EYO7798 - Electricity Pole Replacement, Acomb Grange

Type

WATCHING BRIEF

Location

Location Acomb Grange
Grid reference SE 5630 5073 (point)
Map sheet SE55SE
Civil Parish Rufforth and Knapton, City of York, North Yorkshire
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire

Technique(s)

Organisation

Not recorded.

Date

2020

Map

Description

Monitoring work (non professional) was undertaken during the replacement of poles associated with the power lines. The replacement of the poles was undertaken by Northern Powergrid with observations by Peter Brown (pers comm). Pole 1 This was located in the middle of the paddock to the north of Acomb Grange. This is thought to be the location of the gathering of the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 before its march on London. There is the remains of a moat on the extreme edge of this paddock (the moat is deep in water on the other side, to the south of Acomb Grange). It is thought that the Master of St Leonards Hospital, who resided at Acomb Grange in the 12th the 16th century may have built a bridge over the moat to access the chapel that was built in the adjacent field (hence 'Chapelfields'), and that there may have been an access road to that bridge across the paddock. Many years ago, a team from Durham University searched for this putative road and bridge but did not find it. On 12th September 2020, Northern Power grid dug a trench about 1.8 metres deep and about 1.8 metres long and about .75 metres wide, in order to remove the existing rotten power pole, and insert a new one. There must have been some previous disturbance when the pole was initially inserted approximately 40 years ago, but as there was no sign of previous disturbance, the trench 40 years ago must have been on a different angle. The soil in the trench was entirely dark grey/ black clay and soil as you would expect this far from the edge of the glacial moraine About one foot into the trench, the digger came upon a row of cobbles, some of which were limestone. These did not extend across the full width of the trench, so the digger must have cut at the edge of the feature. At the side of the trench, from the corner, these cobbles extended for about 1 foot. They may or may not have extended further either southwards or wes twards. They were photographed in situ, and the cobbles that had been dug out by the digger were retrieved from the spoil heap and retained and photographed. Some of these cobbles appeared to be white limestone - others of a darker rock. For background information, earlier this year, a report was made to North Yorkshire police of what appeared to be unlawful and unauthorised but very precise digging in the moat area of the paddock by person or persons unknown. The pits that were dug had all the appearances of being professionally dug test digging in the American style of archaeology. We do not know what, if anything, was removed from the site at that time. Pole 2 This was located in the orchard, halfway between pole 1 and pole 2, nearer to the house than pole 1. It is located about 100 feet due north of where a large number of unused musket balls were excavated by Durham university and were thought to relate to the Royalist encampment on the night before the battle of Marston Moor. The camp is thought to have been in what is now the front garden and orchard of Acomb Grange. On 12th September 2020, Northern Power grid dug a trench about 1.8 metres deep and about 1.8 metres long and about .75 metres wide, in order to remove the existing rotten power pole, and insert a new one. There must have been some previous disturbance when the pole was initially inserted approximately 40 years ago, and there were signs of this previous disturbance. The soil in the trench was entirely light sand as sometimes happens as you get closer to the edge of the glacial moraine. There was no evidence of any items in the spoil and no evidence in the sides of the trench of any visible layers. The vegetable patch immediately adjacent to this pole is, by contrast, light loamy soil (again a feature of being close to the edge of the glacial moraine) and small (non reportable) micro finds keep emerging whenever crops such as potatoes are dug. Pole 3 This is located adjacent to the house in a straight line with poles 1 and 2. It is located about 50 feet north west of where a large number oif unused musket balls were excavated by Durham university and were thought to relate to the Royalist encampment on the night before the battle of Marston Moor. The camp is thought to have been in what is now the front garden and orchard of Acomb Grange. On 28th September 2020, Northern Power grid dug a trench about 1.8 metres deep and about 1.8 metres long and about .75 metres wide, in order to remove the existing rotten power pole, and insert a new one. There must have been some previous disturbance when the pole was initially inserted approximately 40 years ago, but there was no evidence of this previous disturbance, so the trench 40 years ago must have been on a different angle.. About 20 years ago, a heavy duty power line was sunk underground from this power pole to feed the Virgin telecom mast with power. The trench for this purpose took several days and was the subject of a watching brief by John Oxley of COYC and by YAT. It was immediately obvious from the present digging that this power pole was supported by a large stone slab lying vertically next to the pole near the ground. However, when removed, this appeared to be modern. At a depth of about 2 feet, there were one or two fragments of porcelain. At a depth of about 5 feet, there were a number of red/orange terra cotta finds that were observed in the spoil heap. They were very worn. They could be roof tiles of indeterminate age or they could even be the tops of jars or amphoras. As there was no sign of disturbance, it is not likely that such items at such a depth were modern. At a depth of about 6 feet, almost at the bottom of the trench, there were a number of cobbles rather similar to the darker cobbles in pole 1. There was no evidence of a cobble layer in the side of the trench. There was some evidence of stratification in the sides of the trench. The items found were photographed in situ, and the cobbles that had been dug out by the digger were retrieved from the spoil heap and retained and photographed. November 2020- awaiting photographs from Peter Brown

Sources/Archives (1)

  • --- Verbal communication: 2020.

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

  • BARN AT ACOMB GRANGE (Monument)
  • Acomb Grange (Monument)

Record last edited

Nov 26 2020 9:07AM

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