...access to local heritage

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Early fieldwork at the site established a little evidence. The RCHM survey recorded that a few sherds of C14 pottery were found along the bed of the stream – but with respect to buildings they found no evidence. Likewise, Beresford et al recorded that in 1948 and 1949 a Mr K.A. Franey had excavated a series of test holes at Onley, in which a paved road 15 ft across was discovered, while on the houseplatforms scattered stones, pottery, and nails were found, but no structures (more recent work has shown that such trial trenches are not likely to locate flimsy house foundations – this type of house can be detected only by opening up large areas).

House platforms

More helpfully, during interviews with local farmers conducted as part of the author’s own fieldwork, Mr Malcolm Grant (farm manager at Onley Grounds from the 1980s until 2004) stated that, when cleansing in the early 1990s the ditch/stream-bed within the area of the house-platforms at the village site, he had drawn out a great quantity of large cobble-stones from the stream bed - there were no cobble-stones outside the limits of the house-platforms.

Field names

Further valuable information was gathered from Mr David Roberts, at that time the owner of Onley Fields Farm, whose farm map gave the names of each field, from which was determined the name (Shawfield) and acreage of Onley north field, and the name of the lane that runs to the north of the site (today known as Onley Lane, but seen from the field-name 'King Street Field' to have been formerly known as 'King Street'.

Discussions with other farmers and checking against the map identified a further area 'Rawdykes' to the south-east of the settlement, whose name has been preserved both in field names and also in a canal bridge name dating from the 1790s.

(View/download the notes of these fieldwork discussions)

Trial dig at Onley Prison

A visit was paid to the prison, to check through the data retrieved in the more recent dig carried out under the supervision of the University of Warwick Archaeological Department. This produced a little additional information to assist interpretation of the land to the east of the site.

(View/download the notes of these fieldwork discussions)