Broadcast 3 March 2013
In May 2012 an archaeological evaluation was undertaken by Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ within the grounds of Northwood Preparatory School, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire (NGR 508193 193950), to investigate the site of the Manor of the More, one of the most impressive of the later medieval houses, and comparable to Hampton Court. The Manor was recorded as having a central Inner Court, Base Court and a northern Long Gallery extending for over 75m. The site had been investigated in the 1950s by Professor Martin Biddle, and Time Team aimed to expand upon this work with the assistance of Professor Biddle.
Two geophysical surveys by GSB Prospection had mixed results; they revealed the layout of the Inner Court and associated buildings, but were unable to find any trace of the Base Court and Long Gallery.
The evaluation consisted of seven trenches and confirmed the results of the geophysical survey, and the interpretation and phasing of the 1950s excavation that the Site had seen two main phases of activity – before and after 1426.
The earliest identified structures were the remains of two timber-framed buildings in Trenches 2 and 3 respectively. These buildings are likely to have pre-dated a licence to crenellate of 1426. The remaining structures identified include the Great Hall, the tower of the gatehouse from the Base Court into the Inner Court, and the north-east corner of the northern and eastern accommodation blocks. These structures are likely to date from between 1426 and the period of Cardinal Wolsey’s alterations, after 1521.
The results of the evaluation have augmented existing knowledge of the Manor of the More and warrant further dissemination. It is proposed that a publication report is prepared, summarising the results of the evaluation, and setting the site in its local and regional context. This report will be submitted to Hertfordshire Archaeology and History.