Historic site named on Lewes housing list

Saxonbury House, Juggs Lane Lewes. March 31st 2015 SUS-150331-174505001
Saxonbury House, Juggs Lane Lewes. March 31st 2015 SUS-150331-174505001

Yet another one of the Lewes District Council sites earmarked for new housing developments has come under scrutiny from the public.

Juggs Road, in Lewes, was included in the list of 30 sites proposed for a collection of new developments creating 415 homes in the area.

However, that particular site is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as it is home to Saxonbury Anglo-Saxon Cemetery.

The cemetery has been cited as an area of “national importance” according to the Secretary of State and has been the location of a number of historical discoveries.

When Saxonbury House was built in 1891, it was partially excavated and a total of 32 skeletons were recovered in an area of about 40m by 15m. The cemetery has been dated back to the sixth century AD but may have continued to be used until the seventh century. A number of historic artefacts were found alongside the skeletons, including iron knives, swords, spearheads, remains of shields, as well as ornaments such as brooches and beads.

However, a number of the graves were completely empty, the bones having perished, and another excavation in 1975, on the site of a road to the south, did not uncover any further burials. The exact limits of the cemetery have not yet been identified.

A spokesperson for Lewes District Council said: “Lewes District Council is aware of the Archaeological importance of the proposed development site in Juggs Road.

“We will work closely with the conservation officer to ensure the proper regulations are followed and that any proposals to build new houses are sensitively carried out.

“We will also make sure correct permissions including undertaking the required ground and archaeological surveys are carried out.

“Our intention is also to refurbish the existing run down building into high quality, innovatively designed flats.”

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 was created to make provision for the investigation, preservation and recording of matters of archaeological or historical interest.

Around 1,000 inhumation cemeteries have been recorded in England. They represent one of the principal sources of archaeological evidence about the Early Anglo-Saxon period, providing information on population, social structure and ideology. All surviving examples, other than those which have been heavily disturbed, are considered worthy of protection.

For information on the 30 sites list, visit www.lewes.gov.uk/newhomes.

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