioned by Regeneration Holdings Limited to undertake a programme of building investigation and recording at Church Farm, Lewknor, South Oxfordshire as part of the development of the site. The investigation covered several farm buildings at the site but was concentrated on the Grade I listed barn believed to have been constructed in the second quarter of the 14th century and recognised as one of Oxfordshire's most important medieval buildings. The significance of the building largely lies in the fact that it was originally constructed as a medieval hall house and was later abandoned and converted to a barn. The fact that it was converted to a barn, rather than adapted and modernised as a house with the insertion of a chimney stack and upper floor, has resulted in the primary fabric of the hall being relatively well preserved. The hall would have been a hugely impressive structure richly decorated with extensive cusping and with an open truss that would have been 'hardly paralleled for size in English timber-framed buildings.' (Morrey and Smith,1973). John Fletcher, who noted that the house was most likely built by John of Lewknor (Knight of the Shire in the 1330s-1350s), adds that the building must have been 'one of England's most impressive halls' (Oxoniensia XL, 1975) The interest of the building is enhanced by a suggestion that its construction may have been interrupted or curtailed by the Black Death. Physical evidence suggests that the building was intended to form part of a larger structure (possibly never completed) and the relatively light smoke blackening to the rafters suggests that although there was an open hearth the hall probably wasn't inhabited for a long period. Dendrochronology has provided felling dates for three timbers in relatively close proximity to the Black Death Therefore it may be that the building was planned to form part of a larger structure to the west but that this was never completed. The watching brief found no evidence to suggest that the barn may originally have extended further to the north or that it originally adjoined a further range at this location. The archaeological monitoring identified a number of minor post-medieval features including the base of a later 19th-century WC block which probably relates to a building first shown on the 1881 OS map, two stubs from probably later 18th/19th-century walls and three posts probably from post-medieval buildings. These posts extended below the level of ground reduction so were not fully investigated but one was removed and it was found to be sitting directly on a brick which may be of 16th or 17th century date but was probably reused. Very few archaeological features were revealed in the excavations in the western part of the site although a possible lynchet or terrace was identified in the foundation trenches of the garage for House 3. Oxford Archaeology was commissioned by Regeneration Holdings Limited to undertake a programme of archaeological watching brief at Church Farm, Lewknor, South Oxfordshire as part of a residential development of the site. The investigation was undertaken during works to open service trenches and foundation trenches for new houses and it followed a recent programme of building recording at the site. This building recording principally concentrated on a nationally significant Grade I listed barn believed to have been constructed in the second quarter of the 14th century and recognised as one of Oxfordshire's most important medieval buildings. The significance of the building largely lies in the fact that it was originally constructed as a medieval hall house and was later abandoned and converted to a barn. John Fletcher, who has studied the building has said that it must have been 'one of England's most impressive halls' (Oxoniensia XL, 1975) and MCJ Morrey and JT Smith have said that its original open truss would have been hardly paralleled for size in English timber-framed buildings.' (Morrey and Smith,1973). A report on the building recording has previously been produced and its findings have informed the watching brief. Among the principal objectives of the watching brief was to look for any evidence which might suggest that the hall house was once part of a larger building or a more extensive complex of buildings. The west end of the building has been entirely reconstructed in the post-medieval period and there is uncertainty over the original footprint of this end of the structure. The building may originally have extended further to the west, or adjoined another building which no longer survives and there is suggestion that the construction may have been interrupted or curtailed by the Black Death. Therefore it may be that the building was planned to form part of a larger structure to the west but that this was never completed. The watching brief found no evidence to suggest that the barn may originally have extended further to the north or that it originally adjoined a further range at this location. The archaeological monitoring identified a number of minor post-medieval features including the base of a later 19th-century WC block which probably relates to a building first shown on the 1881 OS map, two stubs from probably later 18th/19th-century walls and three posts probably from post-medieval buildings. These posts extended below the level of ground reduction so were not fully investigated but one was removed and it was found to be sitting directly on a brick which may be of 16th or 17th century date but was probably reused. Very few archaeological features were revealed in the excavations in the western part of the site although a possible lynchet or terrace was identified in the foundation trenches of the garage for House 3.

Item Type:Client Report
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
ID Code:1646
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:11 Apr 2014 13:14
Last Modified:27 Aug 2014 12:50

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