Late Medieval/Early Tudor

The Late Medieval is commonly defined as the period from the ascension of Edward I in 1272 to the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The period from the ascension of Henry VII to the dissolution is also covered here.

The 14th and 15th Centuries were generally a prosperous period for the abbey. The documents show abbots building and extending throughout the period. Edward III and his queen stayed at least twice in the early 14th Century. The Black Death in the mid 14th Century reduced manpower and income, leaving the abbey in debt, but it had recovered by the early 15th Century.

The most obvious fragment is the 15th Century gatehouse. Constructed in 1475 this is thought to be the lodge of the original gatehouse. Originally there was a large archway to the west of the lodge with possibly another smaller archway. The major archway was removed by Henry Cromwell and reconstructed at Hinchingbrooke House, his main residence in the late 16th Century.

One of the major industries associated with the abbey throughout this time was tile and brick making. The tiles over the years included high-relief decorated , roof and floor tiles. Reportedly in 1442 60,000 tiles were sold, presumably fired in the Abbey’s kilns. Although shards of both tile and brick are found across the entire site, identified kilns are rare. The only excavated kiln is the one found in the western edge of area 8B and excavated in 1967. This was a brick kiln dated to the very early 16th century, the years before the dissolution.

Analysis of the tiles found across the site shows that it is likely that the majority of the tiles were made from local clay with a significant minority made from an imported clay probably from further south. The collection of decorated tiles is of national importance.

Pottery found around the site includes Grimston Glazed ware (1200 – 1500) as well as remnants of Medieval Ely Ware, Huntingdonshire Fen Sandy ware. Of particular interest, found within Area 2 during the 2018 excavation, was most of a Lyveden/Stanion glazed jug, although in pieces.