Archaeologists working on the HS2 project has discovered evidence of an Anglo-Saxon church, located at St Mary’s Old Church in Stoke Mandeville, England.
Excavations were conducted by LP-Archaeology in conjunction with Fusion-JV, to examine a Norman church which was built in AD 1080, and an associated churchyard.
Beneath the Norman levels, the team discovered flint walls forming a square structure, enclosed by a circular boundary and burials. The foundations of the structure are around 1 metre in width, and has similarities to the Saxon Church in Barton-upon-Humber, St Peter’s.
Within the foundations is evidence of Roman roof tiles, suggesting that the Saxons constructed the early church using recycled Roman material from a nearby Roman settlement.
Dr Rachel Wood from Fusion JV said: “The work undertaken at Old St Mary’s is a unique archaeological opportunity to excavate a medieval parish church with over 900 years of meaning to the local community. It also gives us the opportunity to learn more about the community that used the church and to understand the lives they lived.
Woods added: “To have so much of it remaining, including the walls and even some flooring, will provide a great deal of information about the site prior to the construction of the Norman church in AD 1080. The discovery of this pre-Norman, possible Saxon Church is a once in a career opportunity for archaeologists and will provide a much greater understanding of the history of Stoke Mandeville.”
Helen Wass, HS2’s Head of Heritage, said: “Once again, our vast archaeology programme has given us the ability to reveal more about the history of Britain. The discovery of a pre-Norman church in Stoke Mandeville allows us to build a clearer picture of what the landscape of Buckinghamshire would have been like over 1000 years ago.