Broadcast 17 March 2004
Videotext Communications was commissioned by Channel 4 to carry out an archaeological evaluation as part of the Time Team television series in the grounds of the Prebendal Manor House, Nassington, Northamptonshire (centred on National Grid Reference 506200 29600). The manor is mentioned in Saxon chronicles as being the subject of a visit by King Cnut in the 11th century. The existing manor house is a Grade 1 listed building of early 13th-century date, the earliest standing dwelling in Northamptonshire. Previous archaeological work had indicated prehistoric, Roman and Saxon activity in the vicinity.
The present archaeological evaluation comprised a geophysical survey, three handdug trenches within the present manor house and two hand-dug test pits and four machine-dug trial trenches located across the site. Geophysical survey was also undertaken on land to the south of the Prebendal Manor House where crop marks, unrelated to the manor complex, were known. The work was undertaken over three days in May 2003.
The results of the evaluation produced more evidence for the use of the site from its prehistoric origins and traced an Iron Age ditch west of its previously known extent.The most significant results provided additional data to the ground plan of the Late Saxon timber hall. It suggested that this structure might be of at least three phases with a post built phase being replaced by a building with wall trenches. Previous excavations had indicated that the wall trench phase of the timber hall was rebuilt at least once, before its replacement by a stone hall in the 13th century. The evaluation also produced the first archaeological evidence for the south wall trench of the timber hall.