Ravenscourt Park's Manor House and Moat Set to be Uncovered

Archaeological dig aims to explore hidden history of medieval estate

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Ravenscourt Park's Manor House and Moat Set to be Uncovered

Ravenscourt Park

Museum of London Archaeology

Archaeology South-East

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An archaeological dig taking place from September 28 till October 1 aims to uncover some of Ravenscourt Park's hidden history.

The Friends of Ravenscourt Park say that the historic Hammersmith Park is what remains of a much larger medieval estate, and they have teamed up with experts from the Museum of London to pursue a three-stage project to discover its hidden history.

They pose this question:

Q: What links a Plantagenet King’s controversial companion, two Lord Mayors of London, the House of Commons Speaker at the time of Charles !, two 18th century Members of Parliament,  and the Victorian builder and developer whose elegant legacy survives in modern Hammersmith?

A: Down the centuries, these are a few of the many distinguished people who once owned the former moated manor house in Ravenscourt Park.

The Friends say: " In April last year, a geophysical survey of the mound beside the lake and some of the land adjoining the Grade II listed Tea House café – once the stables - revealed the footprint of successive houses that had stood in that area for over 800 years. 

" The same survey also tracked two lost arms of the moat that we now know surrounded the manor until the end of the 18th century. 

" With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are both about to embark on stage two: the first ever trial archaeological excavation of the site of the  manor house and its surrounding moat and causeway."

The last dwelling on the site, a fine Georgian house containing many earlier features, was opened as Hammersmith’s first public library in 1888, when the grounds became a public park.  In January 1941, the building was hit by an incendiary bomb and destroyed. 

The Friends' Chair, Annabelle May says: " This site is like a layer cake of history, and we’re very excited indeed about what we might find there."

The dig will be carried out by Archaeology South-East, part of University College London, between September 28 and Oct . The Friends of Ravenscourt Park and the Museum of London will have information stalls close by.

September 18, 2015