Despite a damp start, good progress was made excavating over (and either side of) the front door step and the remains of the doorway to the house itself.
Its front door step was of a large stone slab, with a brick edge where it meets the house. Sadly, we have discovered that when the Newmarket Farm Cottage site was ‘tidied up’ by bulldozer, after its demolition by artillery shelling during WW2, the house floor and footings was cut through at an angle of about 10cm per metre from west to east.
All that is left of the doorway itself is perhaps 3/4 of a brick.
But under the western side of the doorway the base of the wall is of brick rather than flint – to support the weight of the door?
The range and quantity of finds – of metal, glass, ceramics and bone – were similar to those previously found; from 19th c. clay pipe stem to WW2 ordnance. However, from the area immediately to the west of the front door step, 2 medium sized ceramic beads were found.
Yet more exciting, on the other side of the path, were 3 or more fragments of a child’s porcelain cup or mug decorated with a bright yellow crying fish standing up on its tail & wearing a red jacket, a blue waistcoat, a black bow tie and a tall white collared shirt, holding out its hands/fins towards the head and wings of a large very stylised fly! The piece showing what the fish was holding out was missing, but the words of the verse [part of them] tell us the story:
‘WHO SAW HIM
“I” SAID THE
WHO CAUGHT HIS [blood?]
“I” SAID THE [fish, with my little dish]’.
Interestingly, we found a matching shard from a saucer a week or 2 ago, in a nearby grid square, with words from the opening lines of the verse ‘Who killed Cock Robin?’. Of note, all the ‘O’s of the ‘WHO’s had a dot in their centres. Hopefully research may identify the date and origins of this children’s set. Further digging, in an eastward direction between the house and the front garden gate, may reveal not only more shards of this iconic childrens’ tale, but a well – as well!