Thursday, 20 September 2012

Year One - Servants' Hill, Bangor

Our first excavation site is targeting an area known as Servants’ Hill in Bangor, Co. Down. Thomas Ravens map of 1625 shows houses at this location on the Hamilton Estate which likely represent the servants’ accommodation. Three of the houses appear to be 'Irish' in appearance - single-storey, without gables (and therefore, perhaps oval or sub-rectangular), perhaps built of timber and wattle with mud daub, and thatched roofs. But they have chimneys, generally recognised by architectural historians as being a colonial introduction.

Ravens Map of Bangor, 1625 (Image: Nick Brannon)

One house (the second from the top) in the Raven illustration of Servants' Hill appears to have a gable, and may be of 'English' architectural style. Excavation will hopefully shed light on these structures which may explain the settlement process on this estate.

While such houses are regularly illustrated by Raven on his Hamilton estate maps (and on his 1622 picture-maps of the London Companies' settlements in Co. Londonderry) only one has ever been found through excavation in Ulster. Professor Audrey Horning, of Queen's University, Belfast, excavated one at Movangher, near Kilrea, at the Mercers' Company village. The scant remains suggested an oval structure built using earth-fast posts.

Example of house identified at Movangher (Image: Audrey Horning)

1 comment:

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