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Monument record MDR11255 - Medieval settlement and industrial site, Derby Magistrates Court site, Derby

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

In 1994 an area of Derby city centre defined by Walker Lane to the north, Jury Street to the west, and St Mary's Gate to the south was assessed for historical and archaeological potential by Trent & Peak Archaeological Trust. Medieval pottery in significant concentrations was found in evaluation trenches in the northern part of the area, some within stratified features. The pottery is mostly 11th century or later, but lacks the later medieval Cistercian and Midland Purple wares, perhaps implying abandonment of the site by this time; this is consistent with the situation shown on the earliest maps. (1) Archaeological Investigations Ltd was commissioned by HBG Ltd to undertake in 2001/2 archaeological excavation and building recording prior to development on the site of the new Magistrates Court in Derby. The site, bounded by St Mary's Gate, Walkers Lane and Jury Street, produced a range of finds, some from within features, and including the grave of one human. Reasonable quantities of pottery, and animal bone, including significant amounts of cattle bone and horn core, were recovered. The small finds included a gadrooned bead of 9th-10th century date, and iron and copper alloy finds considered to be from the medieval to Victorian periods, many not closely dateable. There were also small quantities of medieval tile, and a small amount of redeposited worked flint. Environmental samples were taken from five areas of the development site and this provided the first opportunity to record a range of plant remains from medieval Derby. Analysis of the pottery revealed just 14 sherds of Roman pottery, some 20 sherds almost certainly of Saxon origin, and over 2000 sherds of medieval and early-post-Medieval pottery. The sherds were mostly small and it is possible that some were in the soil brought from neighbouring parts of the city to be dumped on this marginal land, which was subject to flooding. The earliest phase of features, although they could be pre-Conquest on the basis of the pottery within them, cannot be considered evidence of early post-Conquest occupation on the site. These early features are few in comparison with those from later periods, but already show evidence of industrial activity. It is suggested that for the entire time the area was in use during the medieval period it constantly served both domestic and industrial functions involving the processing of animal products, perhaps associated with tanning or, more probably, horn working, not unexpected, given the proximity of the Markeaton Brook. The likely extent of Medieval settlement in Derby is outlined, based on Speed's map of 1610, and the site is judged to be marginal land on the outskirts of the town and subject to flooding. The area ceased to be occupied during the 14th century, perhaps as a direct consequence of the Black Death around 1348AD, and just before this abandonment the area appears to have been used to keep stock. (2)

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Kinsley, A & Morris, T (TPAT). 1994. An Archaeological Assessment and Evaluation of the Development Site at Derby Court House, Walker Lane, Derby. Interim Report.. SMR Doc. No. 352.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Archaeological Investigations (Hereford Archaeology). 2003. Derby Magistrates Court, St Mary's Gate, Derby, Archaeological Excavation, Building Recording and Analyses. Vols. I & II plus Building Recording Survey Figs.. SMR Doc. No. 671.



Grid reference Centred SK 35017 36484 (92m by 102m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2357

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Record last edited

Mar 14 2020 9:13PM

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