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Bermondsey Abbey Archaeological Dig

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Tuesday 31 January 2006 1.51pm

You commented: Wouldn't it be nice if the dig unearthed enough of the Abbey to warrant a change in the redevelopment so that the it could be preserved for posterity!

I understand that in Norway (and possibly some other european countries) developments are required by law to carry an indemnity which comes into play if significant remains are found during the excavation process. The indemnity is, in fact, an insurance policy covering the developers losses if the site is deemed of 'national importance' thereby stopping development from taking place. I wish that such indemnities were required here.

Regarding finding the Abbey, most of the Abbey proper lay on or to the north of Long Lane and was destroyed in the creation of Tower Bridge Rd (c1896) and the Local Authority housing to the north east of the Tower Bridge Rd/Abbey St junction.

As I understand it, there were only minor and ancillary buildings located on Bermondsey Sq so the excavation there will only better define the grounds of the Abbey.


Niall Connolly
Tuesday 31 January 2006 2.12pm
Thanks for your comments.
What would be nice would be if someone from the dig team could let us know what they have found so far.
When I lived in Bermondsey Square in the eighties there was an excavation on the site immediately on the other side of Tower Bridge Road before the housing was built. From memory there were some very interesting brick foundations revealed which appeared to suggest that quite a lot of the Abbey Buildings were to the south of Long Lane/Abbey Street.
This site gives quite a good description
Tuesday 31 January 2006 4.21pm
my boyfriend is currently working on the dig at the site, and has said the finds have been amazing. They have so far found the walls of the Abbey, stair turrets with stairs still in tact, the foundation and underlay of the cloisters as well as foundations for an 18th century warehouse.
Of course the site will eventually be built over, after being preserved, however people are free to go and look at the finds in the meantime.
Tuesday 31 January 2006 5.08pm
Hi I am Birdie's friend who is studying Archaeology! Rachee1 is absolutely right. Fantastic remains have been found including the nave of the church which in its day was over 300ft long (this was the biggest church in England). There is archaeological suggestion that the site dates back to Norman times due to remains of a possible Norman chapel.
Tuesday 31 January 2006 5.22pm
That's the news I wanted to hear. I will make sure I get down there soon to see it.
Thanks for your replies.
Tuesday 31 January 2006 5.28pm
can we just wander down to the site and have a look?
Tuesday 31 January 2006 6.41pm
Rachee1..thats wonderful, when can we go? any particular time> :-)
Tuesday 31 January 2006 6.52pm
sorry, when I said you can go and look at the finds I meant you can have a look at the site through the gaps made in the fences for that purpose...obviously as it is a working development with heavy plant on site members of the public are not permitted physical access as with any building site.
Because the Abbey is a Scheduled Ancient Monument it is under no threat of demolition or damage by the forthcoming development and will be preserved in-situ in perpetuity.
Because these excavations take a long time you might want to look for updates on the PCA website.
Tuesday 31 January 2006 7.06pm
oh sausages......obviously you cant have fat old ladies wandering about wiv a metal detector disguised as a walking stick! I'll become a lurker...peering through the fence!..:-)
Wednesday 1 February 2006 10.14am

rachee1's comments are very interesting. They would suggest that the structure of the Abbey proper was significantly further south than all previous excavations have shown. Certainly this report conflicts significantly with the document previously published by the Museum of London.

I think that it is time for an email to PCA.


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