As I mentioned in my previous post, it was whilst walking around inside the 'Rout Yard' or earth fort situated outside the walls of Bolingbroke Castle that I made a rather exciting discovery.
Littered with bits of pottery and broken glass, the floor of the 'Rout Yard' was a treasure trove for the amateur archaeologist. It was in the top layer of soil that I found the clay pipe pictured below.
I knew that clay pipes were common during the time of the English Civil War and, given the Rout Yard's history, I immediately thought that this particular pipe could have been used and discarded during the siege of the Castle. The pipe is quite detailed and as you can see, it features a raised image of a tankard of beer (clay pipes were often sold in drinking establishments such as pubs). However, after conducting some research, I can date the pipe at 1860 which is several hundred years after a the siege which is a shame. Still, it's the first time I've found such a thing and in such good condition. I regularly find small sections of the white piping that forms the tube leading up to the 'bowl' in my garden, but I've never found a more complete piece.
The picture above was taken by Dave Hitchborne (firstname.lastname@example.org) and shows the inside of the Rout Yard. It was after looking through an album of his photos of the Castle and its grounds that I found out that shortly before my visit to the Castle, the 'moat' had been dredged and the silt was deposited in the Rout Yard. This meant that all the bits of pottery, glass and the clay pipe I found had been resting at the bottom of the series of small ponds that surround the Castle for the last hundred and fifty years! It was very interesting to find this out and helped put the last piece in the jigsaw in the history of this little clay pipe (unfortunately not from the time of the Civil War though).