Earthworks gives insight into medieval Hilgay

Dr Clive Bond and his team survey land at Hilgay. Dr Clive Bond assists Alvina De-La-Mare with the optical sight. Behind from left: Ciara Furlong, Edward Cumbley, Kevin Elfleet, Mim Neal and Mike Neal. ANL-150706-205902009
Dr Clive Bond and his team survey land at Hilgay. Dr Clive Bond assists Alvina De-La-Mare with the optical sight. Behind from left: Ciara Furlong, Edward Cumbley, Kevin Elfleet, Mim Neal and Mike Neal. ANL-150706-205902009
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A look at life in medieval Hilgay will be on offer later this month following a successful community archaeology event at the weekend.

The Ouse Washes Landscape Community Archaeology examined a manor house with moat and fish ponds on a site close to the River Wissey, off Thistle Hill Road, on Sunday.

A total of 11 people went along to help Dr Clive Bond survey the remains of this site.

During the event, villagers helped to check the condition of the earthworks along with measuring the depth of the ditch.

Dr Bond said: “On the whole the site is in a good condition. The earthworks and ditch were in a good condition.

“The ditch profile was quite good. The moat was not defensive but to show your prestige. There were also multiple fish ponds which were fed by the River Wissey.

“The farmer has really looked after the monument.”

As this is a scheduled monument, no excavations can be held without a licence.

But Dr Bond is looking to open test pits at the edge of the site, which is not listed, along with others on a sloping hill and village gardens.

He said: “It will be interesting to learn how the poor people lived compared to the lords or monks in the manor house.”

Events are being held during the summer to explore the history of Hilgay, which was an island on the edge of the Cambridge fens.

Two introductions to archaeology with tests pits on July 25 and 26 along with August 1 and 2.

A Roman earthworks survey is on August 9 with a river journey planned for September 6.