An archaeological dig in the North York Moors National Park has surprised experts with the wealth and quality of the finds discovered. They include jet rosary beads, pottery and glazed tiles, pointing to a high status, medieval farm with close links to the Cistercian monks of nearby Rievaulx Abbey.
Located four miles outside of Helmsley, the site was known to be the location of a medieval grange built shortly after Rievaulx (which was founded in 1132) and managed by the abbey until its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1539. Despite this established history, a recently completed dig turned up some surprising archaeological finds. The excavation was jointly funded by the North York Moors National Park Authority, the tenant farmer and a local archaeologist.
Miles Johnson, Head of Historic Environment at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “Whilst it’s not surprising that we found evidence of medieval farming, the prestige and range of the uncovered artefacts points to this being a place of high economic importance that reflected the status of the Abbey.
“For the archaeologists to find a cellar and what we think are glazed roof tiles from a medieval farm of this period is almost unheard of. Some finds also relate to the process of iron smelting, which was clearly happening onsite and indeed there was also an iron hunting arrow.”