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William Julien Courtauld Hospital, Braintree, Essex

Clarke, Rachel (2011) William Julien Courtauld Hospital, Braintree, Essex. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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The Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust have commissioned Oxford Archaeology East to undertake an archaeological desk-based assessment for a c.1ha site currently occupied by the William Julien Courtauld Hospital in Braintree (TL 75275 22675). The study area is located on the west side of London Road, a former Roman Road linking Sudbury to Chelmsford. The proposed development will entail the construction of 29-31 new dwellings, with an option to retain or demolish the two former staff houses occupying the frontage.
The desk-based assessment, combined with the results of monitoring during the excavation of two infiltration pits, has demonstrated that there is a high probability for archaeological remains to be present within the study area, with the greatest survival of deposits likely to be along the frontage zone. Much of the remaining site has been extensively landscaped, and it is likely that any below-ground deposits will have been affected to a greater or lesser degree in these areas.
There is high potential for below-ground deposits of (Late) Iron Age, Roman and post-medieval date within the study area. Based on current knowledge the potential for earlier prehistoric, Saxon and medieval remains is thought to be low to moderate, although there is a slight chance that Saxon burials may be present.
Iron Age deposits may include both occupation and burial-related remains that may be present along and to the rear of the frontage zone. Similarly, Roman deposits could represent road-side occupation and/or industrial activities (?iron working) concentrated along the frontage zone, possibly with cemetery remains extending to the rear/west. Roman pottery and deposits have been recorded within and to the north of the study area in Hunnable's Pit, during the construction of the hospital in the 1920s and most recently during the monitoring of the infiltration pits.
The high likelihood for post-medieval remains being present within the study area is supported by cartographic evidence, which indicates the presence of a farm here in the 19th century. This comprised a house on the frontage and barns/agricultural buildings to the rear with gardens, yards and fields extending to the south and west. The farm, and a number of plots to the north, were owned by Clare Hall, Cambridge (now Clare College). During the late 1860s these plots were bisected by the cutting for the railway branch-line to Bishop's Stortford, which forms the northern boundary to the current study area (now the Flitch Way). Other than this the field divisions shown on the early maps are largely recognisable today; the farm buildings were demolished to make way for the cottage hospital in the early 1920s.
There are no Scheduled Monuments, Registered Battlefields or Registered Parks and Gardens within the vicinity the study site, and although there are a number of Listed Buildings nearby these are generally located to the north and on the opposite (eastern) side of London Road. The hospital and two associated staff houses are of some local architectural interest and will require a full building survey before the site is redeveloped.
Very few (modern) archaeological investigations have been undertaken in this part of Braintree which makes the location of the current study site of some significance in terms of establishing the southern extent of the Roman town; it may also provide an opportunity to address a number of key regional research priorities.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Essex
Period > UK Periods > Modern 1901 - present
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology East
Depositing User: Chris Faine
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2014 09:55
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2014 09:55
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/1993

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