Market Place, Atherstone

Description of this historic site

The site of the Medieval market place of Atherstone. The site is located on Church Street, Atherstone.

Notes about this historic site

1 An archaeological evaluation revealed a series of rough cobble and rubble surfaces which made up the Medieval market place. The earliest surface dated to the 14th/15th century. Evidence was also found to suggest a Medieval timber structure and pits occupied the site.
2 To the west of the market place, to the rear of 10 -16 Church Street, a desk based assessment revealed the potential for archaeology to be encountered. The area is situated close to the market place and the medieval town core.
3 In 1246, the Abbey of Bec, the then lord of the manor, was granted a charter to hold a weekly market on Tuedays.
The main market place was a fairly large rectangular area between the church and Long Street. The block of housing between Church Street and Market Street represents an area of later market infilling.
Lack of erosion on one of the surfaces uncovered suggests the presence of a structure – a Medieval timber structure – which had protected the surface.
In addition to the market charter granted in 1246, a charter was granted that year for a 3 day fair. A second charter later in 1246 was granted for an annual fair.
A possible site for a fair is in the wider end of the present Station street (back lane); and the funnel-shaped area at the east end of North street may have been where a horse fair was held.
4 Newspaper article on the 1994 excavations.
5 Further newspaper article.

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