Do you dig Greys Court?

Round & About

Greys Court

As part of this month’s Festival of Archaeology, archaeologists from the National Trust and South Oxfordshire Archaeology Group will investigate some of Greys Court’s fascinating buried archaeology. Katy Dunn tells us more…

The known history of Greys Court, between Henley and Rotherfield Greys, stretches back over 900 years, with the earliest known record being the Domesday Book of 1086. The de Grey family constructed the original manor house on the site, and early historic fabric survives, notably the Great Tower and adjacent wall fragments, dating from the 12th-14th centuries.

The archaeologists will examine the evidence of a series of “parch-marks” which are revealed on Greys Court’s oval lawn in particularly dry weather. These hint at a courtyard wall with a possible gatehouse structure. There were also other buildings on the site, now demolished. The team will also be guided by a geophysics survey across the lawn.

National Trust archaeologist Adrian Cox said: “We are hoping to add to our knowledge of the fascinating early history of Greys Court. We have a range of information already, including aerial photographs and the evidence of an 19th-century engraving depicting the site and showing its courtyard walls. We want to better understand the medieval and post-medieval layouts of the manor, so that we can give visitors a more accurate picture of how it looked in the past. We are aiming to give visitors close access to this archaeological research as it unfolds on site.”

The National Trust is proud to support the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) Festival of Archaeology, the UK’s biggest annual celebration of archaeology.

Shannon Hogan, National Archaeologist with the National Trust said “We’re delighted to be working with Council for British Archaeology on the Festival Archaeology at the places we care for. Archaeological experiences and activities offer opportunities for more people to find ways to connect with and learn about their local history and heritage. The Festival of Archaeology helps us deliver more for communities by uniting children and adults alike in a range of heritage activities and events.”

Archaeologists will be working at Greys Court from 15th to 21st July, and will be very happy to speak with visitors and explain the work and there may be opportunities to get involved.

To find more National Trust Festival of Archaeology events, visit Festival of Archaeology 2024 | National Trust