Edgmond Road Report.

Edgmond Road Survey

Interim Report

Julian Meeson–29th March 2015

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Introduction

The area surveyed lies to the North West of Newport near the Edgmond Road/Chetwynd Road junction and borders the Chetwynd Deer Park. Over the past two years the Newport History Society have conducted a field-walking and metal detecting survey of the site.

FIELD-WALKING SURVEY

The aim of the field-walking survey was to ascertain the periods of settlement in the area, by collecting everything from Mesolithic flints down to modern tile. Initially an intensive line walking survey was undertaken, the results of which provided the society with two distinct areas (referred to in this report as Area 1 adjacent the Edgmond road and Area 2 adjacent the Chetwynd road) where large concentrations of both Roman and Medieval pottery were found (see aerial photograph)

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Edgmond Road site

Area 1 In Blue, high status Medieval finds/small amount of roman pottery.

Area 2 In red mostly Roman with a small amount of poor quality medieval pottery.

Small inset picture shows possible line of ditch or hedge row.

The discovery of Roman pottery was not unexpected as Roman pottery (usually the local form of Severn Valley Ware) has been recovered from five sites in and around Newport. However, the other sited, with the exception of the Coppice Bank have only produced a dozen or so pot shards. On the Edgmond Road site, well over a hundred pot shards have been recovered. Around thirty fragments were found in area 1. Almost all the Roman pottery recovered from the site was found to be the local form of Severn Valley Ware, this suggests that the group are dealing with a low possibly two Roman sites within the field, or one with two middens at opposite ends of the field. At present neither option can be ruled out or confirmed. The Medieval pottery recovered from the site in contrast to the Roman, appears to be the site, although, as with the Roman, the majority was concentrated in areas 1 and 2. The pottery from area 2 appears to be the usual form of 12th to 14th century wares generally recovered in local area. Cooking pots in brown or black fabrics are typical, although the predominant fabric recovered from the Edgmond Road site was sandy orange coloured table ware. Outside of area 1, the majority of the pottery recovered appeared to be of poorer quality wares, Area 1 by contrast, produced a large and varied amount of medieval glazed wares (with their glaze still intact) which is unusual for Newport,

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Some examples of the pottery found, this is now on display at the Newport Heritage centre              

The colours of the glazed pot shards recovered from area 1 are generally a yellowish green or a dark olive green (the most predominant) A number of decorated jug handles were found with yellowish glaze, similar to early forms of Stamford ware. The Green-ware recovered, appears to have very simple decoration, usually in the form of grooves, although some have thumbed decorated rims or base (pie crust in appearance) Unlike the unglazed wares, which are believed to have been made locally. All the glazed wares recovered from area 1 are thought to have been imported, either from other counties or possibly from overseas. Apart from the Roman and Medieval pottery, by far the most abundant forms of pottery on the site were Post Medieval slip wares. Midlands black ware, various forms of Staffordshire slip ware, Brown ware and blue and white transfer wares were found throughout the field. The close proximity to Blue House farm, may explain the high concentrations of 17th/18th and 19th century pottery (possible household waste) Also found throughout the site were Mesolithic flint blades and scrapers,

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Mesolithic Flint Blade

These are relatively common finds in and around Newport, with a number of sites [reproducing large numbers of worked flint tools. The largest being Norbroom (Daniels Cross housing estate) with around forty recorded examples. To date, around twenty blades have been found on the Edgmond Road Site dating from around 4000-3000BC. Unlike the Norbroom site and the Coppice Bank where another large flint concentration was discovered, no debitage (waste flint material) was found whilst field-walking. Another important factor to bear in mind is that there is no natural flint in the area, other than a glacial deposit at Norbroom. Many of the blades appear to made of chert (similar material to flint) the closest deposit of which is found in Cheshire. This suggests that most of the flint tools were made elsewhere and brought into the area. Although the majority of the metal objects recovered were found with metal detectors, a number were picked up by our field-walkers. The most notable being a Edward II silver penny.

