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St Aldate's Church Oxford

Tyler, Ric St Aldate's Church Oxford. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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An archaeological watching brief was maintained by the Oxford Archaeological Unit (OAU) during reordering work at St Aldate's Church, Oxford (NGR: 451350 206000) between
August and October 1999. Thewatchingbriefhas revesled evidence for Saxon occupation on the site, an interesting development not only for the history of the church itse$ but for the early development of the City of Oxford.
Internally, the principal area of work requiring archaeological monitoring was the reduction
of the floor level by c.0.50m over thefull area of the chancel, nave and aisles of the church. In
addition, excavations for the installation of a new total immersion baptistery within the area
of the south aisle were undertaken under archeological conditions. Externally, a watching
brief was tnaintained upon the excsvation of ground beam trenches related lo the
construction of a new linking range and entrance building to the north of the north chancel
Evidence for Saxon occupation on the site was recorded in the form of a series of eight
inhumation burials within charcoal lined graves. Little evidence was retrieved for the layout
of the early church, the result of the extensive digging of later graves within the church and
the fact that the excavation was limited to a large extent by the level of the reduced dig.
However, a small 'island' of Saxon occupation surface was exposed within the nave of the
church while a fragment of 10th-century cross-shaft with carved 'knotwork' decoration was
identified, re-used within the masonry of the south nave walL
It has been established that the 14th-century crypt beneath the south aisle was not originally
furnished with a third, western bay as has previously been supposed, the space having
formerly been occupied by a lateral stairwell. A total of 38 brick-lined shaft graves and one
brick constructed barrel vault, atl of 18th and early - mid l9th-century date were exposed
within the body of the church. Shafts were identified within both the north and south aisles
although the main concentration was within the central section of the nave. Many retained
capping slabs while a number of examples were noted to contain the fragmentary remains of
wooden and/or lead lined cffins. The exposed graves were for the most part left undisturbed
and were recapped with concrete slabs prior to the installation of the new floor slab. Two
shafts, containing a total of three burials, were unavoidably impacted by the revised floor
design. These were emptied and the burials reinterred within the church.
Evidence for the 1832-4 and 1862-3 re-orderings ofthe church was recorded in the form of
wallfootings, former floor surfaces and a stone font base.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Buildings
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2022 09:54
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2022 09:54
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6458

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