In an endeavor to locate evidence for early
medieval settlement in Altrincham a small excavation was carried out
during the Spring and Summer of 1980 prior to redevelopment in Victoria
Street (formerly Well Lane). This report outlines the results of the
The founding of Altrincham is
assumed to have taken place in the vicinity of the Old Market Place during
the Anglo-Saxon period. Victoria Street is situated off the Old Market
Place at its junction with Church Street. The area made available for
excavation had once contained several old cottages, believed to have been
over two hundred years old at the time of demolition in 1932.
Phase I, Area B
Having removed the demolition
rubble an area of laid flags/bricks, part of a yard to a Victorian
dwelling, was uncovered. To the south-east of the yard was a well
constructed ash/midden pit. The eastern end of the area was badly
disturbed, but a number of post-holes and post-pits in line suggested a
large structure, now identified as a 19th century stable.
Phase II, Area A
Area A was the site of a demolished Coach
House the base of which comprised a 15cm layer of concrete overlying a
rubble hard core, laid on sand. The former entrance to the Coach House
consisted of stone setts overlaid by tarmac. Excavation revealed a series
of post-holes and construction trenches, probably for the posts of 17/18th
century wooden structures, i.e. storage sheds.
Phase III, Area D
Area D - a small slope running north/south
and situated west of Area produced a large cobbled area cut by two brick
walls. To the east of this cobbling was a pit below which was found three
sherds of medieval pottery dating to l4th/15th century, though these were
probably brought in with leveling up material from elsewhere, as was the
piece of Spanish Roman amphora found beneath the cobbling. A yard,
formerly situated behind two old cottages, (demolished in 1932) and
containing two Victorian “tilt-pan” toilets and a domestic well, was
uncovered. One of the toilets, dating to the mid 19th century, was lifted
intact and subsequently donated to the Ordsall Hall museum. A large
midden, situated between the two Position of domestic well in relation to
toilet area. toilets and capped with a concrete slab, contained a rich
dark loam and was devoid of artefacts. At the bottom of the pit, however,
were two small drainage channels directed north. Immediately to the west
of the toilets were a number of vertical stone flags forming a three-sided
oblong feature. At the base of the feature was a brick and sett pathway.
After clearing away rubble the outline of a well was exposed.
The well was c.5m deep and lm wide, lined with
hand-made bricks with two broken stone flags laid on clay at the bottom. A
wooden frame of unplaned oak and forming a square internal frame,
supported the circular brick structure. The timber had been hewn to
conform with the circumference of the brickwork forming the well shaft.
There was no evidence of the well having contained a pump. When the well
was back-filled is not known, but it was still open in the late 19th
century, as can be attested by some of the recovered datable pottery
Nearly 6,500 sherds of pottery were
recovered. Almost a third of this amount, covering the 14th/19th
centuries, came from all levels of the domestic well.