Medieval Tenements in Aldwark, and Other Sites


list of authors
R. A. Hall
H. MacGregor
M. Stockwell
Is Part Of
The Archaeology of York [Series]
The Medieval Walled City North-East of the Ouse [Volume]
Council for British Archaeology for York Archaeological Trust
Date Copyrighted
Date Available
Digitally available on 3 November 2023
Evidence for occupation in York from the 11th to the 18th centuries has been examined in three major excavations in Aldwark, and in a series of minor excavations and watching briefs. A historical overview gives a general survey of the documentary evidence for the Aldwark/Bedern area. Although the documents cited provide evidence for the location of some tenements, it has not proved possible to link these to specific archaeological examples. At a site adjacent to 1-5 Aldwark, excavations took place during 1976-7 in order to investigate defences and occupation from the Roman period onwards. Roman occupation is discussed in AY 3/3. The earliest substantial evidence for post-Roman activity is dated to the 11th century and is represented by a series of pits, post-holes, robber trenches and the tail of a clay bank. Brushwood incorporated into the clay bank produced three radio-carbon determinations (940 + 70 bp, 950 + 80 by and 910 + 70 bp). A 12th century stone building was identified, and later levels provided further evidence for buildings, giving a partial cross-section through a medieval tenement and its underlying deposits. A large, deep feature, possibly cut during the 12th century and backfilled early in the 13th century, may be a well-shaft, and other, later, timber-lined wells were recorded nearby. By the 17th century the Aldwark area was in decline; a series of parallel trenches at the rear of the site was used for rubbish disposal. About 12m to the south and on the opposite side of the road, tenements dated to the 13th-18th centuries were excavated during 1978-80 at 2 Aldwark. The evidence recovered for the building sequence demonstrates not only the techniques used to construct the footings and foundations but also the range of successive refurbishments and rebuildings which could occur.
Trenches excavated during 1973-4 at 21-33 Aldwark (formerly Hunt's Ebor Brewery) provided evidence complementary to that recovered on the adjacent site of St Helen-on-the-Walls (AY 10/1; AY 12/1). Well-preserved timbers were recovered from the organic-rich deposits encountered at the lower levels of Trench IX, which were sealed by material of 11th/12th century date. This trench also provided evidence for possible hornworking on site during the 12th or 13th century. Other areas of the site produced pits, posts, post-holes and gullies. A declivity, which defined the south-western edge of St Helen's graveyard, was also traced in Trench IX, and possibly in Trench IV, and the various interpretations of this feature are discussed.
Short reports are also included on 7-9 Aldwark, 36 Aldwark, 34 Shambles, 11-13 Parliament Street and All Saints Pavement.
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York Archaeological Trust
CC BY 4.0
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