10 October - Archaeology - Carved Fragment from South Transept

Today at our excavation at Holy Trinity church Minchinhampton we have found this beautifully carved architectural fragment. It is probably from a crocketed pinnacle and may be from a tomb, or decorated wall niche. Similar crocketed pinnacles can be seen on the mid 14th century tomb in the south transept.
Finding tiny fragments like this will allow us to reconstruct aspects of the medieval church that were destroyed during the Reformation, by Puritans, accidental damage or by the Victorian rebuilding.

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology

CarvedFragment FromSouthTransept FromSouthTransept2


6 October - Project Update

We are still on schedule for Advent! The builders have started work on building up a solid floor base; the archeological work on site is almost completed (see reports on this page and http://urban-archaeology.blogspot.co.uk). Water in the church: a blocked drainage culvert found running under the church will be used as a useful route for rainwater disposal from the north side north/south side of church; the cistern discovered under the sacristy will be drained and safely investigated towards the best solution. The architect, archaeologist, builder and structural engineer have been collaborating closely to preserve our ancient building and it clearly needed it! Donations for the 6P’s campaign can be made using the reordering gift aid envelopes available in the Porch room or from the Church office in Butt Street. Similarly Chair sponsorship leaflets.

Mandy and Howard, Church Wardens.

4 October - Archaeology - Fragments

More from the excavation at Holy Trinity church, Minchinhampton. This time a pit...backfilled with architectural fragments from the medieval church. The pit is below our formation level so we're not lifting the stones, but are taking tracings of the profiles and hope to be able to date them, and work out where they would go in the church.

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology


3 October - Archaeology - Mass Dial ?

More inscribed stone from our excavations at Holy Trinity church, Minchinhampton. This time a small fragment with circles and scribed radii. At first glance it looks like a Mass dial, a form of sun dial used to tell time for services, however it is very small and the scratches are very shallow compared to most examples, and there isn't really a hole for the gnomon - the stick that casts the shadow

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology


The 6P’s PROJECT goes ahead!

Thank you for the amazing amount of support received in getting the first and biggest phase of this project off the ground. 


Project update from the churchwardens

Work started in August with the successful removal of asbestos which had been found located around some of the heating pipes and the boiler. Pew removal and preparation for the installation of the new boiler and heating system follows on. We’re delighted that all of the pews are being re-housed within the Parish including with Minchinhampton Rugby Club, Gatcombe Park and people who have wanted one or two to commemorate a special occasion or as a memory of the church as it was.

As many of you will know there was no floor under the pew platforms, just stone, earth and a void. As Chiz Harward, our archaeologist, established with his trial pits earlier this year the Victorians did a ‘very good job’ in creating a clearly defined square void when they knocked down and cleared most of the medieval church and rebuilt the one we have today. A great deal of material is therefore needed to fill this area and to provide layers of insulation beneath the new heating system. ‘Jupiter’ is the system we have been approved to use. It is very up to date technologically and highly recommended for the preservation of historic buildings with very low levels of heat provided to support buildings that were not built with heating in mind and to combat the damp which is particularly apparent in this one. With this and a modern boiler system we are, in line with the experience of Holy Trinity Church, Bradford-on-Avon, hopeful of much reduced heating bills as well as redecorating costs. The Jupiter system will also contribute to the reduction of the effects of the dampness which is taking the paint off some of the stained glass windows.

The Jupiter system of heating is covered by terracotta tiles: there is therefore no screed required which saves time on drying out. This will enable the church to be opened in time for Christmas, but please do not be alarmed when you see an all red floor! During January and February, stone slabs, matching the current limestone flooring, will be laid with different sections of the church being sectioned off as the work progresses. Easter will see a beautiful stone floor with the feature of the Holy Trinity sign marked out with slightly darker stone in the middle as you walk past the entrance part of the church (the narthex).


Chair sponsors - please come forward!

Whether you represent a group, yourself or a local organisation please do think about adding your name, your group’s name or the name of a loved one to those contributing to the new seating in church. We need 300 chairs, 100 have already been delivered. Holy Trinity church building has the largest capacity in this area and, as such, is much sought after for a wide range of musical events, concerts, special services, the hospice, the school, carol services. We hope to build on the community use of this amazing space. Chair sponsorship forms can be picked up from the church office in Butt Street or from the Porch room which is open all day except when events or services are happening.

