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Hopwood Mill Cottage Spring 2019 Update

Robert has produced an update on the latest archaeological work by MAS on the Hopwood Millers Cottage.

Hopwood Mill Cottage- full set of reports now available

Robert Huddart has published a set of reports summarising our investigation of the remains of Hopwood Mill Cottage.


This series of updates provides a summary of our findings from 2015 up to the start of the 2019 season. Further updates will be released from time to time as the dig progress’.

The 2019 season starts on Tuesday 30th April and most Tuesday’s until the end of October. In order to accommodate those people who are not available to attend on Tuesday’s we are planning to dig on other days including weekends provided that there is sufficient demand. Working hours are from 10 am until 3.30 pm. For those of you have not yet taken part, why not give it a try. It isn’t difficult and even if digging isn’t for you there are many other ways to contribute. Everyone is welcome and training, supervision and tools are provided. If you would like to take part in the dig, visit the dig or have any questions then please feel free to contact me at

The Earl of Essex’s Chaplain: Abdias Assheton

Another unique piece of Middleton research has been published by our secretary Anne Falloon

Abdias Assheton (1563-1633) was a member of Middleton’s manorial family who rose to some prominence in the final years of Elizabeth I’s reign. A Protestant with strong Puritan leanings, as an academic and preacher he sought all his answers not from centuries old tradition as his Catholic forebears had done, but directly from a deep reading of the bible.
In the 1590’s his approach to thinking through religious and moral choices using scripture attracted the attention of the greatest man in England.

This is the story of the controversial relationship between Essex and the influential chaplain he called his ‘little man’, Abdias Assheton.

First report on the Hopwood Millers Cottage published

Our Site Director Robert Huddart is publishing a series of reports on the MAS investigation at the Hopwood Millers Cottage site. The first one can be found here;

Millers House update 1

New Essay published, The ‘Lost’ Ladies of Middleton

Anne Falloon, the MAS secretary has been researching the lives of some of the key manorial Ladies of Middleton between the 13th to the 16th century.

It is all too easy to overlook the role of Middleton’s manorial women given the nature of late mediaeval and early modern records. Where there are accounts, the focus is often on the inheritors of land, the soldiers, the churchmen and the statesmen. But the documents that survive for Middleton do give us some insight into the lives of the de Middleton, de Barton and Assheton women.

This fascinating essay can be found here The Lost Ladies of Middleton

New essay published on the C17 Wall paintings and Graffiti in the Old Boar’s

The age of the historic Olde Boar’s Head in Middleton had long been a subject of speculation when, in 2016, some early timbers were dated to 1622. However, one mystery remains: the origin and meaning of the rare set of wall paintings and graffiti in the OBH upper rooms.

This fascinating essay by MAS member Anne Falloon sets out to explore what was happening in Middleton in the first half of the 17th century and to consider the possible political motivation behind the paintings and graffiti.

Old Boar’s Head wall paintings and graffiti

Hopwood Mill Cottage work finishes for Winter

The third year of MAS investigations of the Millers Cottage at Hopwood finishes on 23rd October. This year, over 30 MAS members and volunteers have scraped a trowel over this delightful woodland site hidden close to the Hopwood Manor house. Most of the 19th century building foundations, drains and garden features have been meticulously recorded however features that predate the cottage are know beginning to appear.

Most recently, a shard of broken pottery was found which our site director Robert Huddart believes to be medieval, possibly  from the 13 or 14th century. Hopefully the work will continue next year.

Hopwood Miller’s Cottage 2018 Archaeology

Hopwood Miller’s Cottage Excavation 2018 The new season of excavations at Hopwood Millers Cottage starts this Tuesday 24th April. As you may know, Hopwood Miller’s Cottage dates to the 18th century and was occupied until the middle of the 20th century.

There is also some evidence of earlier occupation of the site. We’ve been digging at the Cottage for a number of years. This is likely to be our last year at this site and a last opportunity to take part in the dig.

The site is ideal for people new to archaeology. Training and tools are provided. For those who would like to get involved but prefer not to dig there is plenty of recording, surveying and finds processing to do. We will be digging most Tuesdays from 10am to 3.30pm until October. This year we intending to hold some weekend digs provided that there is sufficient demand.

For more information or to register an interest in weekend digs then contact Robert Huddart by email at: 

Regards from Robert

2017 AGM

The 2017 Annual General Meeting was held following the November meeting. The existing committee were re-elected. Minutes of the meeting can be found here AGM Nov 2017 minutes

The committee gave a series of talks showing the work of the society in 2017, including details of the Hopwood Millers Cottage investigation and desk based research on the first owners of the Old Boar’s Head. The powerpoint slides can be found here 2017 AGM combined talks

Thanks to all our members for your support in 2017. We have an interesting year planned for 2018 and we hope to circulate details as soon as plans are finalised.


Cliff Ivers, Chairman

Hopwood Cottage August 2017 Update

Each Tuesday this summer we have had 4 or 5 people attending our archaeological investigation of the old Millers Cottage in Hopwood Woods. The dig is managed by our site director Robert Huddart who organises similar activity for the Bury Archaeological Group on Wednesdays. This is his latest update on the project.


Hopwood Millers Cottage

This is the third season of excavation at Hopwood Millers Cottage. In 2015 and 2016 we uncovered the western and central parts of the 18th century building On the north side of the cottage we found garden features and a pathway leading to a footbridge, The footbridge crossed the Trub brook enabling access to a spring on the north bank. The garden features, path and bridge date to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

This season we are  excavating the eastern end of the site. The north-eastern corner of the cottage has been located enabling us to determine the size of the cottage. The building measured about 15 metres east-west by 4.5 metres north south. The ground floor consisted of two living rooms with internal measurements of approximately 4 metres by 4 metres. These rooms are seperated from each other by a lobby area 3 metres wide. A brick built extension on the south side of the building is thought to be the kitchen area.

At the east end of the building we have started to uncover a much smaller room about 2.5 metres wide.  A path with steps runs along the eastern gable of the cottage. More evidence of the drainage system has been revealed. Excavation continues to investigate an area of cobbles at the north side of the building which predates the cottage.

A recent extension of the trench has revealed the south-east corner of the cottage, the well built foundation of the south wall and the less well made continuation of the east gable. In the small room at the east end of the building another fireplace is being investigated. This is positioned centrally against the internal wall and is the third fireplace to be found at the cottage

The dig will continue until around the end of October. 



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