Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Digging up Hawley Square green.




A long time back I did a posting regarding two copper coins of the George II & George III period that were found in a shallow trench close to the oak tree in Charlotte Square, Margate when George Warren Court was being built. They were not exactly spectacular finds but they were interesting finds as they are lost items from Central Margate dating from the 1700's. Over the years I have always found it difficult to find anything tangible in Margate from the Hanoverian period as virtually the whole of Central Margate has been developed since then leaving very little open space.
The 1824 map of Margate from the latter part of the Hanoverian period is an excellent reference how much Margate has changed. However, there are still pockets of undisturbed ground like St Johns Churchyard, the Countess of Huntington's Cemetery that date from that period. There are also other areas that can be dated by how much the ground has remained undisturbed by the trees that grow nearby, namely the good old English oak tree.
In the late 1980's there where very few oak trees in Central Margate. There were two in St Johns Churchyard, one being the casualty of the 1987 storm, the oak tree in Charlotte Square (where I found the coins) and the large oak tree that was in the middle of Hawley Square. Taking a good look at Hawley Square and the surrounding Georgian buildings that make up the square I started to work on the idea that there could be something interesting lost and buried in Hawley Square from the Georgian period. The dilemma I had was how was I going to find out as the area is close to TDC offices which overlooks part of the square and the area has residents on all four sides who would ring the police if we start digging up the green using metal detectors plus a late night dig would be suspicious. So I came up with a plan, we would wait till November of that particular year, when it gets dark in the evening and the ground is soft due to rain. Then when the forecast is drizzle we would metal detect under the oak tree filling our holes back in, stamping on the lose damp soil to destroy any evidence a hole had been dug. As for the rest of the Square we decided to metal detect but not to dig just pin point items so we could not be accused of anything.The result was positive, even though we found no coins, I found under the Oak Tree a 1795 token from the London Corresponding Society "United for a reform of Parliament" with I have pictured. As for the pinpointing, we did come across many buried items but we left them where they lay and as far as I know they are still buried today.

1 comment:

MA said...

Ha ha! I'm sure the Hawley Square Residents' Association would be accommodating!