Sunday, 9 October 2016

Bradgate Park

Last week I mentioned Lady Jane Grey, so this week I thought I'd tell you about the recent meeting of the Loughborough Archaeological and Historical Society (let's call it LAHS, for short!).

It was the first meeting of the Winter season, and the talk was delivered by Peter Liddle, former County Archaeologist, who over the last two years has been helping out on the dig at Bradgate Park. If you've been to Bradgate recently, you may well have seen the dig in action. Peter explained that permission to investigate, via an archaeological dig, has been granted for five years. This may seem like a long time, but Bradgate is big so they will be making carefully considered choices over where to concentrate their efforts, in order to find the most evidence!

One of the parts of the dig had proved extremely fruitful, yielding flint tools, the likes of which are found only in a few places in the UK (called Cheddar and Creswellian flint). There are some better pictures over on the Creswell Crags website. These finds are likely to be from the Palaeolithic era (about 12,000 years ago). 
Selection of flint tools in the Visitor's Centre
Another dig has taken place next to the house, where more flint has been found. Other important revelations during this dig has been the discovery of the foundations of a building, perhaps a park lodge. A quantity of slate, and some ridge tiling has also been found.

Suggestions that the area behind the house was previously a tilt yard, an enclosed courtyard used for jousting, have been disproved, and the area was almost certainly a traditional, formal garden.   

There's a fuller account of the digs than I can give on this blog over on the Leicester Mercury website.

Some more information about this year's dig and the flint that was found.

Information from ITV news on the dig

The project also has a presence on facebook.

If you want to know more about the history of Bradgate, pop along to the Visitor Centre in the middle of the park, where there also a cafe in the Old Deer Barn. The history of the park, and this one of the earliest Tudor houses in the county and the sole remaining enclosed deer park in the East Midlands, is laid out on information boards, some of which have been summarised in a small booklet which is available to purchase. The ruins of the house is also open to the public at specified times. Alongside this is the chapel which, as well as several information boards, also houses the alabaster effigies of Henry and Anne Grey.

I took a visit to Bradgate the other day, so here are some photos of my trip:

The approach to the house

The site of the formal gardens

A view of the Leicestershire Yeomanry Memorial

Enjoy your visit to Bradgate!

You are welcome to quote passages from any of my posts, with appropriate credit. The correct citation for this looks as follow:

Dyer, Lynne (2016). Bradgate Park. [Online] Available from: [Accessed 9 October 2016]

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