Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet


Brick Kiln at Lodge Hill, Wormingford
Part 1.


The bricks that were used to build the Tudor Hunting Lodge on Lodge Hill may have been fired onsite.

During a 1961 an initial excavation on the Western side of Lodge Hill, revealed the presence of a Tudor Brick-Kiln.

During 2010, Colchester Archaeological Group decided to re-examine this site to ascertain if their was any link to the Tudor Hunting Lodge they had previously excavated.

To date it`s to early to say if the bricks fired at this kiln were used to
construct either the Hunting Lodge or Smallbridge.

Peter Minter from the Bulmer Brick Works age this Kiln at circa 1460


Looking towards the west and the main road into Bures.

Initial site excavation

Photographs taken July 2010

Trench in hillside showing a large amount of tiles and broken bricks.

Side view of trench >>>>>>>>>>>

Update July 2011

With the Lodge excavation coming to an end, the archaeological team, has now been concentrated on exposing this Kiln.

The bricks (right) are currently waiting to be forensically examined, to see if they are the same type that were used to build the Hunting Lodge or Smallbridge.

Bricks buried in the subsoil.
Excavation trenches

The fire tunnels were below ground mainly to preserve the heat, with the surrounding soil acting as insulation.
The image to the left clearly shows the tunnels and the blackened earth where the fire was located.
The bricks too be fired, would have been stacked above ground, directly above the end of the fire tunnel.

This would allow the heat rising from below ground, to permeate the stack of bricks as the intense heat flowed upwards.

( photo taken at Winston, Nr Stowmarket)

Typical Suffolk Brick Kiln.

Reproduced from CAG Bulletin 27

The Kiln itself would have been on the uphill (East) end, a squarish firing floor of firebars, on which the bricks to be fired would have been laid.

It may or may not have had a permanent walled chamber above.

Most likely it would have been an open structure which was clamped with clay and turf at each firing.

This image clearly shows one of the fire tunnels.
The fire would have been located
where a member of the archaeological team is currently digging.

Photograph taken further back, where we can now see
the presence of the two fire tunnels below ground level.

This is not the beginning of the tunnel, as there are no facing bricks.

(Curved bricks in the shape of an archway)

These can clearly be seen on the photograph above taken
at Winston

Facing bricks that would form the Fire Tunnel entrance

The two fire tunnels clearly showing them below ground level.

During the earlier excavation, the former archaeology team buried a time capsule.

The time capsule held a copy of The Daily Sketch (1961) and a note from John Jackson and Jim Brackenbrough who had stumbled across the brick-making oven in September 1961.

This was unearthed during the present dig. The consisted of a glass jar sealed with tape and then sealed once again in a 5 gallon drum (see left)

Unfortunately over the years water had penetrated the jar and saturated the contents.
However with some delicate work, the contents were recovered and completely readable.

Jim Brackenbrough also mentioned that he had left his coatin one of the 1961 trenches.
Not surprisingly during the 2011 dig, the coat has never been discovered

August 2011.
This pit shows the distant end of the Fire Tunnels.

The bricks may well have been the side walls with a suspended floor on which to stack the bricks

(see diagram above)

October 2011

Since August there has been tremendous progress in uncovering the Kiln.
This photograph is an update of the image above taken in August.

Dick Marriot the CAG member, is actually standing on the position of the fire which is fed by the incoming flue.
( see diagram above)
Above the fire would have been some sort of flooring on which the bricks would be placed and fired.

The excavation also uncovered very small pieces of coal.

We can only summise that this was delivered by "Lighters" along the River Stour only a few hundred metres away.
Now the river navigation, opened for traffic in 1713, so we can date this coal after that date.
Considering coal would have been exorbitantly expensive, it is difficult to see the reason for this fuel, considering other fossil fuels (wood, straw etc) would have been in abundant supply.

Continue to the next page

Colour Photographs of site by Alan Beales 2010 & 2011
Acknowledgment to Don Goodman for his valuable assistance and patience, Colchester Archaeological Group