Bid to unearth farm site’s medieval secrets

Project members Katherine Hughes, Frances McCormack, Margaret Collingwood and David Hughes. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Project members Katherine Hughes, Frances McCormack, Margaret Collingwood and David Hughes. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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SECRETS behind an old farmhouse could finally be revealed after a group of volunteers searching for a royal medieval chapel landed thousands of pounds in a lottery windfall.

Members of the Greater Liberton Heritage Project now plan to carry out an archaeological excavation in Bridgend, where they believe “internationally significant” 16th century remains will be unearthed.

A ten-strong team will use their £9900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to step up their work on the farm buildings, off Old Dalkeith Road, which they believe includes a chapel built around 1518.

The chapel is believed to have survived The Reformation in Scotland in 1560, when many others were destroyed, while surveyors in 1853 noted that the building was being used then as a labourer’s house.

Historical research and an archaeological field survey has shown that the remains may be incorporated into the farm buildings.

Project chairwoman Margaret Collingwood is confident the group can find evidence, such as floor tiles or pottery, to support the claim the building is the medieval chapel.

“If we can show that the chapel remains are still here then this has international significance – but that depends on finds,” Dr Collingwood said.

“It’s not going to be treasure – what they are looking for is something underneath the wall, maybe a bit of pottery and if we’re very lucky we might get a bit of floor tile.”

The dig is due to get under way on June 9 with schools, groups and societies such as the Scouts also being encouraged to get involved, while a public day will also be held on June 12 to encourage people to go along and find out more about the site’s history.

Dr Collingwood said the group was “absolutely delighted” to win the funding.

“It’s great that we have been awarded this grant and we can’t wait to get started,” she said.

“We love where we live and know there’s so much more to discover about our past.

“We are all really excited about telling other people about our findings and sharing our heritage and history with them.”

Louise Baker, one of three archaeologists set to lead the dig, said: “It’s an exciting project – obviously we see a lot coming up all the time but I think what’s nice about this one is it’s a building that’s been used as a farm building and if we walk past it we would not imagine the history behind it.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s culture convener, said: “This project will significantly support the cultural heritage of the south Edinburgh area.

“Edinburgh’s rich history is by no means restricted to the World Heritage sites of the Old and New Towns, and we look forward to uncovering important insights into the unique history of Greater Liberton.”

There is a public meeting tonight to provide information about the project which will be held in Inch House Community Centre, Gilmerton Road, at 6.30pm.