Exploring the archaeology of West Horsley Place

We were delighted to have Surrey County Archaeology Unit's expert team with us for a week at West Horsley Place, investigating what lies in front of the manor house. After careful assessment, they chose two large sites in front of the house, as likely spots to tell us more about the house's history. 

archaeological dig

Volunteer teams join the quest 

The professionals were helped by over 190 volunteers of all ages; the SCAU has very experienced volunteers, who work with the Unit regularly, but other people were new to the experience. Some of our West Horsley Place volunteers who usually support the house in other ways signed up and enjoyed their sessions – mostly in good weather!

We were especially pleased to have a number of young volunteers: over 50 of the team were aged 16-25. Students from Woking College joined in, and found it an exciting experience - hear their experiences in our video below. On Friday we had a wonderful were visit from 120 children from our local primary school, The Raleigh School, who were thrilled to have a first taste of archaeology and a tour of the house. 

man in archaeological dig

Volunteers also got chance to look round the manor house and enjoyed being in a setting where they could see the link so directly between their discoveries on the ground, and a historic house.

Our finds

We discovered a fascinating range of possible foundations, drainage from every era and bricks, tiles and flints, opening up all sorts of questions about what buildings were in front of the house in the past. Our finds were medieval, Tudor and later, including buttons, coins, nails and an intriguing cast-iron fireback, re-used as part of a drain.

More to come from SCAU

Now it's time for assessment and interpretation, and we’re looking forward to hearing more from the SCAU team, including Nowal Shaikhley, Archaeological Operations Manager, and Wayne Weller and John Payne, Archaeological Officers. Thank you all for your work.   

Our 'What Lies Beneath' history project is funded by National Heritage Lottery Fund. Thank you National Lottery players!

Made possible with National Lottery Heritage Fund logo

Banner image: Rex Butcher