Barn found at 'lost' medieval manor in Croxton Kerrial, Leicestershire

The foundations of the barn The tithe barn, which the team is in the process of excavating, measures 26m long by 7m wide (85 feet long by 23 feet wide)

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Archaeologists working on the site of a "lost" medieval manor house in Leicestershire say they have found a tithe barn, shop buildings and artefacts including a metal strap-end carved with a dragon.

The finds were made at Croxton Kerrial, near the Lincolnshire border, where digging began in 2012.

The 12th Century house had disappeared from maps by the 1790s.

Tony Connolly, who is leading the dig, said the finds were "quite amazing".

'Fantastic finds'

Mr Connolly, who chairs the Framland Local Archaeology Group, said he had started digging in the field, near the village church, on a hunch.

He said: "I'm writing a history of the village and I found references to the manor house but nobody knew anything about it.

The strap end with the dragon design The tin alloy strap end, engraved with a dragon, was discovered in a medieval well near the barn

"This site was empty and seemed a likely candidate for where the house might once have been. It's quite amazing what we have found.

"We have the house and when we stripped off the topsoil, we found a tithe barn measuring 26m long by 7m wide [85 feet long by 23 feet wide] which we are in the process of excavating.

To the manor born

The jug
  • Mr Connolly says the village of Croxton Kerrial took part of its name from the De Kerrial family who became lords of the manor following the Norman conquest
  • The De Kerrials left in 1336 and the manor was taken over by Croxton Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries
  • After that, the village became part of the Belvoir Castle estate and the manor house fell into disrepair

"We have also excavated an area of cobbled stones surrounded by buildings, which we believe would have been a dairy, a blacksmiths and a bakery."

Mr Connolly said the team had also found a 1.2m [four feet] deep well containing "beautifully clear water".

"At the bottom we made two fantastic finds - a metal strap end for a belt with a dragon engraved on it and a 12th Century jug which we reassembled.

"The handle had snapped which made us think the jug was dropped down the well by a manor servant."

Mr Connolly said he hoped the pieces would go on display at nearby Belvoir Castle.

He said excavations would continue at the site until at least 2015.

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