Families enjoy day of digging up history at Heckington Manor

A history day at a derelict manor house in a village near Sleaford proved popular with locals last Saturday.

Digging on the site of the old driveway to the manor house. EMN-210628-181532001
Digging on the site of the old driveway to the manor house. EMN-210628-181532001

The event at Heckington Manor was hosted by new owners Charles and Sally Pinchbeck, working with experts from Heritage Lincolnshire, which is based in the village.

They are keen to promote awareness of the history of the site and prior to beginning renovations wanted to give families a chance to experience it through a hands-on archaeology day.

Community archaeologist Lydia Hendry said it is a building of huge interest to the village, with many people having memories of its previous uses as a rehabilitation clinic for alcoholics, as a care home and as a private residence before the war.

Ryan Godbold of Heritage Lincolnshire gives Chris and Claire Rogers a masterclass in geophysical surveying in the grounds of Heckington Manor. EMN-210628-181451001

As well as sharing memories, to compile an oral history project, people could have a go at excavating in two test pits with archaeologists - one in the sunken garden and one on the line of the old driveway to the front of the house.

Others could take part in doing a geophysical survey of the grounds to pick up remnants of previous buried structures.

There was such interest with the fieldwork, they could have filled the slots several times over.

Lydia said they were teaching people to dig in an archaeological manner, collecting any finds, washing them and identifying them.

New owners of Heckington Manor, Charles and Sally Pinchbeck were thrilled with their archaeology day. EMN-210628-181614001

Mr Pinchbeck was delighted at the enthusiasm and being able to share the heritage as well as being excited to see a piece of Midland ‘black ware’ pottery from Tudor times (16th century) emerge from the pit in the sunken lawn, predating the existing house.

Lydia said: “Cowgate, where the manor stands, was the original road through Heckington going back 1,000 years. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book.”

Talking through the finds table at Heckington Manor hands-on history day. EMN-210628-181429001
Digging on the site of the old driveway to the manor house, with community archaeologist Lydia Hendry. EMN-210628-181543001
From left - Rudi, Annie-May and Rebecca Sinclair get stuck into the archaeology day at Heckington Manor. EMN-210628-181522001
Finds dug up from the grounds of Heckington Manor. EMN-210628-181440001
Residents have a go at digging in an archaeolgical test pit. EMN-210628-181511001
Digging on the site of the old driveway to the manor house, with community archaeologist Lydia Hendry. EMN-210628-181543001
Hands-on archaeology in the grounds of Heckington Manor. EMN-210628-181553001