Observations at Castle Ditch and Bradninch Place, Exeter, 1986 (Exeter archive site 87)

Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology, 2015

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Exeter City Council, Cotswold Archaeology (2015) Observations at Castle Ditch and Bradninch Place, Exeter, 1986 (Exeter archive site 87) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1035224

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Introduction

Observations at Castle Ditch and Bradninch Place, Exeter, 1986 (Exeter archive site 87)

Exeter Castle comprised two defended areas or wards, the inner ward was enclosed by a curtain wall and a massive ditch, still partly visible in Rougemont Gardens. The larger outer ward was defended by a rampart and ditch which have left little trace visible on the ground. The nature and precise course of the outer defenses have never been established, though additional evidence for the line of the ditch may be obtained by plotting the distribution of shear cracks in buildings which have subsided over it.

In August 1986, the Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit excavated three small trenches, up to 1.7 metres deep, against the wall of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum to enable structural engineers to examine the foundations and the fill of the ditch. These confirmed that the main shear crack in the building was caused by subsidence over the outer lip of Exeter Castle's outer defensive ditch and that the corner of the building probably lies over its deepest part.

Two augered boreholes were drilled subsequently to establish the full depth of the ditch. The maximum depth logged was 4.1 metres from the modern ground surface, itself thought to be roughly equivalent to the early medieval ground level at the outer lip of the ditch.