Monument record 0147200000 - SASHES ISLAND

Summary

Possible site of tenth century burh suggested by historical records, but not found in excavation.

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Map

Type and Period (1)

  • BURH? (10th Century - 900 AD to 999 AD)

Description

SASHES ISLAND ALMOST CERTAINLY SITE OF BURH OF SCEAFTSEGE, LISTED IN 914 AD BURGHAL HIDAGE. NO TRACE OF EARTHWORKS, BUT THESE MAY HAVE BEEN CONCEALED WHEN LOCK-CUT DUG IN 1830 & EARTH SPREAD OVER MOST OF ISLAND TO DEPTH OF C1.2M. DREDGING OF CUT HAS PRODUCED LATE SAXON WEAPONS (SEE 01:000)(B1).
David Hill and Derek Robinson carried out research into Sashes Island in 1995. The Roman road from St Albans to Silchester, the Camlet Way, is said to cross the Thames at Sashes and pass through to Cookham. It is likely that the crossing was near the Hedsor Wharf where a 19th century excvation revealed part of the Roman bridge. It has been suggested the the cut on the north side of Sashes Island is Roman in origin to form a port for ships. The Burghal Hiladge lists 33 Royal fortifications in Wessex and suggest that the 10th century defences of 'Sceaftessige' were 4.125ft long. The first map of Sashes is circa 1580 and shows a lage bend in the river and a flat water meadow. To the NW there is a small island, Headsor Eyot, divided from the main island by the 5m wide Hedsor ditch. Hedsor Eyot has a distinct mound. A dispute in 1605 relates to the litigation between Roelan Hyde of Hedsor and Henry Mansfield. Mansfield had removed the weir at the upstream head of Sashes Water and thus depriving Hynde of shipping dues in Hedsor reach. The 1580 map accompanying the legal documents shows a main channel, weir, 'the warbour' and three fishing streams radiating from it downstream: Babham Water would appear to be Lulle Brook, Sashes Water appears to cross the island corresponding with a channel marked on the 1808 map and the Kings Water or central/main channel. During the digging of the lock cut the Mill Eyot to the SW was also covered by spoil from the cutting. A number of finds have been made in the later 19th century and in the mid 20th century including Danish and Viking weapons. Ethelwared's account of Alfred the Great includes the reference to the Batlle of Farnham when the Danes were driven N and besieged in Thorney, an island of marshy land. In the Anglo Saxon Chronicle the event is also described ' the Danes fled across the Thames where there is no ford, and up the Colne onto an islet.' The alternate origin of the name 'Thorney' is the 'island of the stake' which could relate to the 10th century name for Sashes - Sceaftes-sige - island of the pole. Seven 1m x 1m test pits were dug - 2 on Odney Common to the south and 5 on Sashes Island. A trial trench was also cut on the Hedsor Eyot. Pit 5 to the S of the Lock Cut confirmed the depostion of material from the construction of the cut. Test pits 1, 2, 6, and 7 revealed the natural and finds of charcoal and pottery were made. Three test pits were dug on the Hedsor Eyot and revealed early modern deposition of alluvium. A large anomaly was recorded during a resistivity survey in NW (B4).
Review of evidence for Saxon fortifications (B5).

Sources (5)

  • <1>SBC1930 Bibliographic reference: BROOKS N 1964 UNIDENTIFIED FORTS OF THE BURGHAL HI DAGE, MEDIEVALARCHAEOLOGY8PP79-81"".
  • <2>SBC7994 Bibliographic reference: LOWNDES W 1877 DESCRIPTION OF PLACES ON THE THAMES ..., RECSOFBUCKS4P400"".
  • <3>SBC1825 Bibliographic reference: BRANIGAN K 1967 RB RURAL SETTLEMENT IN THE W CHILT ERNS, ARCHAEOLOGICALJNL124P152"".
  • <4>SBC20121 Unpublished document: David Hill and Derek Robinson. 1995. Correspondence with regard to research into Sashes Island.
  • <5>SBC23556 Unpublished document: Colin Berks. 2008. Saxon Fortifications in the Cookham Area & Sashes Island: Review of Evidence.

Location

Grid reference SU 903 859 (point) (Approximate)
Civil Parish HEDSOR, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • Event - Intervention: Test pitting (EBC16330)

Record last edited

Nov 16 2009 4:20PM

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