Our investigations at Albrighton have resumed after the hiatus caused by the pandemic and in some style! We were trying to find evidence of the possible medieval market site, along with traces of the ancient road - later a turnpiked coach road - and a roadside building dating from at least the 18th century.
While no direct evidence to locate the market was found, we did discover the old road and a quantity of quite early medieval pottery on the site of the aforementioned building. Arrows on the photo above show the line of the cobbled road.
The turnpike through Albrighton came into existence around 1750 but the sharply curved section we were trying to locate fell out of use around 1840, when the road was finally straightened. This short section of road has been hidden by 20th century landscaping and was found to be almost a metre underground! It seems to have consisted of various sizes of cobbles, probably set in a clay matrix. Some toll roads in this 'pre-Tarmacadam' era were covered with a layer of gravel but we found no obvious evidence for this. Being somewhat distant from Wolverhampton, and knowing that local people had free use of the road in exchange for maintaining it, it's possible that there was little change in the overall structure of the road; what we found could even represent a much earlier construction.
Being unable to find any evidence for a building which is known to have stood beside the road we were somewhat disappointed... until our finds were properly cleaned, at which point it became clear that we had a almost 20 sherds of (possibly locally made) 'sandyware' and other cooking pots, some of which could be as early as the 1200s! The photo below shows one of these fragments; most of them are very coarse and gritty with varying degrees of blackening from the cooking fire.
A full report from the dig will be published and made available here in our reports section in the near future.