Pupils dig up the past at St Osyth Priory

Pupils from St Osyth Church of England Primary School were invited to our St Osyth Priory development on West Field Lane in February to witness a live archaeological dig, searching for the hidden history of the estate.

The Year 5 pupils visited the trenches excavated by Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) within the historic Walled Garden at St Osyth Priory and received a special tour from the archaeologists and City & Country team. The pupils also had the opportunity to see artefacts found during a recent excavation, including pieces of medieval pottery. As well as watching the archaeologists work, the school children were shown around the new development and wider estate, and had the chance to spot the different rare animal breeds which live there.

Charlotte Salmon, Year 5/6 Teacher at St Osyth Primary School said: “It was an amazing opportunity for our pupils to see an archaeological dig in process, and to learn more about the rich history of the estate. We’d like to thank City & Country and Colchester Archaeological Trust for making this visit possible for our pupils, as it’s one I’m certain they’ll be talking about for weeks to come.”

Matthew Bynoe, Project Director at St Osyth Priory, commented: “Discovering and celebrating local history is always a highlight of City & Country’s work to restore and conserve architectural heritage, and it’s incredible to see traces of people who lived on our site so many years ago.

“We are grateful to have brilliant local archaeologists from the Colchester Archaeological Trust working at St Osyth Priory and can’t wait to see what they discover about this historic estate. It was a pleasure to welcome St Osyth Primary pupils to our site to share this exciting experience with them, they were so engaged and I was very impressed with all of their questions. I really enjoyed speaking to the pupils about the history of the site and the local area and we hope they enjoyed their visit.”

Steeped in 1400 years of nature, myth, legend and history, St Osyth Priory Estate is one of the largest collections of remaining ecclesiastical buildings in England, with 16 separate Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings set within a Grade II registered historic park and garden.

The archaeological findings at the site so far are largely from the medieval to post-medieval period and include bricks, roof tiles and floor tiles dating from the 16th-19th century, a small group of medieval and post-medieval pottery including a piece of Colchester ware, animal bone, oyster shell, and one small fragment of prehistoric pottery.

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