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Wolverhampton town defences

In the civil parish of Wolverhampton.
In the historic county of Staffordshire.
Modern Authority of Wolverhampton.
1974 county of West Midlands.
Medieval County of Staffordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO91679851
Latitude 52.58469° Longitude -2.12442°

Wolverhampton town defences has been described as a Urban Defence but is rejected as such.

There are no visible remains.

Description

Map of 1750 shows a large ditch running east-west to the north of, and parallel to Bilston Street It forms the back boundary of buildings fronting on to Bilston Street at this time. To its north is Piper's Meadow. Baker suggests that the ditch may be the surviving remnant of a town defence cutting off the spur of land rising up to St Peter's church to the N. There is no other evidence for town defences, however, and we need not a minor medieval market town to have been defended. Evaluation by Lang to determine extent of survival prior to redevelopment. Radar survey showed series of anomalies, but no clear trace of ditch. 6 trenches to ascertain extent of ditch & any associated features. Most pottery probably C18. Medieval pot from feature which was probably part of pit uncovered by Malam. Lack of finds indicates that area evaluated was peripheral in post medieval period. Limited preservation could mean that function of ditch may not be known. However report indicates that earlier date than post medieval seems unlikely. Suggests function of ditch may have been a) attacking or defensive position from Civil War or b) ditch to drain water off Pipers Meadow & protect buildings fronting Bilston St. Concludes that although there is possibility of feature appearing in course of development, no general horizon of archaeology across site requiring preservation. (Wolverhampton and Walsall HER)

In 1982 2 machine cut sections were made of a medieval ditch running E-W along the rear of properties fronting onto Bilston Street. The ditch is shown on a plan of 1750 as being water-filled and extending over a distance of c150m. It may have been associated either with the 'Great Hall' to the south or the boundary between the manors of Deanery and Stow Heath. The ditch measured 3m wide X 2.50m deep (below present ground level). A pit, containing a similar fill to that within the ditch, lay immediately to the south. Firm dating evidence was not obtained for either feature. A possible C12-13 sherd was recovered from the ditch and a possible C13 sherd from the pit. Both, however, were from unstratified positions. (PastScape)
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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