Heritage Eastbourne are finally returning to Motcombe Gardens, East Sussex to carry out excavations at three sites with the aim of uncovering more about our Medieval past and to further understand the 700-year-old story of one of Eastbourne’s most important farms. For those that aren’t familiar with Motcombe Gardens, they include a small pond and are known for being the source of the Bourne Stream from which Eastbourne derives its name. They are in the very heart of Eastbourne Old Town and are overlooked by a historic circular dovecote and has an adjacent bowls club. It was originally a farmyard.
Uncovering the past
Excavation plans include the buttress, the last external area of the Dovecote to be excavated, to discover once and for all if this was part of the 19th century renovations or possibly earlier! A small area within the Dovecote itself will also be opened to discover if any of the original internal fittings have been preserved underneath the current floor. An enigmatic masonry ‘lump’, standing near the Bowling Green in the corner of the gardens, marks the final spot of the excavation and continues on from discovery work which began in 2020.
Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Tourism and Enterprise, Councillor Margaret Bannister said,
“This summer’s excavation is an exciting continuation of projects previously started last year, which had to be put on hold when lockdown restrictions began. An important development in uncovering more about our local history, we are very much looking forward to hopefully gaining further insight into this fascinating part of Eastbourne’s past. Visitors are welcome to pop along to the socially distanced excavation to watch the team in action and learn more about the latest discoveries as they happen. Regular updates will also be shared via Heritage Eastbourne’s social media channels and website so history enthusiasts can keep up with the latest news.”
This excavation is the final phase of the project organised by The Friends of Motcombe Gardens and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The John Jackson Trust and the Ward Councillors Devolved Budget. Earlier project phases saw Heritage Eastbourne investigate other areas of the Dovecote and the Medieval farm which once stood on the site.
Volunteers will join the Heritage Eastbourne team at the Motcombe Gardens excavation, if you are interested in offering your services as a volunteer please email kelly.vandoorn@lewes-
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