We spent the Friday of last week surveying the second of the four potential medieval bloomery sites located around the lake that are to be investigated as part of the Windermere Reflections project. This particular site was at High Stott Park, and lay to the north of the Stott Park Bobbin mill, a popular visitor attraction in this part of the Lake District.
The site consists of a flat-topped but slightly mounded field located to the south of the farm at High Stott Park. There is no obviously defined slag mound to this site but the area has slag exposed in molehills across the area and within a small stream/drainage gully on the south side. It seems that the area may have been landscaped probably as gardens for the farmhouse and this could have spread out the slag spoil into a thin layer across the field. Equally the slag may have been brought from elsewhere and dumped within the field, but from above ground we can’t tell if this is so, or if there are any surviving furnaces associated with a medieval bloomery.
For this particular survey we set up a grid of shovel test pits across the site to check for the presences and concentration of slag surviving across the field. The results of this process revealed that slag was present across the entire field for at least 50mx30m. Concentrations of charcoal were present in places and burnt clay deposits were evident in the north of the field. The site will be subject to geophysical survey over the next few days so hopefully this will give us a better picture of what is going on at the site, to see if there is any surviving evidence for furnaces associated with the slag material, and see if this is actually a real bloomery site.