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furnace at Elsyng Palace

Fully excavated furnace at Elsyng, part of Henry VIII's kitchen range (photo: Enfield Archeological Society)

The second programme in Channel 5's archeological series Digging up Britain's Past will be looking at discoveries from the time of Henry VIII, ie the first half of the 16th Century, and specifically at the excavations carried out by Enfield Archeological Society at the site of Elsyng Palace, which was situated very close to the present Forty Hall.

Elsyng became the property of Henry VIII in 1539 and served as a royal palace until James I had it partially demolished in 1608.  James used some of the material from Elsyng to extend another royal palace, Theobalds.  Elsyng was completely demolished some time in the 1650s.  It was only in the 1960s that its location was rediscovered.

The programme, to be broadcast at 7pm on Saturday 12th January, includes footage from last summer's digs at Elsyng, which concentrated on Henry VIII's kitchen ranges.

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Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #4340 10 Jan 2019 16:41
The Enfield Archaeological Society {weather permitting} will be opening trenches in Broomfield Park on 19th and 20th of January excavating a possible Tudor garden feature. If you are local you are welcome to watch Enfield's time team in action but be sure to wrap up warm!

This is to be carried out as a precautionary measure in advance of the work to create the new wetlands in areas which have not previously been investigated.
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #4353 21 Jan 2019 16:39
I went down to the excavation on Saturday and talked to Martin Dearne about progress. The trenches intersect the area where "crop marks" appear on the 1999 Google Earth image. Sadly it doesn't seem that we have an undiscovered Elizabethen garden, but those marks were not just where a circus or fair had flattened the grass that summer.

There are shallow trenches and gravel paths, and a wider circle around the one which appears in the 1999 image. Although there is a scattering of some Tudor period sherds, in his view it's no more than you would expect given the proximity to Broomfield House.

He suggested, without having had time to analyse the results properly, that it might be a site dating from the late 19th/early 20th c. I hope I've summarised this properly. He will write an interim report, but a full report on the whole area will await completion of the watching brief on the later work to install the wetlands.

So what is this? I wonder whether it was the site of the gymkhanas held in the park? Time to examine the old photos - unless anyone remembers events in this area. And thanks to Martin and his team of volunteers working in the cold and damp and digging in the sticky wet clay!

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