SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please considering donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!


Medieval past of quaint County Durham village set to be revealed

If you’ve always wanted to be an archaeologist, or maybe just for one day, you can now join a 12-day excavation by the Northern Archaeological Associates at the medieval remains of Brignall. Brignall is located near Greta Bridge in the County of Durham.

The project is in need of volunteers, and you do not even need experience, as a full training will be provided. The project is set the begin on 5 October.

Dr Jo Appleby carefully exhumes the bones of Richard III.

Dr Jo Appleby carefully exhumes the bones of Richard III.

Brignall’s earliest reference can be found in the Domesday Book, which was written around 1086 on the orders of William the Conqueror and is a survey of much of England and parts of Wales. It records Brignall as a village with a small settlement supporting sixteen villagers, six smallholders and three freemen. By 1265, it had an annual and a weekly market. Though it prospered during the reign of Henry VIII, the village is now just made up of a handful of homes.

The project manager is Penny Middleton, and she believes Brignall will be a fascinating site that could provide insight into life in the village five to six hundred years ago.

After the 12-day excavation is over the public is invited to explore all the discoveries.

Recent excavations have turned up some interesting things. You may remember the ‘king in the car park‘, Richard III. Richard was identified with DNA from a descendant of his niece Anne St. Leger and was later interred in Leicester Cathedral during an impressive service.

Another interesting excavation that is set to take place is at Reading Abbey, where the hunt is on for the remains of Henry I and members of his family. The search is being led by the same team that found Richard III, and they believe he too might under the car park.

Photo credit: University Leicester via