Everything ElseHistory

Elizabethan Ranges, Churchyards and Roman Villas

a group of people examining church stones

We have nearly 30 members and since completing our first major project at Southminster Hall uncovering a previously unknown early medieval stone ‘palace’ built for the Bishops of London, we have moved on.

Over the winter we were asked by the Heritage and Conservation specialist at Maldon District Council to look for one of the vanished Elizabethan ranges at Creeksea Place, we found the walls and were able to record our findings in the professional way we’ve been trained. We’re going back in the Autumn to look for the staircase!

Far away shot of groups of people bending over and clearing siteA group of people fingertip searching at an old church site

Now we’re at the site of the former Mayland Church, demolished in the 1870s. We’re clearing, recording and surveying the churchyard as part of the Discovering England’s Burial Spaces project run by Historic England. We’ll also be excavating the foundation walls of the church and looking for evidence of the earliest use of the site which we believe dates back to the 1200’s or before. We’re NOT going to be excavating graves!

Three people standing on sand, looking for finds at Maylandsea

We’re also investigating areas of nearby Maylandsea looking at a Roman Villa site eroding out of a recorded cliff area, we intend to survey the site, catalogue our finds and send our results to be included in the Historic Environment Records. The site hasn’t been looked at since the early 1980’s and is rapidly disappearing. Our group undertakes research, excavation, photography and recording to as high a standard as an amateur group can.

We’ve given several talks to local u3a groups about our Southminster Hall excavation, and are happy to visit other u3a in the area. We plan to hold an open day in the summer at our current site for u3a groups to visit and perhaps have a go at ‘digging’ and recording, we can also give advice to other groups about how to go about receiving funding, we were lucky enough to receive over £11,000 in grants.

We will be having a stand at the regional conference in Christchurch, Chelmsford in May, and attending the Research and Shared Learning national u3a conference in Preston Lancashire in August. All in our medieval costumes!

If you would like to get in touch with the group, you can contact them through the Burnham-On-Crouch u3a website.