Good morning, Thirty-One Days of the Time Team continues with the Birthplace of the Confessor. This time, the pressure is on the Time Team, as the whole village gets in on the dig. Town pride and Time Team clash in this episode.
Islip has a claim to fame. It is said that it was the birthplace of Edward the Confessor. The Time Team needs to find the chapel that was built in his honor as well as the palace where he grew up. The problem is that the town has never been dug before. It will be a tall order for the Time Team and they have three days to solve this mystery. Is Islip the birthplace of Edward the Confessor?
Edward the Confessor is famous for keeping the country safe during his reign and for Westminster Abbey. He gained the name “Confessor” after his death. In the meantime, Mick Ashton is talking with the villagers who invited the Time Team to dig in their village. Tony is skeptical because there were no Saxon finds in the village. This is the first time there was a dig in the village.
Stewart Ainsworth and Helen Geake are working together to figure out where the chapel was built. Ainsworth talks about the challenges map makers had back in the back day. Mapmaking was not a precise science because the makers and surveyors were relying on local knowledge. John Gater works on the chapel site. The chapel area was not an easy area to survey or use geophysics. The chapel site is in a lumber yard so there will be delays. The Time Team helps unload some wood.
The chapel could be anywhere. It could even be in the yard of the pub or a local garden. The owner permits the Time Team to dig some test pits. The house may hold a clue as to where the chapel was. The house was called Confessor’s gate. The wall is less than 100 years old, however, there was a head stuck into the wall. Did the locals recycle something found and stuck it in the wall? It is just another mystery that Time Team will need to solve.
The Confessor’s gate site may hold some better clues for the Time Team. The plans of the land show something akin to a chapel. One of the test pits will be extended to see if there is something to the house plans. Time Team will have two possible chapel sites to examine. Day one has mixed results. The site in the lumber yard is proving to be disappointing. A new map discovery is providing the Time Team with new guidance on where to dig for the chapel. One site is in a church graveyard, so they will need some special permission to dig in the graveyard.
Tony explores more of the history of Edward the Confessor. Edward the Confessor left no heirs which lead to the Conquest. In 1161 he was made a saint. When he died he left the palace in Islip to a monastery. The monastery then built the chapel to recognize the birth site of Edward the Confessor. Is there anything that remains of the chapel or the Saxon palace?
Will the Time Team find the chapel of Edward the Confessor? Will the Time Team find Saxon pottery to keep the villagers happy? Tune in to the episode to find out more.
This was an enjoyable episode to watch throughout. It was interesting to learn more about Edward the Confessor. Islip was proud to be part of Edward the Confessor’s story. Additionally, the Time Team brought in a variety of sources to determine the location of the chapel. This would be a good episode to show when English history is discussed.
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