Portmill Lane, Hitchin

Excavation, 1980

This was a site for redevelopment in the historic core of the Medieval market town on the corner of Portmill Lane and Queen Street. Extensive deposits and structures of the post-Medieval period were revealed, especially from the 17th and 18th centuries, including a well containing half of a mill-stone, probably from the nearby Medieval Port (market) Mill, and brick-lined basins utilised to soak and strip flesh from animal skins in the fell-mongery process. Associated pathways were lined with surplus cattle horn-cores and on the Portmill Lane frontage a small building had been built with a chalk floor. This may have originated in the Medieval period and other contemporary occupation was represented by small rubbish pits, including one which contained two broken 14th century jugs.

Earlier settlement evidence comprised Roman finds, an Iron Age post-hole and prehistoric worked flints.