An enclosed settlement of 12th- to 13th-century date was excavated in advance of gravel extraction at a former airfield near Chelmsford in Essex. Several timber buildings, interpreted as a house, outbuildings, a granary and an early form of windmill, were recorded within a large rectangular moat. The physical evidence for the windmill is of significance, especially as it was found within the context of a settlement, rather than as an isolated structure.
Analysis of the charred grain assemblage, in addition to aiding interpretation of the buildings, has contributed to the understanding of agricultural activities in and around the settlement. The medieval pottery from the site represents a typical household assemblage, although the presence of some non-local fine wares such as Developed Stamford ware, is rare in Essex.
The relatively short-lived settlement was abandoned in the mid-13th century or later, perhaps following the catastrophic fire indicated by the evidence of the charred grain assemblage. During the later medieval period the site appears to have been absorbed into a park, possibly associated with New Hall, and was covered by Dukes Wood until the construction of the airfield in the 1940s.
Rachel Clarke, 2003. 'A medieval moated settlement and windmill, excavations at Boreham Airfield, Essex, 1996', East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Papers 11