Archaeologist to speak on La Grava manorial and monastic excavation

On May 9, 2007, Evelyn Baker, former manager of the Bedfordshire County Archaeological Survey, presents "La Grava: Bedfordshire's Best Kept Secret," about the 13-year project described as "the most important and extensive manorial and monastic excavation of the 20th century."

The site contains over 100 excavated structures, ranging from the 6th century onward; "the largest pottery assemblage in the county" and "remarkably full historical documentation including an early Extent of 1155 describing buildings."

The event will be held at the Leighton Buzzard & District Archaeological & Historical Society's Duncombe Drive Centre in Leighton, England at 8 p.m.

The site:

  • Contains 6th and 7th century buildings
  • Was later an Anglo-Saxon Royal Estate
  • Was later a settlement on the Danish side of the Danelaw in the 10th century
  • Was the hub of a major agricultural enterprise
    *Was a medieval Royal Manor of Leighton with an entry in The Domesday Book
  • Was a priory grange of the double Order of Fontevrault in Anjou from 1165
  • Was a minor palace of the Proctor of the Order soon after 1200
    *Was in the hands of the king & a number of his female relations during the wars with France as an alien priory
  • Was, in 1480, a demesne manor of Princess Cecille, mother of Edward IV
  • And eventually was a decayed and run-down farm.

The English Heritage Academic Referee wrote: "This report is a monumental piece of work resulting from one of the most important and certainly the most extensive excavations of a medieval manorial and monastic site to have been undertaken in the 20th century. It is not for the faint hearted, but I cannot over emphasise its national and international importance."