New site of Battle of Barnet?

Written by  Monday, 01 February 2016 11:30
The hunt is on: Sam Wilson (right) project supervisor for the Battle of Barnet archaeological investigation with metal detecting volunteer, Eric Weinrabe at work in fields off Kitts End Lane last autumn The hunt is on: Sam Wilson (right) project supervisor for the Battle of Barnet archaeological investigation with metal detecting volunteer, Eric Weinrabe at work in fields off Kitts End Lane last autumn
Farmland to the west of Wrotham Park, alongside Kitts End Lane and the St Albans Road, is emerging as a likely site of the Battle of Barnet.

Sam Wilson, the military archaeologist leading a year-long metal detecting survey, says nothing has been found so far that could be positively linked to the battle, but he remains optimistic that he and his team of volunteers are working in the right area.

Two lead ram shot that were almost certainly used in the battle were found previously in the vicinity of the Kitts End Lane area that is now being searched, and this has strengthened their theory.

Mr Wilson is carrying out the investigation under the direction of the celebrated military archaeologist Dr Glenn Foard, of Huddersfield University, which has been commissioned by Barnet Museum to conduct the survey and a possible excavation of the site.

They have both always doubted the accuracy of the suggestion by English Heritage that the battlefield was just to the north of Hadley Green, and Mr Wilson told a meeting of the Barnet Society (29.1.2016) that he and Dr Foard are working on the basis that the battle was fought to either the east or west of Wrotham Park.

In their view the most likely site was to the west of Wrotham Park, which would have been on the edge of what was Enfield Chase. The landscape resembled the area described in the most detailed account of the battle.

“We want to test this theory against the archaeology of the site, and two lead ram shot that were found in the vicinity by a local enthusiast, and which we think were definitely from the battle, do support this thesis.”

In their view the most likely site was to the west of Wrotham Park

“Volunteers using metal detectors are now methodically searching each field, one by one. We are doing it very thoroughly, using the best methodology.

“After searching for two months we have not yet found anything that was definitely from the battle, but you have to remember it took Glenn Foard three years to find the precise site of the Battle of Bosworth.”

Among the finds so far are medieval coins including a Henry V farthing that was in circulation at the time of the battle. Another find was an Elizabeth I sixpence in very fine condition.

“We will continue surveying for the next eight to ten months, and in the case of some of the fields we will have to wait until the summer, after harvest time.”

Mr Wilson said another task later in the year would be to test out suggested locations for the chapel that was said to have been erected after the battle, to commemorate a mass grave.

“We shall dig test pits on the suggested site so that we can either prove or disprove the belief that there was a chapel.

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Monday, 01 February 2016 16:28 posted by Guy Cecil

    But they haven't found anything... How can they be so sure?

  • Comment Link Monday, 01 February 2016 16:28 posted by Sam Wilson

    The article plays the theory up a little - it is simply that at present, and needs proper investigation in the forthcoming months. But this is just one such theory - there are a number of alternative sites that need to be considered during the fieldwork to make sure all possible areas are covered.

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