23 September - Archaeology - More Wall plaster etc

Some more wonderful medieval painted wall plaster from our excavation at the Parish Church. Black lettering, a grey border or dado, and a single fragment with red paint.

Urban Archaeology have today added a short article on the blog explaining a bit of the background to the reordering project. 

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology



22 September - Archaeology - Wall Plaster

Today's stand out find from Holy Trinity church Minchinhampton are these fragments of medieval painted wall plaster. Black painted lettering on white background, with horizontal staves. The letters would probably have been a biblical text, perhaps the Ten Commandments. There is also some grey painted plaster, but nothing to suggest either pictorial scenes, or architectural designs such as lines to suggest ashlar masonry.
Hopefully we will find more of these fragments and perhaps work out a few letters, it will be some jigsaw puzzle though - a tiny fraction of the pieces, and no picture to help us!

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology


21 September - Archaeology - Milk Bottle Top

Not everything we've been finding under the pews at Holy Trinity Minchinhampton has been cigarette related…there's also evidence of a more wholesome nature like this milk bottle top from the mid twentieth century. We'll try and trace the date of this specific design but it is probably from the early 1950's. Milk in glass bottles with cardboard tops was the norm by the 1920's and 1930's, whilst the cardboard tops were replaced by aluminium foil from the 1950's.
The cardboard bottle top has a perforated flap to push a straw through, tops were produced in a wide variety of designs by different companies and the used tops were used by children to play games, latterly re-emerging as 'Pogs' in the early 1990s.
It would be great to hear from anyone who remembers these cardboard tops -possibly on the free third pint bottle of milk given to schoolchildren.

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology


19 September - Archaeology - Sweet Cigarette Card

This morning's star find at Holy Trinity Church Minchinhampton is another cigarette card, this time squarely aimed at children.
This Barratt & Co card from 1955 is from a pack of 'Mickey's Sweet Cigarettes' featuring Tinker Bell from Disney's Peter Pan, number 32 of a series of 35. You'd have to 'smoke' a lot of sweet cigarettes to get the full set...

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology

Tinkerbell1 Tinkerbell2

18 September - Archaeology - Inscribed Limestone

A beautiful day up at Holy Trinity, Minchinhampton. Inside, the contractors are clearing the last of the timber so the paving slabs can be lifted.
In the rubble and dust under the pews we've found two more pieces of inscribed limestone: a possible consecration cross and another fragment of masons' setting out.
When a church is built or substantially rebuilt it is blessed and consecrated by the Bishop in twelve places around the church. These locations are marked with carved and/or painted consecration crosses. Altar slabs (mensa) also have consecration crosses.

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology

ConsecrationCross MasonsSettingOut

16 September - Archaeology - Cigarette Card

Not everything we're finding under the pews at Holy Trinity church, Minchinhampton, is that old...this cigarette card fell through a crack in the floorboards in the early twentieth century. Cigarette cards stiffened packets of cigarettes and from the late 19th century sets of themed cards were printed, with albums produced for card collectors. No. 42 in a series of 50 cards on 'Celebrated Gateways' this card by John Player and Sons dates from 1909.
Was a worshipper desperate for a cigarette, were children engaging in illicit card swaps during prayers, or did reading about St Laurence's Gate, Drogheda relieve a particularly boring sermon? We will never know!

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology

CigaretteCard1 CigaretteCard2


14 September - Archaeology - Mason's Slab

Following with this year's ecclesiastical theme we've just started work today at a new site at the parish church of Holy Trinity in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire; we're going to be posting a lot more on the project as it progresses, but for the moment here's one of our first findings from beneath the pews….
Scribed into this limestone slab are a series of straight lines and arcs that describe the setting out of the complex tracery design of one of the church windows. The sinuous ogee curve of the tracery can be made out, with arcing cusps which would have formed the pointed tops of the window lights. There are more fragments nearby, so we're hoping to be able to piece together the full design, and will be checking to see if it matches any of the surviving medieval tracery.
We're not yet sure whether this setting out dates from the medieval church, or from a major rebuild in 1842, but either way it is a rare insight into the thought process of the mason, and a reminder of the geometry that lies behind window tracery.

Chiz Harward BA MCIfA   Urban Archaeology

Masons slab


12 September 2017 - Work gets underway with removal of pews etc

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21 August 2017 - Removal of Asbestos Begins

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