- In Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, specialists have found the ruins of St Mary’s Church dating back 900 years
- The discovery occurred in the works of the HS2 high-speed project in the United Kingdom which is carried out by a Ferrovial joint venture
Archaeologists working on theHS2 high-speed rail enabling works project in the United Kingdom have uncovered the ruins of a 900-year-old church in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire.
St Mary’s Church was built in 1080AD and went through a series of renovations during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Its ruins are located in the line of the new HS2 British high-speed route and have been discovered by archaeologists working at LP-Archeology. They are now working on removing them carefully together with the contractor Fusion-JV and after their discovery, the team formed by 40 professionals will be able to reconstruct the role of this building in the local community.
“The HS2 project has provided us with a unique opportunity to understand and offer real insight into what life was like in Stoke Mandeville around 900 years ago. I am proud of the Fusion Team and our supply chain partners for the thorough planning and excellent, careful delivery to unveil the forgotten history of St. Mary’s Church.”
The project team will share their discoveries and stories of what life was like in Stoke Mandeville 900 years ago through a series of events and conferences in the coming months.
“Our contribution to the value and breadth of the lasting legacy for the local and national communities further strengthens the pride we feel as we continue to deliver the enabling works for the new railway line.”
Among the discoveries, archaeologists on the site have also discovered some unusual stone carvings, medieval graffiti and other markings as well as two stones with a central drilled hole from which a series of lines radiate in a circle.
Historians consider these markings to be ‘witches’ marks, created to ward off evil spirits by entrapping them in an endless line of maze. There are several well-known examples of these across Britain both in churches as well as houses and sometimes even on furniture.
These pieces can also be interpreted as early sun dials, used by the church to divide up the day into morning prayer, midday prayer and evening prayer. These ‘scratch dials’, are usually found close to the southern door of the church as it a position better suited for a sun dial.
The HS2 project
Together with the joint venture formed by Bam Nuttall and Morgan Sindall, Ferrovial Construction is working on this complex project for the construction of the HS2 main works. It is a scheme that will provide much-needed rail capacity for the UK which is both integral to rail projects in the North and Midlands and also vital for the rebalance of the UK economy.
More information about the project here.