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1974/5-Pleasley Chapel

Medieval Church and Multi-Period

Occupation Site

Moorhaig near Pleasley

Derek March, David Bowler and Frank Fletcher

1961 - Combs Farm

Type - Iron Age/Romano-British

Location - Farnsfield. SK631552

Project Leader - Brian Simmonds


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In 1974 the Society was seeking a research project within easy travelling distance of its membership and the enigmatic ‘Chapel’ placed by the Ordnance Survey in a field at Moorhaigh Farm was, and has been proved to be, a good choice.

The site had been noted in the general Meden Valley field survey but as it had never been under the plough an excavation could be most propitious. The farmer Mr. Holingsworth was not in good health and had grave concerns for the security of his farm. It required a most tactful and professional approach to gain his confidence and open up his land to our group.


The work in 1974 was carried out over 15 weeks and was successful in exposing the plan of a simple two cell early medieval church.


It also became apparent that there was evidence of earlier stone footings on a differing alignment from the chapel. The team was further surprised by a substantial quantity of Romano-British pottery sherds and two Roman brooches.  Also within the sub-soil were two rim sherds of Bronze-age food vessel!  This scatter and other features visible on the surface prompted the team to return the following year.


In 1975 the trench which had yielded the R.B. pottery was extended southwards and more pottery was recovered. Some ten metres distant from the chance! end of the church a further stone structure was found. This ‘building’ was totally excavated and was 6 metres

square, consisting of a low wall, possibly robbed to ground level, with a stone flagged interior. In the centre of the floor was a deep fissure which was at the time interpreted as an old water source.


In the debris outside the walls were found numerous stone roof tiles with a single perforation. It was assumed that this roof had slowly decayed over time rather than collapsing at one time into

the interior.


Leading from the hypothesis that the function of the structure

was the control of a water source the building has been referred to as a sistern. Probably with a timber frame on sleeper walls with a stone tile roof. The northern side of the floor and outer wall facing the church, showed much signs of wear; this fact and the similarity of the stonework to that of the church led the team to believe that the two structures were contemporary.


It was obvious that at some future date the whole site must be more thoroughly examined and researched.

The excavation reports and full scale drawings of the work are filed at

Mansfield Museum, as are the boxed and labelled finds.


Early days on site 1974. Cameraman--Jack Chapman

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