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Dig Preston 2011

Community excavation of a medieval manor in Tadworth, Surrey

Where and When

Tadworth, Surrey (KT20) September 2011 to July 2012

Initiated and run by

Heritage Enterprise (Surrey County Archaeological Unit) with Raven Housing Trust (Social Housing Managers in Tadworth) and members of the Preston Community Archaeology Project group (local residents)

Funding sources

A grant of just under £30k was applied for and granted from the HLF (September 2011). Further funding was sourced: Raven Housing Trust (£1500) and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council (£750). There was also support in kind from local volunteers, and logistical and maintenance support from Raven housing Trust.


  • Run a community excavation of the medieval manor located on Preston Estate in Tadworth
  • Create a programme of archaeological training and volunteering opportunities for the local community
  • Hold a series of open days and workshops for schools, local groups, and the wider community
  • Publish excavation findings and research with active involvement from volunteers
  • Publicly display finds and research located in Preston Estate
  • New on-site and off-site interpretation of the manor and the archaeological excavations

Work done and results

The Preston Community Archaeology Project group, consisting of 6 local residents from a social housing estate in Tadworth continued to meet regularly throughout the year, piecing together the Hope-Taylor archive from a dig there in 1952.

Dig Preston exavation. Photo: Surrey CC.Dig Preston, Surrey - geophysical survey. Photo: Surrey CC.

Dig preston - finds washing. Photo: Surrey CC.

2011 proved to be an exciting year, as the group, supported by Social Housing managers Raven Housing Trust submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and heard in September that they were successful in securing nearly £30k for a Community dig and interpretation project.

November saw Dig Preston 2011 take place. Following introductory school workshops, a project talk and geophysical survey, 7 trenches were opened up on the site to find evidence of the medieval manor (we did; 2 walls, the chapel and a burial) with the project involving over 200 local school children, around 50 adults, 165 visitors to the open day, around 40 passers by on a daily basis and the 6 regular volunteers as community mentors for the site.

Lessons learned

This project is still in progress (completion Summer 2012). The first phase of the project involving promotion and the community dig was regarded a success with increased participation, highlighting the site to the local community and locating the remains of the manor and chapel which will enable us to tie the site into OS maps were all key outcomes achieved during this phase.

In hind-site we would have applied for the grant money sooner to enable a summer excavation to take place (as it happened having the dig in November fitted in with our other field work commitments, and it was especially mild in 2011 which helped). We would also add a location map to the flyer.

Further information

ALGAO general enquiries
01223 728592
admin [at]