Some archaeological sites in Bawdrip
Centre of the village
An archaeological evaluation in 1996 in the area of the orchard revealed evidence of structures and finds dating from the at least the 11th century onwards. The medieval features were buried under a deep deposit of cultivation soil and although the excavators suspected they had discovered several structural beam slots, it was not possible to reconstruct plans. Near the centre of the village of Bawdrip, archaeological deposits suggested that the earliest phase of settlement was of the 12th/13th century with deposits and features of the 10th/11th century through to the 13th/14th century. Features included boundary or drainage ditches and beam slots for wooden buildings.
In 2005-2006, an excavation was undertaken to the west of Church Road, prior to the construction of new housing. The foundations of a medieval, stone-built house were uncovered. The house appeared to have fronted onto and have been oriented on Church Road. The finds suggested that it had been built during the 14th century and had been demolished or became derelict during the 16th or 17th century. The house foundations sealed features, principally rubbish pits, which were broadly dated to the 12th to 14th centuries.
‘Roman pavement’, found in a field at Bawdrip ‘some years ago’, is recorded in seventeenth century. In 1827 a villa was referred to on the south side of the Polden Hills. Flue tiles, pottery and a bead were mentioned, now in the Somerset County Museum. The site was called ‘Churchie Bushes’ but there is no such field name in the parish. In 1956 T J Miles and V J Smith made a search for the site and found Roman flue tiles and foundations in ‘Lower Piece Field’ which had been ploughed. Excavations in this and the adjacent field revealed the foundations of two buildings. Coins, pottery etc. suggested 1st – 4th century occupation. This location may be confused with the site of a chantry. Flints, flint flakes and scrapers have been found widely in the Bawdrip area.
Work over the last decades has revealed evidence of Roman structures, probably a farmstead, together with pottery from the later Romano-British period. Medieval remains suggest activity in the area. The route of the A39 is thought to follow a Roman road from the Foss Way at Ilchester to a possible transhipment point on the River Parrett estuary.
The area of Crandon Bridge and Knowle Hill has been investigated over the last decades and evidence of occupation from the prehistoric period has been suggested by artefacts and earthworks. Crandon Bridge has a complex history in the Roman period. In 1939 and 1945, the stone bases of ten Roman structures were found. The buildings were interpreted as possible warehousing and its use as a Romano British trans-shipment port. Its position on the route from south east Dorset to military establishments in Wales, makes it an ideal site for a port. The evidence for domestic occupation, industrial activity and buildings indicated a settlement which was the size of a small town. In advance of a water pipe line, excavations to the north of Crandon Bridge, uncovered a number of Romano British pottery sherds and a brooch of the same period, indicating activity and possible settlement on this ridge site, close to the line of the Roman Road.
(Summarised from the Somerset Historic Environment Record; June 2012