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Rare Artifacts Incidentally Found Under Floorboards of Oxburgh Hall

Ann Moises

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  • An independent archeologist working through lockdown inadvertently found rare artifacts under the floorboards of the Oxburgh Hall in Oxborough, England.
  • Matthew Champion found the ‘treasures’ while carrying out a ‘fingertip search’ through the debris in the manor’s attic.
  • The archeological finds include 16th century clothing, handwritten documents, a fragment of a 600-year-old manuscript, and a book called The King’s Psalms.

Late 16th century books, over 200 Elizabethan textiles, fragments of early music, an empty chocolate box from WWII — these are just some of the rare items uncovered under the floorboards of the Oxburgh Hall in Oxborough, England.

Matthew Champion, an independent archeologist, found these remarkable pieces while working alone in the manor amidst the lockdown.

Since 2016, the manor’s roof has been undergoing repairs due to major structural problems.

Different charities and organisations including the National Lottery Heritage Fund helped finance the $8 milion reroofing project.

With the floorboards lifted and the areas exposed, Champion conducted a careful fingertip search through the debris of the manor’s attic. There he found thousands of rare artifacts.

Ms. Forrest, the National Trust curator supervising the work said, “When the boards came up, we could see a wave pattern in the debris which showed it had been undisturbed for centuries.”

In the northwestern corner, Champion uncovered two ancient rats’ nests containing more than 200 high-quality Elizabethan textiles.
There were scraps of handwritten music from the 16th century and fragments of books, including passages from the 1590 edition of “The ancient, famous and honourable history of Amadis de Gaule. “
There were common items such as cigarette packs and an empty Terry’s chocolate box dating back to the Second World War as well.

However, it was one of the builders who found one of the most fascinating pieces of artifact. According to Champion, Rob Jessop literally pulled a piece of a 15th century manuscript out of a rubble.

This amazing piece may have been a part of a Book of Hours; a portable prayer book probably owned by Sir Edmund Bedingfeld.
Similarly, two other builders found a book printed in London called The King’s Psalms, dating back to 1568.

Sir Edmund Bedingfeld built the Oxburgh Hall, a moated manor house, in 1482. The Bedingfelds were devout Roman Catholics, ostracised and persecuted for their faith.

The manuscript parchment and other objects found may well have been used in illegal masses and hidden deliberately by the family,” National Trust stated in an article.

Russel Clement, General Manager at Oxburgh Hall said, “These objects contain so many clues which Bronze Age haul in Scotland the history of the house as the retreat of a devout Catholic family, who retained their faith across the centuries.”

We will be telling the story of the family and these finds in the house, now we have reopened again following lockdown.”

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