Archaeological Observation, Warwickshire

Border Archaeology Ltd (BA) was instructed by The National Trust to carry out Archaeological Observation (AO) of installation groundworks for a new BT WAN fibre circuit adjacent to the Grade l listed manor house and Scheduled medieval settlement at Coughton Court Coughton Alcester Warwickshire B49 5JA. The archaeological work was in compliance with Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) (Ref. S00186205).

In Brief

Client: The National Trust Sector: Infrastructure Support Services:

Archaeological Observation, (Watching Brief)

Location: Warwickshire

Key Points

  • Coughton Court is a Grade I listed National Trust property of late 15th century date with 16th and 17th century additions; the remodelled W front dates from 1780, with further additions and remodelling carried out in 1835.
  • The site lies to the W of the River Arrow within a narrow band of pelo-alluvial gley soils of the FLADBURY 1 series (813b) composed of stoneless clayey soils, in places calcareous, variably affected by groundwater and overlying river alluvium.
  • Early cartographic evidence, including a 1746 Plan of the Manor of Coughton Court, depicts the locations of the moat, house, outbuildings and garden, prior to the infilling of the moat and subsequent landscaping of the site.

Summary

As proposed, the groundworks involved open-cut trenching extending SSE-NNW from the southern coach entrance off Coughton Fields Lane (NGR: SP 08351 60352), through the Scheduled Area to the Grade 1 listed manor house (List entry no. 1183632) (NGR: SP 08295 60600), this trenching running in close proximity to known medieval boundary features associated with medieval settlement.

In the event, the groundworks proved less intrusive than originally planned, as use was made of an existing duct, with only 9m of new trenching required at the southern coach entrance, together with extensions to four existing Junction Boxes (JBs) (fig. 2).

Results

No features associated with the medieval settlement were identified at the surface nor was any archaeological evidence encountered within the short section of trenching or in the JB excavations. However, it should be noted that the route of the new fibre circuit has been subject to previous disturbance from service operations and flood alleviation works/modern landscaping.

The only finds made were a sherd of residual pottery and two tile fragments from (1001) in JB 001; these were identified as 18th century Staffordshire slipware and a late medieval-to-early post-medieval nibbed roof tile (Appendix 1).

No further finds or deposits of archaeological significance were encountered.