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Medieval remains under Spalding pub feature in film

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The medieval remains under a Spalding pub feature in a short film that also explores the story of a lost river in the town.

The Ivy Wall, in New Road, is subject of a video from Lincolnshire County Council’s historic environment officer Ian Marshman – which was shot and shared as part of the 2021 Festival of Archaeology.

The pub opened in 2005 – but not before a major project to uncover the medieval
undercroft and cellar steps that remain on the site.

Ivy Wall archaeology project in Spalding
Ivy Wall archaeology project in Spalding

Wetherspoon made a feature of the findings – with a glass floor allowing drinkers to gaze down onto the remains and a series of other discoveries displayed on the wall.

Mr Marshman’s video aims to shine a light on this – and the history of the area.

He explained: “I thought it was a nice way to look at the history of Spalding through one particular place.

Ivy Wall archaeology project Spalding (50856377)
Ivy Wall archaeology project Spalding (50856377)

“People who have never been in the pub might not realise there’s this archaeology on display in there.

“You can look down into history and imagine the feet that have gone up and down those steps over hundreds of years.

“Most people are also not really aware that there was also a river down the middle of the road there.”

The building to which the remains belonged regularly flooded – with the ‘Westload’ river running along what’s now New Road and Westlode Street in a ‘Venice-style’ street scene.

Ivy Wall archaeology project Spalding (50856380)
Ivy Wall archaeology project Spalding (50856380)

Barrels and supplies would’ve been loaded straight from the river into the undercroft area that’s still on display.

The river dried up after the Pode Hole Pumping Station was built and was eventually paved over.

Other findings from the project include 18th century earthenware and glass, sections of a Staffordshire tankard, locally made clay pipes and a medieval knife sharpener – which are framed on the pub’s walls.

Mr Marshman added: “For us it’s good to have objects on display near to where they were found.

“In Lincolnshire all objects found normally go to The Collection in Lincoln which is a bit of a drive from Spalding and a lot won’t be on display, they will be in storage.

“It’s nice for them to be on display so people can see them.”

A property stood on the site until a major fire in the 1920s – and it was later a garage and flea market. The sheer scale of drinking vessels, however, suggest it was used as a pub long
before Wetherspoon completed its £2m redevelopment.

Pub manager Andy Sands said the circular glass floor feature offered a ‘real window on the past’ and added: “Wetherspoon takes immense pride in the preservation of the history of its pub buildings and we are proud custodians of the local historical artefacts at The Ivy Wall.”

l ‘When the road was a river – the archaeology of a Spalding pub’ can be seen on the county council’s YouTube page.

People in south Lincolnshire can also explore The Collection online with its virtual experience at Here is a link to The Collection’s virtual tour https://www.thecollectionmuseum.com/learning

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