Environment Agency give Kendal archaeological update

Flood defence excavations have revealed several fascinating details about Kendal’s past, and archaeologists have been meticulously documenting numerous historical findings, the latest of which has been a window into the past near the Parish Church on Kirkland.

“Archaeologists are currently carrying out investigations in two areas – close to Kendal Parish Church and along Waterside, as part of the planning permission for the Phase 1 scheme through Kendal.

“Work on the Kendal Flood Scheme is giving us a rare opportunity to see into Kendal’s history and we’re proud to be doing this work on behalf of the community. 

“Initial findings reveal some interesting evidence concerning Kendal’s industrial past and we are excited to learn more about this as work progresses.”

Archaeological investigations between the parish church and Nether Bridge are now drawing to a close.

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In this area, archaeologists have identified the structural remains of Glebe House, the 18th-century vicarage which once occupied the river frontage to the south of the parish church, and a cobbled surface close to the scheduled Nether Bridge.

An Environment Agency statement said:

“The road was at least 2 metres wide, seems to have been well made and it has a drainage culvert running alongside it.

“Finds recovered from within the cobbled surface point during an 18th century date for its construction and our archaeologists think it may have provided access at this time down to the medieval ford across the river upstream of Nether Bridge.

“Intriguingly our 18th-century cobbled road may sit on the line of the road depicted on John Speed’s 1611 map of Kendal, and so an earlier, possibly medieval road may lie beneath the cobbled surface.

“More work is scheduled in this area but any earlier road may survive, if indeed it does survive, below where our excavations end, however more work will need to be undertaken to determine if this is the case.

The Environment Agency said that archaeological investigations are also taking place elsewhere:

“Further upstream, north of Abbot Hall park, archaeologists continue to work on uncovering evidence of Kendal’s industrial past. 

“They have identified cobbled yard surfaces, stone-lined wells, simple stone buildings, including a possible former dye store, and the remains of plank-lined troughs thought to have been used in the tanning of leather.

“Proximity to the river would have been crucial for many industries for it provided a raw material as well as motive power.  

READ MORE: Human remains found in Kendal flood excavation

“The river must have been quite noxious and Waterside a rather smelly place during Kendal’s industrial hey-day of the 18th and 19th centuries, indeed, the wells archaeologists are finding set back from the riverside would have been essential for the gathering of fresh, clean water.

“Our archaeologists continue to work along Waterside and while work is drawing to a close we are still hopeful that more of Kendal’s rich industrial heritage will be uncovered in the next few weeks.”

READ MORE: Archaeologists find Roman artefacts at controversial development site

The Westmorland Gazette | News