We can now present: The Room!
The footprint of the tower has been partially emptied of rubble. We’ve got masonry extending beyond our present level, down to what must have been ground-level at least in the 18th century when the Witch’s Cottage was built into the tower. The lower phases of the walls we’ve posted images of so far are sandstone, with rounded and slightly eroded faces, while the top and likely post-medieval courses have more angular grey blocks.
The new face of wall that we have exposed is part of the initial L-shape masonry that we revealed at the very beginning of the season.
This morning, one step emerged from the rubble. We have chosen not to continue downward for now, because there is so much rubble and soil still to remove, and we are applying stricter-than-required rules for remaining at a safe depth within standing masonry. The Room is certainly deeper than the level at which we have stopped now, but how much deeper is unknown. Finding the floor level will be a project for next year.
Previously, we mentioned the rediscovery of plans from the 19th century, of the outworks. This excerpt of a map from 1803 shows us the steps down from Saint Oswald’s Gate to the postern and other outworks which are not pictured but would still have been standing.
Our step appeared exactly where the stairs should have been, which gave us hope that the location of the well would also be where we expect it to be. As we cleared it further, however, it seems to either be a remnant of former stairs now removed or simply a threshold for a second doorway.
We will be clearing the break in the masonry and rubble to the left which seems to correspond with the main doorway into the 18th-century cottage structure.