The Young, the Old & the Legacy ...

The Young, the Old & the Legacy ... Blog

Our London Adventure

The SJM Foundation Crew have just got back fron an amazing trip to London Town this weekend, with bags full of treasures and cameras full of piccies ready for our new exhibition about Sir Johns life in the City.

taking in sites connected with his life including the Guild Hall, St Dunstans Church where he is buried and several properties which he owned, the crew embarked on a treasure hunt around the City solving clues – and looking out for the Grocer’s guild camels!!

Sunday saw the crew doing some shore archeology on the Thames, picking up treasure including beautiful clay pipes, butchered bones and horn and pottery sherds from the Romans to the Victorians.  With our last ounce of energy we went exploring and sight seeing, visiting landmarks including the Tate, Buckingham Palace and Harrods.

The fruits of our labours will be at the Foundation soon, telling visitors more about Sir John, what he got up to in London, who he was friends with, what business he dealt in and how he became Lord Mayor.


Kegworth excavtions draws to an end

Afternoon all,

Unfortunately, the weather was dreadful on the final day of excavation! But this did not dampen the spirits of the weather hardy newbie archaeologists and fully gale force tested experts as the morning entailed more digging, finds processing and recording. As the miserable afternoon trudged on we drew the 2012 Kegworth dig to a close in the later afternoon. Taking full opportunity to back fill test pits and learn about walnut tree’s from the extremely knowledge local archaeologist Robert whilst sheltering from the rain.

The day before, however, had been much more fruitful, the weather was magnificent and there was plenty of digging to keep everyone on their toes. More Pottery was found, small pieces of masonry, a large piece of cattle bone which delighted the young archaeologist’s.  However, no features on building structure were found. Therefore, we have concluded that the site was the water meadow and orchard of the local manner house in which various items had worked their way into the soil over the years by being left behind or discarded.

Pat, after Monday’s digging, had researched the blue piece of glass which had been found. She discovered that the blue glass dated to 1853 which is the oldest datable item found on site. This had been found by volunteers from the local community. The bottle had held expensive chemicals which had been bought from a chemist due to the quality, shape and colour of the glass!

However, now that this week had drawn to a close me and Pat are looking forward to next weeks dig at Castle Donnington as we’re hoping to get our hands on some good old fashioned medieval archaeology and seeing some new and old faces getting stuck in! Hooray!

Fingers crossed for some lovely weather!

Over & Out,

Jennifer Drapans (A new archaeologist joining the Sir John MooreTeam)


SJMF goes on the road!

Today saw the first day of our North West Leicestershire County Council Housing Department Northern Parishes dig in sunny Kegworth.  With background sounds of the weir and airplanes, we set up camp in The Paddocks, a small water meadow next to the river and an open site with the potential to hold artefacts relating to the near by water mill, breweries and just people passing by over time.  It was great to see some familiar faces from last year’s dig returning, as well as plenty of newbies joining in the fun including lots of little people loving the chance to get muddy finding treasures.

With 7 test pits open in total, the variety of finds has been amazing after just one day!  We have seen lots of glass, including a particularly nice chunk of blue glass with easily datable patterns, a bottle fragment with lines to measure medicine dosages and a lovely but mysterious lid/brandy glass bottom which is still raising debate!  Numerous clay pipe stems and sheep “knuckles” found in one pit suggests a meeting of gentlemen, possibly to play a game originating in Roman times using these bones which is similar to the more modern “jacks” and of course there were pottery sherds aplenty!

It was fantastic to have Kegworth’s local experts, Robert and Pat, on hand again to share their local and archaeological knowledge, and we hope the word will have spread and more people will join us tomorrow (and that the rain will stay away!!).  Did you hear us on Radio Leicester by the way??

Check out the Council’s page at or join their facebook page

Susie and Jen x


The final day of summer school 2012 :’(

We came to the end of this years dig this afternoon, with unbelievable progress made on the outhouse trench so a huge well done and thank you to all of our young archaeologists!!

Today was a bit of a funny one with everyone feeling the heat and enjoying the sunshine! In the morning we finished off bits of digging and completed our finds washing quest. After a lunch in the cool shade of the stables, we ventured upstairs and even onto the roof to have a look at grass crop marks which might give us a clue as to where would be good to dig next year – I’m still looking for that kiln!!

The day was rounded off by an epic water fight, and exhausted, muddy and very very wet we closed the trench for the final time for a few months.

