Uncovered: remains of ancient quay found in Poole Harbour ‘could date back to 1250’

Bournemouth Echo: UNCOVERED: Archaeologists Alan Hawkins,left, and Keith Jarvis during the survey of Ower quay UNCOVERED: Archaeologists Alan Hawkins,left, and Keith Jarvis during the survey of Ower quay

THE remains of an ancient quay have been discovered in Poole Harbour which could date from 1250.

Archaeologists have found possible remains of the medieval Ower quay preserved beneath mudflats, where a trackway runs down to the harbour edge.

Little is visible now but 800 years ago this was a scene of bustling activity as Purbeck marble destined for the cathedrals of England was loaded.

Archaeologist Keith Jarvis said: “It is exciting to have found archaeological remains of this important quay.”

The archaeologists had always believed the quay was probably at the end of the ancient track from Corfe Castle to Ower.

A visual survey revealed a few surface stones and a probe survey and trial holes revealed more stones beneath the surface.

They had to work quickly as the quay was only exposed for a few hours between tides.

An unusual feature was a large area of white pipe clay at one corner, showing the core of the quay was not all gravel but included other water-resistant materials.

Project surveyor Alan Hawkins said: “It is amazing that traces of the core and facing stones still survive just under the mud of Poole Harbour.”

Historians have shown that the heyday of the Purbeck stone industry was 1250-1350 and stones from Purbeck were usually transported to Corfe Castle village where they were worked or partially finished.

The stone was then sent to Ower quay and taken to Poole to be put on larger vessels.

Corfe Castle has an ancient Guild of Marblers which still meets. They paid a yearly peppercorn rent and used to kick a football down to the quay to maintain their rights to the ancient route.

The 18th-century historian Hutchins considered the quay to be the main port of Purbeck in medieval times, however it was falling out of use by 1710.

There was a passage house in earlier centuries where farmers and their wives waited on market days for ferry boats to Poole.

Keith, former archaeological officer at Poole Museums and retired building society manager Alan, believe the quay is similar to the later Redhorn quay and are grateful to the Rempstone Estate for allowing access to the site.

Comments (7)

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6:21am Tue 4 Mar 14

Huey says...

Good story nice one
Good story nice one Huey
  • Score: 20

7:39am Tue 4 Mar 14

we-shall-see says...

Interesting story. I wonder what they might uncover if they under took such investigations around the Quay at Poole? Perhaps enough of interest to put to bed for good, the proposal to build a car park off shore .....
Interesting story. I wonder what they might uncover if they under took such investigations around the Quay at Poole? Perhaps enough of interest to put to bed for good, the proposal to build a car park off shore ..... we-shall-see
  • Score: 20

9:42am Tue 4 Mar 14

mark.s says...

Brilliant story, fascinating stuff. Mud does tend to preserve and protect items and materials surprisingly well.

More of the same please Echo, far more interesting than most stuff that is reported as news these days!
Brilliant story, fascinating stuff. Mud does tend to preserve and protect items and materials surprisingly well. More of the same please Echo, far more interesting than most stuff that is reported as news these days! mark.s
  • Score: 35

11:26am Tue 4 Mar 14

muscliffman says...

Very interesting indeed, a good article.

In fact this is the second uplifting feature in a few days, serious, local and historic - more of the same and less of the 'arms folded' stuff please!
Very interesting indeed, a good article. In fact this is the second uplifting feature in a few days, serious, local and historic - more of the same and less of the 'arms folded' stuff please! muscliffman
  • Score: 20

11:02pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Crank says...

Well done, Alan and Keith - amazing people.
Well done, Alan and Keith - amazing people. Crank
  • Score: 1

2:59pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Brock_and_Roll says...

I am no socialist, however, it is rather sad that the Ryder family, depsite all the unexepcted and "unearned" riches they have received from having Europe's biggest on-shire oilfield on their estate have not felt the ability/need to open up the woods & shores of their 5,500 acres to walkers, historians and the like give the beautiful views accross to Brownsea, Poole etc.
I am no socialist, however, it is rather sad that the Ryder family, depsite all the unexepcted and "unearned" riches they have received from having Europe's biggest on-shire oilfield on their estate have not felt the ability/need to open up the woods & shores of their 5,500 acres to walkers, historians and the like give the beautiful views accross to Brownsea, Poole etc. Brock_and_Roll
  • Score: 1

7:07pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Mike R-B says...

Brock_and_Roll wrote:
I am no socialist, however, it is rather sad that the Ryder family, depsite all the unexepcted and "unearned" riches they have received from having Europe's biggest on-shire oilfield on their estate have not felt the ability/need to open up the woods & shores of their 5,500 acres to walkers, historians and the like give the beautiful views accross to Brownsea, Poole etc.
Is that too fracking much to ask ?
[quote][p][bold]Brock_and_Roll[/bold] wrote: I am no socialist, however, it is rather sad that the Ryder family, depsite all the unexepcted and "unearned" riches they have received from having Europe's biggest on-shire oilfield on their estate have not felt the ability/need to open up the woods & shores of their 5,500 acres to walkers, historians and the like give the beautiful views accross to Brownsea, Poole etc.[/p][/quote]Is that too fracking much to ask ? Mike R-B
  • Score: 1

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