"Very rare" Tudor pane found in chute from toilets to moat at Henry VIII palace

By Ben Miller | 24 July 2015

Archaeologists unearth triangle in chute from toilets into moat at 17th century palace

A photo of a small triangular window pane
© Courtesy Enfield Archaeology Society
Archaeologists have discovered a “very rare” triangular artefact from the Tudor period in Enfield, emerging on the former grounds of a palace loved by Henry VIII and stayed at by Queen Margaret of Scotland.

In the culmination of their Festival of Archaeology investigations at Forty Hall Estate, repeatedly used by Henry VIII for hunting in its former guise as Elsyng Palace, Enfield Archaeology Society unearthed a complete window pane, removing the ancient object from the ground to cheers from onlookers.

A photo of a large brown outdoor archaeological trench
Work in progress on the chute© Courtesy Enfield Archaeology Society
“This was found in a guarderobe chute - basically the chute from the toilets into the moat - at Henry VIII’s Elsyng Palace in the grounds of the hall on the final day, last Sunday, of the annual excavations,” says Dr Martin Dearne, the Society’s Director of Excavations.

A photo of people looking into a large square archaeological trench
Surveyor John Pinchbeck has been credited with finding the pane© Courtesy Enfield Archaeology Society
“We were tracing the outline of the palace, once home to the future Edward VI and ‘Bloody’ Mary as children, and in the process found this chute full of demolition material from 1657 when the palace was demolished.

A photo of people looking into a large square archaeological trench
The site of the palace remained unknown until excavations during the 1960s© Courtesy Enfield Archaeology Society
“Quite deep within it was a dump of window glass and lead cames – the channelling that ran round each pane.

A photo of a large country house on a green
The 17th century manor house is Grade I-listed© Wikimedia Commons
“Those are not all that unusual, but there was also the complete triangular pane with its leads still intact – and that really is very rare.”

The work was supported by the borough of Enfield and carried out alongside Enfield Museum Service.


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More Tudor sites to see:

Tudor House, Worcester
Previously used as a work place for weavers, clothiers, tailors, bakers, painters and brewers, this house also provided lodgings, the Cross Keys Inn, a tearoom, restaurant, World War II air raid wardens' post and billet office, school clinic and museum.

Basing House, Basingstoke
This house dates from the Norman period and was the site of the largest private house in Tudor England, suffering at the hands of Oliver Cromwell during the English civil war.

Tudor House and Garden, Southampton
Described as Southampton’s most important historic building, Tudor House reveals more than 800 years of history in one fascinating location at the heart of the Old Town.
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