Crossrail holds archaeology digs in Stepney where Tudor Worcester Manor was unearthed

Archeologist Nina Olofsson ( left) with volunteers Morwenna Cobbold and Jan Drew in Crossrail's dig

Archeologist Nina Olofsson ( left) with volunteers Morwenna Cobbold and Jan Drew in Crossrail's dig at Stepney City Farm - Credit: Archant

Historic finds made in London’s East End going back to Tudor times unearthed during the Crossrail construction could become a unique heritage site.

Archeologist Nina Olofsson ( left) with volunteers Morwenna Cobbold and Jan Drew in Crossrail's dig

Archeologist Nina Olofsson ( left) with volunteers Morwenna Cobbold and Jan Drew in Crossrail's dig at Stepney City Farm - Credit: Archant

The discoveries include a courtyard and the foundations of the historic Worcester Manor built at Stepney Green in the 16th century which had a moat—just where Crossrail is excavating a 150ft hole for a ventilation shaft.

Community archaeology events are being staged at the site at Stepney city farm this week, leading to two public open days at the weekend.

The area returns to parkland once Crossrail finishes construction work on London’s new £16 billion ‘supper tube’ link to Heathrow opening by 2018.

But there is the chance a new heritage site could be created now the Tudor remains have been unearthed.

“The question for Tower Hamlets council will be whether to display this archaeology,” said Crossrail’s senior archaeologist Jay Carver.

“I would like the heritage of the site celebrated, but it needs careful planning because it’s all 8ft below ground level.

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“Landscape architects could come up with a design for a heritage trail around Stepney.”

The site has also proved invaluable to English Heritage which has received four tons of brickwork found buried at Stepney which has had to be carefully removed by Crossrail. It is being used to repair other Tudor buildings around the country with genuine period bricks.

“The courtyard was surrounded by a red-brick Tudor manor house with octagonal towers and a moat with a bridge across,” Jay added. “But Worcester Manor just got forgotten about over the centuries.”

Remains have also been found at the site opposite St Dunstan’s Church in Stepney High Street of one of the earliest non-conformist 17th century chapels and a Baptist college. Artefacts found so far include a Tudor shoe, clay pipes, horse stirrup mounting and even a Georgian or early Victorian chamber pot.

A community archaeology dig is running all week with public open days on Saturday and Sunday where artefacts are on display, along with blacksmith demonstrations, pottery workshops and a farmers’ market.

Nearest Tube: Stepney Green.

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