The Fillingham Project overview - Previous Archaeology

Skeleton found 1953.

In 1953 a burial was unearthed in the garden of Lakeside Cottage, Chapel Road, Fillingham. The site was visited by Mrs. Rudkin, a local amateur archaeologist, on 8th May. Her diary (held in Lincoln Archives) records that skulls and bones had been uncovered previously, when the water main was laid through the garden, indicating that this was once a burial ground. The skeleton that had been uncovered by Mr. Leedham (the tenant of Lakeside Cottage) was situated by the hedge on the east side of the garden. The grave was shallow and lined with `rough hewn stones´, with slabs over it. It was west-east aligned, with the head to the west. The feet of the skeleton disappeared under the hedge into the paddock. Other human bones were present. Mrs. Rudkin also mentioned that foundations, possibly from a stone building, had been found in the west part of the garden.

The garden was also visited by a representative from Lincoln museum. A letter from the `Honourable Secretary´ to Mr Carter of Lake House, Fillingham (dated 13 May 1953), describes a burial in a stone lined coffin. The burial was impossible to date on evidence available at that time, and was interpreted as any date from Roman to late medieval. The representative interpreted this as a medieval burial, and suggested that further evidence from the area, including the stone foundations in the orchard, could indicate the presence of an earlier church on the site. This skeleton and its coffin were left in situ, and have never been dated.

Further burials excavated 1982.

Further burials excavated 1982

In 1982, archaeologists from North Lincolnshire Archaeology Unit were called out to investigate finds of human bone in a property adjoining Lakeside Cottage, Fillingham. A charnel pit dug into the limestone bedrock had been discovered whilst digging a rubbish pit. Two graves lined and capped with limestone pieces were found just under the topsoil to the south of the charnel pit. The graves were west-east aligned with the heads to the west, and were hollowed into the bedrock. Grave 1 was to the north of grave 2, and had a `pillow´ made of stones. It was considered to be the earlier of the two graves, as grave 2 was constructed against grave 1, re-utilising the south wall of the grave. The skeletons were supine and extended, with the arms lying across the body. Their feet had been disturbed by a Victorian drain. No finds were associated with the skeletons, but early Anglo-Saxon and later medieval pottery were found in the vicinity. Naomi Field (the excavator) believed the burials were post-Roman and Christian in character, and compared them to examples at Hemswell, Blyborough, Normanby and Hackthorn, all in Lincolnshire (Field, 1983).

Other archaeology in the village.

Other archaeology in the village

A record at Lincoln Sites and Monuments Record Office (SMR) describes Anglo-Saxon pottery found at Blacklands, which is on the north side of the lake. This record also suggests that this was the site of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, but this could be confused with the burials, described above, which were found on the south side of the lake.

An evaluation by AOC Archaeology Ltd at Church Farm revealed medieval deposits, including disturbed late Anglo-Saxon deposits, and early medieval period ditches, some of which contained 12th century pottery. This shows us that there was some activity in this part of the village during the late Anglo-Saxon period, but unfortunately was not conclusive in identifying areas of late Anglo-Saxon settlement. A watching brief undertaken by John Samuels Archaeological Consultants on Chapel Road, in advance of building work, provided extremely useful negative evidence, revealing that the cemetery to the north did not extend this far south.

During the course of our geophysical survey in the paddock, several small finds were made in the spoil from rabbit holes. Two pieces of pottery were found close to the southern field boundary. One was a red-black sherd with a shell temper, possibly of 9th or 10th century date. The second was a sherd of black pottery, which may date to the later Anglo-Saxon period. A small metal object was also found, in a burrow close to the sycamore tree. This may be a piece of modern waste, as it is not very corroded. However, its resemblance to a very small mid Anglo-Saxon knife is striking. A more detailed description of these finds can only be made following conservation work.

The locations of all of these sites, along with the possible church locations and areas of our geophysical surveys, are shown on the map on the right.