During the 2018 Season work was focussed at two locations, completing the recording of Trench 6 “the kitchen trench” following on from the complete removal of the Post
Medieval garden path and its associated drainage along with a section across the moat at the western edge of the site, Trench 9 which proved rather more complicated
The removal of the Post Medieval garden path revealed a series of well preserved timber structures which when planned could be clearly identified as the base of a
timber stairway leading to a first floor entrance to the hall directly to the west together with a timber pentice leading between the site of the kitchen and the
hall entrance. Within the kitchen itself a further fireplace was identified from which the surrounding stone work had been robbed.
With the removal of the subsidiary drain to the Post Medieval path the foundation of the outer wall of the kitchen could be clearly identified. By its very narrow
dimensions it appeared to have supported a timber framed superstructure although it should be noted that documentary references survive to the use of unbaked earth
as a walling material at nearby Snape Castle in the Late 15th Century. The most significant discovery in respect of the area of the wall foundation was a 9kg
stone cannon ball (fig 1) which may be associated with the destruction of the site in the Late 15th Century and in previous seasons lead to a deposit of arrowheads
and other military material from the kitchen floor. Cracking and chipping away of a small area of the rear surface indicates that it had been fired and struck
Found in association with the cannon ball was a section of carved Nidderdale marble capital (fig 2). Stuart Harrison (pers com) identifies the artefact as having
come originally from a chapel and to probably date to the Late 12th Century. This raises the intriguing question as to the location of the possible chapel and the
putative dating may be associated with Geoffrey Plantagenet third son of King Henry II who became Duke of Brittany through a disputed marriage to the heiress of
the previous Duke. A candidate for the site of the possible chapel appeared at the south east corner of the trench where a partial foundation for a further
building which had initially been timber framed but which was reconstructed in stone was revealed. A further foundation of a timber structure, possibly a bell
framed was noted directly to the west. The area will be comprehensively investigated during a later season.
A new Trench, Trench 9 was opened to the west in an area where little vegetation grows. From the surviving estate plans of 1650 and 1765 it crossed the area of
the moat and it is hoped to recover evidence in respect of the infilling of the moat in the Late 18th Century as well as evidence of any moat structures together
with the dating of the cutting of the moat. It was assumed that the absence of vegetation was connected with the layout of piggeries in the area during World War II.
However, it was soon discovered that the lack of vegetation was due to a substantial stone foundation some 2.6 metres wide lying a short distance below the ground
The presence of sherds of late-11th and early-12th pottery in some quantities within the construction cut for the foundation indicates a Medieval date for the
associated building. The foundation was laid in a Trench containing a heavily compacted sandy mortar and was approximately 1.2 metres deep. Within the area of
the moat directly to the west several pieces of worked stone including a section of looped window with iron barring was recovered together with a section of
roofing lead with lime slurry adhering to the rear side and sections of ashlar masonry cladding.
A series of episodes of infilling of the moat have been identified including surplus plaster and mortar from the renovation works within the main castle and the
construction of the presently ruined Banqueting House directly to the south in the mid 18th Century. The episodes could be dated by the presence of ubiquitous
Leeds Cream Ware porcelain and were separated by a series of pet burials of spaniel type dogs which had been carefully laid in wooden containers. Directly to the
north it was possible to reach the Medieval levels within the moat and traces of a water logged wooden structure were identified which can be identified as part of
a base plate of a wooden footbridge of indeterminate but Medieval date.
Further exploration of the contents of the moat together with the context of the stone foundation will continue in Season 10.
If you are interested in getting involved in our fieldwork programme at Hornby then please contact Society Fieldwork Officer Erik Matthews