As with so many of our sites, the suspected manor complex at Granby was discovered by chance after the FARI Safety Officer noticed the lumps and bumps in the field one day and spoke with the landowner about taking a look. The owner was more than happy to have the group carry out an initial topographic survey and this was followed by a small excavation in the autumn of 2001.
Further research revealed that the manor had probably been in existence from soon after the Norman conquest until the mid 15th century when it fell into disrepair. From the limited documentary evidence it seems likely that this was because the owner had picked the wrong side in the Wars of the Roses and had suffered attainder – the loss of titles and lands on the orders of the King.
Aerial photographs have helped to reveal the extent of the manor and also highlight the very fine ridge and furrow fields that surround the site.
An attempt to conduct a resistivity survey of the site in the early part of 2001 failed because of the waterlogged nature of the site. Ideally a further survey would have been attempted but this ambition was hampered by the foot and mouth epidemic which kept the site closed for much of the rest of the year.
In the autumn of 2001 it was decided to place two trenches just inside the boundary of the earthworks to try and identify exactly what the features were that we were investigating. The positioning of the trenches was decided after a topographic survey of part of the site.
No extant walls or foundations were uncovered but a clearly defined rubble layer was discovered some 20 to 40cm below the surface. This appeared in both trenches although the differences in depth at which it was located and the lack of rubble in between might indicate that two separate collapsed walls or features were represented.
Within the lower of the two rubble layers a considerable number of medieval pottery sherds were discovered.
Although the excavations were of a very limited nature and could only provide the most basic of dating evidence, they did confirm the presence of a substantial stone building on the site dating at the latest to the late 15th century. The lack of any post medieval pottery on the site would appear to support the contention that the site was abandoned in the mid – late 15th century and that there was no further substantive occupation. This would in turn support the documentary evidence for the site being subject to attainder.