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What Lies Beneath Lich Avenue

Schooling and Science
What Lies Beneath Lich Avenue
Updated on June 16, 2015 Pollyanna Jones morePollyanna writes about folklore, magic, historical past and legends, focussing on British, Irish, Germanic, and Celtic cultures.

Worcester in the Midlands region of England, is a city steeped in historical past. It’s believed that a commerce route went by means of town throughout Neolithic times, later being included into the Roman Ryknild Road. On an important stretch of the mighty river Severn, the settlement boomed and prospered, with the towering cathedral being constructed between 1084 and 1504. The town performed a key position in the English Civil War with the Cavalier forces of King Charles battling Oliver Cromwell’s “Roundhead” Army. The town ultimately fell because the English Monarchy’s grip on energy slipped during this tempestuous time.

With each passing century, town has grown, changed, and adapted. New has overtaken the outdated, fairly literally in this beautiful metropolis. The foundations of the previous have been constructed upon in parts of the town, buried beneath the streets and buildings of modern construction.

Within the bustling centre of town, a uncommon opportunity was granted to view an era that had been stone island over shirt hid by the forces of change. The identical forces had revealed the foundations of an infamous row of buildings, in a lost road called Lich Street.

Works have been underway to enhance a road junction the place College Road meets Deansway, and the clock was ticking. The site would be open for just a few weeks before being reburied below the brand new traffic roundabout. I hastily grabbed the possibility to see it earlier than it was too late.

The Dig
A traffic island near Worcester’s landmark Edward Elgar statue and Worcester Cathedral had been dug up to allow for works to take place. I had solely ever seen this place lined in grass and trees, and it was fairly a distinction to see the highest layer removed.

Few of us ever think about what lies beneath our feet when strolling by a town or metropolis. Might I have imagined that the cellars and foundations of those buildings had been only a few inches beneath the surface

Under is a trendy map of the area. The dig site was in the centre of the traffic roundabout, seen in the middle of the map picture.

{“lat”:Fifty two.189533,”lng”:-2.220118,”zoom”:17,”mapType”:”ROADMAP”,”markers”:[]} Guides were on hand to take visitors safely to the positioning and describe what we were taking a look at. As we waited for our appointed time, we were given high visibility jackets, and were allowed to browse through a folder containing previous pictures of Lich Street before it was demolished.

Our information, Su, was one of the researchers for the challenge, and it was an actual treat to have such a knowledgeable and skilled woman take us across the dig.

We entered the positioning and stored to a rigorously laid trail. A lot of the area was unstable or sensitive. The information told us how due to the tree roots, it was not secure for them to dig any deeper in some areas as the roots had brought about motion and weakening of the foundations. Utility pipes and cables snaked over the stumps of cellar walls, while the old avenue itself was nonetheless seen; much narrower than modern roads in town.

Surprisingly, a lot of the old street remained, regardless of being laid to destroy and rubble. A well was nonetheless seen in an previous brick-lined courtyard, which would have been operated by a hand pump. These units have been notorious in spreading cholera in the 1800s, as usually the drinking water would become polluted with sewerage.

The cellars confirmed how much of the city’s older building supplies had been recycled. Sandstone, perhaps from the old City Partitions or the Monastery that stood to the South of Worcester Cathedral. Medieval bricks had also been re-utilized in building the newer buildings.

Our guide defined how when the new street junction was built, much of the world was demolished. The place Lich Street met Deansway, the slender avenue wouldn’t be appropriate for motor traffic as the street was initially constructed through the medieval period.

School street was built to accommodate bigger traffic volumes round this space, and part of Bygones of Worcester (to the left of the photograph) and the smart constructing to the best have been demolished. For those who look on the white paint on the side of the best-hand building, it will give you an idea of the define of the property that was as soon as adjacent to this.

Life on Lich Street
The road was not affluent, and had a little bit of a status. People were suggested not to stroll down there on their own, least of all after darkish!

Like many cities, poverty was rife. The needy would sometimes turn into desperate, and crime and anti-social behaviour weren’t uncommon on this part of Worcester.

The buildings on Lich Street weren’t surprisingly, condemned, and have been demolished in the 1960s when this a part of Worcester was redeveloped.

…one building might contain many various tenants, typically with whole families being crammed into one room.

Before the bulldozers moved in, the buildings of Lich Road were of mixed use. The bottom floors had been used as shops, with the floors above rented out for individuals to reside in. Some of the cellar walls are whitewashed and have fireplaces in them, which suggests that even these were lived in.

Like many cities, landlords would usually capitalise on their properties and split their constructing into as many leasable dwellings as possible. Because of this, one constructing could include many different tenants, generally with complete families being crammed into one room.

St. Michael’s Church
Beneath the section the place the roundabout meets College Road, to the south east of the location, lie the foundations of St. Michael’s Church. Buried fully beneath the road, this constructing once stood subsequent to the Cathedral. Initially medieval, the since demolished building was rebuilt within the 19th Century on account of being in poor situation.

During the Lich Road dig, a big chunk of ornate stone was found within the rubble. It soon emerged that this was one of many ornamental spires that stood on the highest of St. Michael’s.