Just to keep Your archaeology brains ticking over til next time, here’s today’s quiz…

1. Why can’t we use finds from the spoil heap?

2. What is the proper name for the glass dome on the roof?

3. What 2 items are Jen obsessed we need?

4. What was built in the grounds during world war 2?

5. Who won the water fight?


See you soon Folks :D



Day 2 and 3, the era of the small finds

An exciting couple of days for our young archaeologists this Tuesday and Wednesday with finds aplenty and some fascinating research going on. Tuesday saw a sprinkle of rain in the morning, so we headed to the hall to make a start on the graffiti recording.  Thanks to our new heritage department iPad, some brilliant crayon rubbings and Mrs Lemottee and Emily’s photography skills, we are well on our way to creating our map and database!  We particularly enjoyed finding the boys in the register andusing detective skills to work out who had carved just initials!

Fortunately the rain passed over us and we were able to dig in the afternoon, but not before a visit from one of Sir Johns decendants, Peter Moore. The afternoon was very fruitful, with Nadia continuing her lucky streak as a small finds magnet, finding buttons, a doll’s face and even a carved marble figurine head! Hannah unearthed the decorative leg of a school desk and Alexander made a good heady with the final layer of bricks (and I have to mention rookie Lewis and his plate!)

Wednesday was lovely digging conditions, with Mr Lemottee almost finishing the edging ready to record the brick work and the team really working well together to find the last of the clay levels. The finds from the week were washed and allowed us to have a really good look at what we had found. Alexander had done some research around his bottle found onTuesday and was able to tell us that it would have contaand spirits and would have dated before 1943, and Clarice found out about brick manufacturers both modern and old.

Here is todays’s quiz, and well done to Emily H for getting all but one questtime right last time (a man made clay layer will have flecks of charcoal, CBM or other such materials in it).

1. What did Hannah use to clean her desk leg?

2. What colour were the ants?

3. What does it say on the headmaster’s door in the museum?

4. What was the cellar where the bar is used for?

5. What sport did Jen see at the Olympics?


Happy quizzing! :)


August 2012… the finishing line is in sight for the outhouse trench!

Ok, so the blog skipped a few stages of our epic trench excavation, I’ll bring you up to speed…..  At the end of 2010 (20 minutes before the trench was to be closed!) a few bricks were found in a wall structure but underground.  The following school holidays, we started from where the bricks were found and uncovered a quite large, 2 roomed outhouse.  The floor suggests it dates from the same time as he ain building (1697), but there are plenty of later bricks and reused sand stone showing it has been modified and adapted over time.  “What is this building???”  I hear you cry.  Well, having been back through the document archives, we now think it was the pig sty, and the standing outhouse which wa always assumed to have been the pig sty is in fact a later cow shed.  One mention of repairs to the cow shed in a meeting from 1924, and mention of a pig sty in the 1702 statutes seems to point in the right direction.  Plus the standing outhouse is a little on the roomy side for a pig, unless it was spoint rotten!

So onto today – the aim of this week for our intrepid young archaeologists is to tidy up the trench leaving a nice clear edge all the way round the building so that we can photograph and draw it for the records.  Eventually the school will have a sports pitch on top of the site, so we have to make sure we have all the information out of the trench before it is sealed forever!!

Some of the artefacts coming out include building materials from the sty becoming delapidated, household items like bottles and crockery, school related items like slates with handwriting lines etched into them and lovely childhoos items like the arms from porcelain dolls, dominoes and marbles.  It seems the building, or at least its foundations, was used as a rubbish dump before eventually being flattened completely and a concrete base for a greenhouse covered it in the 1950s.

So, onto todays quiz….

1. What gem stone could be set into Clarice’s “sword”?

2 . What was Nadia’s glass marble used for? (clue… it’s not playing marbles!)

3. How do you know if a clay layer is natural or man made?

4. Why do you not wash metal?

5. What was the games piece found today made from?

Happy quizzing folks, see you in the morning :D


Graffiti Project

Exciting news from the SJM heritage team!  Not only has this year seen some brilliant archaeology (more on that to come) but the lovely folk at the Society for Post Medieval Archaeology have also awarded us a small grant to undertake some vital research around our beautiful 18th and 19th century graffiti. Watch this space as we will publishing the research on-line both as a searchable document for those of you with ancestors who may have attended the school and as a comparison tosoother schools with similar phenomena of the period. Thank you SPMA!


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