Archeological Finds in Lincolnshire

The following is an extract from an article entitled THE LEICESTERSHIRE ARCHITECTURAL AND ARCHaEOLOGICAL SOCIETY which appeared in a 1861 newspaper. It gives account of Roman artefacts found in Skegness and surrounding villages…

The Rev. J. H. Hill laid upon the table a quantity of rude masses of baked clay, which he supposed to be Romand hand bricks, and upon which he favoured the meeting with the following remarks :—

The hand bricks or props which I have brought to-day for your inspection were found in the parish of Orby, Lincolnshire, during the month of August last. I believe them to have been used in the manufacture of hardware of some sort or other. The extent of country in which they are found is very great. The parishes of Orby, Ingoldmells, and Addlethorpe abound with them, and they are met with at Hogsthorpe and Thorpe. There can be no question that these parishes have been used extensively as potteries by the Romans, and I have no doubt there must be many remains of that people imbedded in the marsh where the bricks are found, oftentimes accompanied with pieces of Roman pottery. The Roman town of Burgh joins the parish of Orby, the Roman city of Vainora was only six miles off, and there are traces of a Roman road passing from Vainora to Burgh, and so along the coast, aU which tends to prove that j the bricks are undoubtedly Roman. Now the bricks are found at a depth of from four to seven feet ; they lie under a marine alluvial deposit, and they cross out on the shore at four different points. Much obscurity hangs about these remains, and nothing but ?? digging through the beds of them can throw Light upon the subject. The marsh was probably deposited upon the bricks after the Romans had made their embank- ment, which goes along the sea coast. In digging for the bricks, no tools, nor implements, no arms, no char- coal, were found ; beds of cockle ?? were frequent, and in some cases snail ?? are among the bricks ; some of the bricks are found in a black moor-like sub- stance, which may be the ashes of whatever substance the bricks were burnt with — straw or dried grass — others are in a red powdery brick-dust state. The bricks high up in Orby are smaU, and of a very tender, fraU nature ; lower down they are of a blacker colour, larger in size, and hard, ?? those near the sea are very red, not so hard as the blackest bricks, and very large, but always more or less rounded by the action” of the sea ; they must have supported heavy pottery, and of considerable size. Several of these were thrown up at Skegness by the late storms (so I am informed by Mr. Elmhirst, of Shawell, who has some of them in his possession) : the bricks indicate a progressive manufacture, those far in land being, as I said before, much smaller than those on the coast. I think all the bricks show that they were made with small fingers, probably women and young persons. The bricks lie in thin layers, and stretch in something like Unes from Orby down to the sea, and are found in an extent of about five or six ?? by one, two, or three miles. In searching for tho bricks along a marsh dyke, I could feel them at the bottom of it traversing the dyke, at a distance of about thirty yards apart. The layer of the bricks ap- peared to be about eighteen or twenty inches in width. A friend told me in digging (inland) he found a bone (of an animal), a flat piece of brick bearing marks of hay or straw on both sides, but not presenting any appearance of being part of a vase. In my diggings I met with nothing but small pieces of Roman pottery at the old surface of the marsh, where the leaves of the water lily, grasses of aU descriptions, pieces of the thorn, &c, were almost as perfect as when the first alluvial deposit was laid upon them which happened centuries back. I hope at some early period to make a further investigation of these curious remains of the olden time.

Source: Leicester Chronicle – Saturday 30 November 1861



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