Church of St Mary the Virgin, Beverston, Gloucestershire. An Archaeological Watching Brief Report (OASIS ID: urbanarc1-294650)

Chiz Harward, 2017

Data copyright © Chiz Harward unless otherwise stated


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https://doi.org/10.5284/1045798
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Chiz Harward (2017) Church of St Mary the Virgin, Beverston, Gloucestershire. An Archaeological Watching Brief Report (OASIS ID: urbanarc1-294650) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1045798

Introduction

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Beverston, Gloucestershire. An Archaeological Watching Brief Report (OASIS ID: urbanarc1-294650)

On 26th September 2017 Urban Archaeology carried out an evaluation at St Mary the Virgin, Beverston. This was followed by a watching brief over the period of 9–12th October during the excavation of a water main, trench arch system and a new pathway. The excavations have added to our understanding of, and raised further questions about, the burial ground and environs of the church of St Mary the Virgin. Burials aligned west–east are apparently set out in rows. In situ burials were encountered at a depth of between 0.62m and 0.7m below ground level. Burials clearly extended north of the church, to a distance of at least 10m, with disarticulated bone suggesting burials may be present at least 15m north of the church.

The area to the north of the church has clearly been subject to significant landscaping and dumping of brashy soil and limestone. The date and source of this dumped material is not known, nor its relationship to the cemetery immediately to the south. Two large blocks of dressed stone from a structure built on the surface of these dumps were probably used originally as quoins with in a substantial masonry building. One is dressed to a high standard and may originally derive from the church or from another high status building such as the castle.

The presence of significant quantities of disarticulated human remains to the south of the church is to be expected given the date of the church. No clear grave cuts were observed, probably due to repeated grave digging creating a disturbed 'cemetery soil' horizon (26) across this area. All disarticulated human remains were reinterred on site. The burials in Trench 1 were covered by a layer of sand and preserved in situ beneath the water pipe.

The presence of a sherd of 12–13th century pottery and a fragment of a Minety glazed ridge-tile is not unexpected given the date of the church and surrounding activity such as the castle. The 1918 George V penny is probably a casual loss.

The results of the watching brief have met the aims of ensuring that an adequate archaeological record has been made of the remains disturbed, exposed or destroyed by the groundworks. The results of the watching brief are of local significance only and no further work is recommended on the site archive.