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Excavation reveals secrets of Tudor palace at Enfield

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of a staircase and a cache of Tudor workers’ tools buried underneath a historic Enfield estate.

Excavation reveals secrets of Tudor palace at Enfield
Excavations at the Forty Hall site [Credit: Enfield Archaeological Society]
The selection included a hammer with parts of its wooden handle still visible was discovered by Enfield Archaeological Society during its annual dig at the site of the historic Elsyng Palace which stood in the grounds where Forty Hall is now.

Queen Elizabeth I and Edward VI spent part of their childhoods at the palace on Forty Hill. They heard about he death of their father Henry VIII whilst there.

John Pinchbeck from Enfield Archaeological Society said the team of diggers uncovered a range of finds.

“One of the most interesting things we found was an unusual concentration of what we think may be mostly Tudor hand tools. Many of them were too badly corroded to identify immediately, but one was clearly a hammer, which even had traces of its original wood handle still in the socket.”

They also discovered a fragment of purple stained glass as they excavated the mid-sixteenth century room. Mr Pinckbeck said this was a very unusual find on the site.

They also found a delicate bone hairpin.

Excavation reveals secrets of Tudor palace at Enfield
The site of a staircase at the former royal palace [Credit: Enfield Archaeological Society]
“It has a carved decoration and evidence that it was once coloured green, it is a very evocative and personal object that may once have adorned a royal head,” said Mr Pinchbeck.

The team spent a week excavating the site and welcomed members of the public to have a look as part of the national festival of archaeology which runs throughout July.

The excavation looked at the interior of a building which the society first uncovered two years ago. This year archaeologists wanted to learn more about the size of the building and the way it was built.

The discovery of the remains of what is thought to be the site of a wooden staircase suggests that the building had at least two floors.

Other treasures revealed during the dig include the remains of expensive coloured glazed floor tiles which were removed when the palace was demolished in 1650.

Archaeologists found pieces of green, yellow, brown and black tiling which helped them build up a picture of how the room looked in its heyday.

Mr Pinchbeck said: “We also found a number of walls, although most of these were fairly insubstantial and in some cases were only made of a thin line of roof tiles laid in mortar.”

Author: Julia Gregory | Source: Barnet & Whetstone Press [July 24, 2016]

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