Pottery shards reveal Long Sutton's Saxon heritage
A treasure trove of historic artefacts as ‘rare as moon dust’ has been found during works to a Long Sutton church.
Pieces of pottery dating back to the Saxon and Medieval periods were found during excavation works at St Mary’s Church during a project to improve the historic building.
The pieces are thought to be the first found in Long Sutton and Fr Jonathan Sibley is thrilled with the background they have given.
He said: “We are really excited about it.
“To find something like a Southern Maxey-type ware from around the time of King Alfred’s reign, which is a flat rimmed shard probably from a bowl or a jar, is quite unusual.
“They are quite ornate jars and they are breathtaking - it wouldn’t have been made by a local potter, it would have been the equivalent of Wedgwood.
“It really is incredible and we are thrilled. It’s not just like finding gold dust, it’s like finding moon dust!”
The discovery of pieces dating back to the 8th century would seem to suggest that there was a Saxon community living in the town and surrounding area at that time.
The church last year celebrated its 850th anniversary, meaning that Anglo-Saxons would have been living in the town more than a hundred years before it was built.
Fr Jonathan said: “All of these items have never been found in Long Sutton before.
“The discoveries show that there was a Saxon community here before the market was designed and the church was built. It’s tangible evidence that this area would have been populated at that time and it is very important for local history.
“We are amazed and excited!”
The items, which include a piece of a Toynton jug from the 1400s, the base of a large Grimston type jug from the 1200s and pottery from the Tudor times, are now being analysed by archaeologists in Lincoln.
The pottery was found in trenches, which had been dug as part of works to construct a new meeting room, hospitality area and toilets.
However, Fr Jonathan says it was a surprise at how close to the surface the shards of pottery were.
He said: “We needed the full excavation for the works and this is how the pieces came to light.
“The items were found near the main entrance and they weren’t particularly far down at all.
“They were found just a few feet deep which was really quite surprising!
“We have also fond discarded Medieval floor tiles and clay pipe which would have been used in the 16th Century for smoking, which would have been very expensive.
“This really shows the importance of the area and its economic status.
“Once the archaeologists have finished analysing the shards we hope we will be able to have a display in the welcome area of the church.”