Time Team Day 25 - Governor's Green
Good morning, we are nearly there with our Thirty-One days of the Time Team, and this time we are heading to Governor’s Green in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth’s History as a seaport stretches into medieval times. The Time Team will look for the history of Portsmouth, especially a hospital that was on the site. The patch of green has seen a lot of action over the years. A Tudor Mansion was built on the site. During World War II bombs were dropped on the site. Will the Time Team be able to discover the medieval history of the site? Will they be able to discover this history without the bomb squad?
Portsmouth has the best deep port in England and is important to the defense of Britain. Henry VIII fortified the harbor. The site sits in one of the last remaining fortifications. Tony catches up with the local historian to talk about the old medieval hospital and the history of the site. The Chapel was built in 1212, eventually becoming part of a Tudor mansion. Then the armed forces used the chapel for their services until World War II came and the chapel was bombed. This is the first time that the site will be dug.
A history of the area was published in the Victorian era and included a list of the buildings on the site. Can the Time Team trust this source? While geophysics does its thing on the site, Stewart and a geography professor are looking at maps of the site, overlaying the Tudor Maps with modern maps of Portsmouth to determine how accurate they are. A map from 1584 shows a detailed map of the hospital. Armed with this map, Stewart will plot the location of the old medieval road to determine where the hospital was. How accurate are these old maps? These maps are almost too good to be true for the Time Team.
Tony then talks with Helen Geake and Carole Rawcliffe talk about the history of the hospital. The hospital was dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. The hospital was built by the Bishop of Winchester. He was the most powerful man in England, and while King John was away in 1214, he ruled England. The Bishop of Winchester established the hospital to look after the poor and the sick. Carole is thrilled with the possibility of learning more about the history of the site because a loft of the records about it was destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The site potentially has the oldest stone buildings in Portsmouth. After John Gater gets his results back and a large trench one goes in. However, it immediately reveals a large modern concrete surface. They will have to get beneath the concrete to find more evidence. Trench two also goes in and there is evidence of a medieval building.
Mick and Carole talk with Tony about the chapel building. In Medieval Times the chapel would have been used for the hospital. The people would have been able to watch mass and be taken care of by laypeople. The impression would have been you were in a church where people were laying on the side. The dig is off to a good start! What will the Time Team discover about the chapel and the hospital? Will the bomb squad have to be called in? Tune into this episode to find out more about this chapel and hospital!
There is a fun little thing about this episode: Victor Ambrus the artist sneaked a drawing of Phil, Tony, and Mick in his artwork. This would be an episode to show for a history fun day and for research.
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