Phase VII - c 1440 to April 15 1482
The Moated Site ii) Neville
Fig 29: Wood Hall: the Neville/early Gascoigne phase.
In 1457/58 (dendrochronological date) the old drawbridge was demolished to its foundations, and a new bridge constructed, making use of the old sturdy timbers as part of the base for two longitudinal soleplates, each originally c 13m long, which stretched from the timber revetment at the southern bank of the moat to the earlier stone revetment wall against the north bank. A minimum of seven trestles (mortices surviving) supported what is assumed to have been an uninterrupted superstructure. However, no evidence for the northern portion of this bridge was recovered, and it is possible that it too was a drawbridge, again with the lifting mechanism supported on the bridge itself, or on the revetment wall. There is no evidence of an appropriate structure on the northern bank.
Fig 30: The bridge of 1457/58, truncated by the later gatehouse.
Between 1457/58 and the early 1490s a complete refurbishment seems to have taken place at Wood Hall. The area in the centre south of the site (Area 20) was cleared and levelled in order to make a garden. Rubbish - building rubble, animal bone and household debris - seems to have been gathered from every corner of the site, and was laid down as a lawn base on the south of the area, running down to the moat. North of this, separated by a stone seat, were the narrow beds of a formal garden.
Among the debris the pottery associated with the levelling operation, which contained fragments of a number of Humber Ware drinking jugs (formerly known as Skipton on Swale jugs) but no Cistercian Ware, suggests a date in the mid- rather than late-fifteenth century.
Sometime during the second half of the fifteenth century the old hall was probably renovated; John Neville also added to the accommodation at Wood Hall by constructing a new hall in the south eastern portion of the site.
Excavations in 1996 have identified this hall and its kitchen, situated immediately to the east of the entrance.
John Neville’s Hall was in its original phase a simple late Medieval hall, with stone wall footings (later extensively robbed) supporting a timber superstructure, and a beaten clay floor. A stone-lined garderobe pit lay against the east (rear) wall at the north end of the building, presumably associated with a first-floor chamber or solar above the ground floor private quarters. A cross-wing ran east from this end of the building; though this was completely robbed out in the eighteenth century, it may be the location of a chapel mentioned in the documentary record from the sixteenth century.
The private quarters and dais area occupied the two northernmost bays of the building; the next two bays formed the open communal hall, with a hearth (and presumably a smoke-hood) against the west wall. The main door and cross-passage were at the south end of the open hall, with the pantry and buttery occupying the final bay to the south.
A new kitchen was constructed approx. 1.5m to the south of the new hall. A re-used millstone formed the central oven base within a room showing signs of strong heat affectation. To the east of this, on the site of kitchen 2, a small rectangular hedged garden was created, with bedding trenches orientated east-west. The main 'kitchen' garden continued towards the north, situated between the rear of the hall and the east limb of the moat. It may be that debris from the garderobe pit was recycled into the soils of the kitchen garden.
Fig 31: The third kitchen showing the millstone oven base
Phase VIII - 1482 to c 1557
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