The church would have served the neighborhood around Lich Road, and would have been used for every little thing from Christenings to Funerals. There’s a burial floor close to the dig space that has yet to be unearthed, however may be beneath the road or the grass area between School Avenue and the struggle memorial outside Worcester Cathedral.

Apparently, a doorway was present in a cellar near to the place St. Michael’s Church would have been. It is possible that this building had one thing to do with the church, and was recommended that a tunnel went from this doorway in direction of St. Michael’s. Maybe for the clergy to move unseen, or deal with extra delicate business out of sight of their parishioners

The Lich Gate
“Lich” is the outdated phrase for a dead body or corpse, as well as being a type of animated undead creature! Thankfully, there are no shambling zombies shuffling round Worcester (until it is their Zombie Walk), fairly the street took its name from it being the principle route to take the useless out of town.

The dead would be ready for burial within the town, and buried outdoors the previous Metropolis Walls. Even as late because the early twentieth Century, coffins were rested at Lich Gate stone ledge. After permission to move the coffin out of town, the bereaved family members would be able to take the physique out past the partitions for burial at St. Michael’s Church or Worcester Cathedral.

A part of the old metropolis walls can nonetheless be seen near Worcester Cathedral, where a gatehouse survives. City Partitions Street additionally contains a length of sandstone wall that marked the old boundary of Worcester city.

The Lich Gate has lengthy since gone, however our guide explained how a minimum of two visitors to the site had mentioned that they’d heard it had been eliminated by a farmer and had been re-used in some kind of agricultural constructing. So it should be found!

“Lich” is the old phrase for a dead physique or corpse
The Finds
The Archaeology Team found all manner of gadgets through the dig. Due to the unstable nature of the partitions, they were solely able to dig a couple of feet down, however still, the findings are spectacular.

All kinds of things turned up within the rubble, with a whole lot of items being included in “backfill” – rubble and soil that was collected from nearby and dumped in the cellars to pack them up. The backfill made courting the soil levels troublesome, but included gadgets from Roman, Saxon, and Medieval periods.

Whilst the older finds signify of the depth of history of Worcester, the younger gadgets give us a style of day-to-day elevate for these living in Lich Road. Simply out of attain of my lifetime, but within living reminiscence for a lot of who visited the site whilst it was open.

Glass bottles, a bone spoon, pottery, glass, and tiles were combined up with the older gadgets, leaving the archaeologists guessing which period they were from. Some have been extra straightforward to establish than others.

You possibly can hear descriptions of life on Lich Avenue and recollections of people who lived in and knew the place on the “Dig Lich Street” website. I have included a hyperlink in “Sources” so that you can follow to search out these.

So What’s Subsequent
Guided visits to the positioning have now ended. The buildings can be carefully covered with a thick and resilient polythene membrane before being refilled with concrete and lined back up. Works to enhance the junction will then proceed.

It is always sad to see such sites reburied, however will probably be protected and will likely be reinstated in such a manner that individuals can return sooner or later ought to they wish, and nonetheless be in a position to reach the buried cellars if further archaeological studies are deliberate.

A permanent residence might be found for the finds, whilst the Dig Group examine the objects and accounts from the public that may help then to piece together more information about life in Worcester before the redevelopment of the 1960s.

I am very grateful that the city of Worcester provided individuals the possibility to explore this site, and can’t wait to see the remainder of the finds of their new dwelling.

[1] Dig Lich Street
[2] Worcester News

“You’re Most likely from Worcester, If…” Buy Now Lea margin:0px !essential;” /> © 2015 Pollyanna Jones

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sendingAuthorPollyanna Jones 2 years ago from United Kingdom
peachpurple – St. Michael’s church was demolished a while in the past, when College Street was prolonged. So it’s somewhere beneath all that tarmac as you drive previous the mighty Cathedral!

AuthorPollyanna Jones 2 years ago from United Kingdom
Thanks of us for all your feedback. I really enjoyed exploring the dig site and it has been a pleasure to share my expertise with others who weren’t able to make it in the course of the time it was open.

John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia
Very fascinating hub with great images to help inform the story. Remind me of watching “Time Group”. Voted up.

peachy 2 years in the past from Residence Candy Dwelling
wow, the church is being buried underneath Awesome

Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada
This may be very fascinating, Pollyanna. Exploring archeological and historic evidence is fascinating. I was so pleased to listen to that the positioning is being lined in such away that it may very well be opened up again.

RoadMonkey 2 years ago
Very attention-grabbing. It’s fascinating to see issues that had been discarded as junk being wanted as treasures and useful symbols displaying how life was once. Congratulations to the council for enabling visits to the positioning. Nice hub.

Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.
I love to find out about archaeological digs and findings. That is a very attention-grabbing hub and that i enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the history lesson.

Don A. Hoglund 2 years in the past from Wisconsin Rapids
It is good to see the artifacts of the pat wher you possibly can relate them to the present. Thanks for exhibiting this little bit of history.

I was fascinated by this. As you peel the layers of onion skin from history it becomes richer and extra telling about what individuals experienced. You are so fortunate to have gotten a peek,

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