Scene One (exterior - daytime): Sunday July the 13th 2008: The sun’s shining, the cows are asleep, the gazebo is tethered to the bushes and the sound of shovels hitting rubble echoes across the patchwork quilt of the Wyre countryside. Grange Farm, Stalmine; a suspected mediaeval watermill platform now occupied by a gaggle of past-their-prime blokes, most of whom are standing round a hole watching Gary Thornton dig.
George: “Arh reckon w’en we dun diggin’, it ’ud be reet gradely t’ gae darn tha Black Bull an’ discuss us finds.”
Ken: “Tha’ can’t discuss us finds yit! Tha Black Bull’s shoot! S’only 9.30 int’ mornin’ tha daft owd bugger.”
Fade to black. Fade back in on exactly the same spot. This time the hole’s a bit deeper.
George: “Reet! S’ten o’clock. Pub’ll be oopen nae.”
Ken: “Aye. Reet gradely! Tha’s a good idea Arh George. Let’s gae an’ discuss us finds in tha Black Bull lak us sed us shud. Shall us leave yon Gary darn t’ yon ‘ole?”
Ed: “Nae lad. S’is round.”
Chris appears wearing wrinkled socks and clutching a broom.
Chris: “Whatcha doin’ on me platform? Get off me platform! They’re alwez ’anging about on this platform. S’not reet, tha knows.”
Right, that’s enough of that. Roy Clarke’ll be suing me at this rate, if not for infringement of copyright then for making a mockery of his subtle scriptwriting. (I’m not saying a word…not a word, am not. Never a word’ll pass me lips no more, Norm. Not one word, iver agin, bah gum!)
So, where were we? Oh yes, on Sunday the 13th of July 2008 the highly trained (or house trained at any rate) team of experts from Wyre Archaeology once again met at the rear of Grange Farm and opened ‘Trench 002’ a bit to the south of the rubble-filled section of ‘Trench 001’.
The photograph below shows Chris Clayton entertaining the troops with his ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ song whilst Gary Thornton (out of shot at the bottom of the hole) heads for the earth’s core.
As you’ve probably gathered, this particular excavation bore an awful lot of similarities to the first one, making it difficult to come up with something new to write. For anybody interested, however, I did draw up another trench diagram. I’m thinking of collecting them together in a portfolio entitled ‘Pointless Drawings of Rubble. Volume Five.’ (The first four volumes still need compiling, of course, from our Bourne Hill excavations.)
As you can probably see (at least, you would be able to if you clicked on the thumbnail above and enlarged the image) the same combination of bricks, glazed pottery, lime mortar and large cobblestones came out of this trench that emerged from the original.
Want to see a scan of a brick? (Go on…live dangerously.) It was lying around on the ground near by, but it’s basically the same as those in the trench.
Good, isn’t it? Looks a bit like a currant loaf. Now look at the measurements: 2 inches thick, by 4 inches wide. That makes it pre-Tudor, because standardised brick sizes fitting these measurements (as opposed to the much larger, heftier and altogether less crudely designed Georgian and Victorian models) were introduced in 1517. And, yes, we really do get our jollies by studying bricks all day. You’ll understand when you’re older. If it hadn’t been snapped in two, we’d have been able to pin down the date more precisely from its length, but you can’t have everything.
And, with a certain amount of irony, after procrastinating whilst searching desperately for something to write at the start of this article, I’ve now realised that I’ve run out of space. So the rest’ll have to wait until the next instalment.