Hudswell residents unearth evidence of village’s past

Villagers in Hudswell have been busy investigating their links with the past.

The village charity has bought their former disused parish church and plans to convert it to a hostel for walkers and cyclists.

The church is Victorian and residents know from old maps that there was an early church on the same site perhaps dating to the 13th century.

However, they also suspected that there might have been an even earlier church as the village was recorded in the Domesday Book completed in 1086.

Local archaeologists who live in Hudswell identified a site in front of the current cemetery, which appeared to show evidence for the remains of a building below the current ground level.

With the support of small grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society, the villagers decided to investigate this site.

Community digs were held on July 8 and 28.

These were attended by more than 45 villagers including many children, who led by our local archaeologists, Cath and Stuart Ross, investigated the site exposing some stonework and unearthing a number of artefacts.

Initially, it was thought that the rounded shape of the stonework meant that it was the apse of an ancient church, but further investigation has indicated that in fact the structure is more likely the remains of a bell pit associated with lead mining, dating from the 17th or 18th century, so not a Saxon church.

The villagers found, among many other artefacts, the bowl of a clay pipe with a maker’s mark, which was probably manufactured by Isaac Cary of York between 1610 and 1640 and a silver penny of Elizabeth the 1st dated to between December 1560 and October 1561.

Martin Booth, from the charity, said: “These finds and many others were all unearthed by members of the local community who were very enthused and excited by the project as you can see from the pictures below.”