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Colchester Archaeological Trust

CAT Report 550: summary

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Watching brief at Granta House, High Street, Littlebury, Essex: 10th-11th May 2010
by Ben Holloway

Date report completed: May 2010
Location: Granta House, High Street, Littlebury, Essex
Map reference(s): TL561394
File size: 53 kb
Project type: Watching brief
Significance of the results: neg

Summary. Granta House itself originally dates from the 16th century, although it was extensively rebuilt in the early part of the 19th century. The development lies immediately opposite the Holy Trinity Church at Littlebury (EHER 18558-9). It is a flint and stone church of SaxoNorman origin with 12th -15th century alterations. This would have formed the focal point for the village, and it seemed probable that evidence of medieval settlement would be identified in the grounds of Granta House. The site also lies on the edge of the area of the predicted Anglo-Saxon enclosure around the settlement of Littlebury.

Following a Brief issued by Essex County Council Historic Management team (Granta House, High Street, Littlebury. August 2009) a watching brief was commissioned by Mrs Camilla Lethbridge. The watching brief, was carried out by Colchester Archaeological Trust, on the area reduction and foundation trenches associated with a new garden room on the south elevation of Granta House. The reduction and foundation trenches revealed no archaeological features or finds, but the brick foundations of an old Victorian conservatory were identified. They were substantial. A double thickness of brickwork incorporating a brick vent and cast iron pipe-work running from the (now backfilled) boiler room. The conservatory had been demolished in the 1950s (pers comm) leaving a small walled terrace and water feature (these along with the floor level of the conservatory had been removed prior to the ground reduction). The lack of archaeological material may be due to the small scale of the project, or to truncation caused by the development of Granta House and its gardens which were extensively modified and landscaped particularity in the mid 18th century, and in particular by the construction of the mid-late Victorian conservatory which the new garden room is seeking to replace (continuing the tradition of modification that has been ongoing since the house was first built in the 16th century).