Medieval features at Park House, Bridge End, Warwick
Evidence for a causeway was found at Bridgend, Warwick during an excavation. It ran down to the old bridge. Remains of timber framed buildings were also found. All the features were of Medieval date. The buildings appear to have been cleared in the 19th century. More recent excavations indicate the survival of structural remains to the south of the 1983 excavations.
1 Trial excavations at Park House revealed over 1.5m of stratified deposits going back to the 13th century or earlier at the site of the Medieval bridge over the River Avon. Until the 18th century the bridge (PRN 1963) lay in the shadow of Warwick Castle, under Caesar’s Tower. When a new bridge was built up-river and large areas of the surrounding countryside emparked the Medieval bridge was neglected and soon collapsed. The grounds to Park House, now being developed, run down to the old bridge and encompass the Medieval frontage on the street leading to the river. Excavation on the frontage has so far encountered the stone footings of three buildings, with intact floor deposits and hearths, and an external courtyard. It appears that each successive house was built on top of the ground floor remains of the previous ones, thus raising buildings above the river.
2 Excavations were completed in April 1984. The earliest feature on the site was a stone-revetted causeway which led through the marshes to the Old Bridge. Rubbish and silt accumulated against the causeway and eventually it dried out enough for houses to be built. The earliest buildings fronted the causeway, which came to be known as Little Street. Later on the gravel courtyards behind the buildings were encroached upon by houses fronting on Mill Street. The earliest pottery seems to date to the 12th-13th century.
4 The excavation uncovered a causeway on the approaches to the bridge, which must have been in existence by c AD 1200. A series of timber framed buildings was built on the frontage until the frontage was finally cleared at the turn of the 19th century. The archaeological remains relate largely to the 13th-16th centuries. Smithing seems to have been one of the most important trades here although the evidence for this comes mainly from documentary sources.
5 More recent excavations, in 1996, indicate the survival of structural remains to the south of the 1983 excavations. 13th-18th century deposits were recorded, with 1.35m of largely medieval stratigraphy. The street frontage is shown on a map of 1788, and it is likely that the density of remains will extend this far south.