METAL DETECTING SURVEY

The Societies metal detectorists also discovered a varied collection of metal objects, a number of which appear to be of regional importance. Similarly to field-walking survey. areas 1 and 2 also produced the most important metallic finds. The oldest metallic finds, three Roman coins, were found in area 2, They appear to be barbarous radiates of the Emperor Quintillus who was Emperor in 207AD, Two of the three coins are in poor condition, the third however remarkably well preserved.

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barbarous radiate of the Emperor Quintillus

Surprisingly, the three coins would appear to be the only positively identified Roman metal artifacts recovered from the entire site. This is puzzling, as all of the Roman sites discovered by the Newport History Society, which have produced significant amounts of Roman pottery, have also produced Roman metalwork, such as brooches, spindle whorls, hairpins ect……. Due to the large number of Medieval and Post Medieval finds it would seem unlikely that other detectorists have been on the site. However, once the field has been ploughed further Roman metalwork may be discovered. A number of high status, Medieval metal artifacts were discovered in area 1, Confirming the conclusions from the field-walking survey, that the group were dealing with a high status Medieval site. One of the most striking was a Limoge figure (thought to be of a saint)

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Limoge figure

These 13th century figures were usually attached to an altar cross or a casket. Figures were thought to be inbued with healing or protective powers and associated with religious sites or individuals. A number of highly decorated horse harness pendants were also found. the oldest a shield shaped pendant baring two lions (thought to represent the royal arms) dating from the early 14th century. A quatrfoil framed pendant, again dating from the 14th century was also recovered.

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Shield pendant                           Quatrefoil pendant

This was found with much of its original gilding still intact, although its central frame is missing. Such Heraldic devices were used by knights as a mark of identity during the 13th/14th centuries. A number of copper alloy, single loop folding strap clasps and buckles were found in area 1, although not as impressive as the horse harness pendants, they are still important to ones understanding of the site, dating as they do from the 14th century. Perhaps the most important finds discovered from area 1 or the site generally was an ornate sword pommel, The pommel is crown shaped, with heraldic shields around its sides. Enamel decoration still survives on the pommel surface, which may help identify the coat of arms. One of the shields appears to bare the arms of the Knights Templar.

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Front and reverse of the sword pommel

This may be significant, as the Knights Templar are known to have owned land around Aqualate and Newport in the 12th/13th century, It has been suggested that the pommel could only have come from a knights sword and is apparently the only known example in the United Kingdom. Coins were found throughout the Edgmond Road site, These were found to primarily date from three distinct time periods, Medieval,Post Medieval and Modern. the oldest Medieval coin found on the site was a Henry III silver penny.

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Edward III Groat

A significant number Edward I pennies were found. These were dug up in all the areas searched by our detectorists. This is not unusual however, as most of the Medieval sites around Newport have produced Edward I pennies, suggesting that these coins must have circulated in large numbers and for considerable period of time. Another notable find was a Edward III groat. The groat is of the fourth coinage, pre-treaty dating 1351-1361AD, The post Medieval coins, were made up of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I denominations, Most were found to be in good condition with little sign of clipping (illegal removal of silver from the edge of a coin) and wear. The most interesting modern coins found, were a George I shilling (dated 1723) and a counterfeit George III half crown, Counterfeit coins from the Georgian period are regularly found around Newport. The Edgmond Road site has produced three, two George III Shillings and the afore mentioned half crown. One artifact recovered from area 1 may also have been related to counterfeiting. a lead alloy coin mould, believed to be Medieval in date.

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Lead alloy coin mould

Buttons,buckles,musket balls and thimbles from the 18th/19th century were dug up all over the field, along with a large amount of heavily corroded ironwork, Most of the ironwork appears to be farming related, plough shares, nuts and bolts and corroded nails.A small number of horse shoes were also found along with large fragments of metal rail fencing.

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