Moorhaigh Farm

2004 to date

Moorhaigh Farm 2003/2011


Type;  Multi-period Settlement site

Location; Moorhaigh, near Pleasley Hill, SK 5012 6328

Project Leader David Burton


In 2003 the society decided that a return to Moorhaigh was long overdue and an attempt should be made to answer questions raised by the previous excavations of 1974/75.

The farmer and his partner were most sympathetic and have encouraged us to learn more about their property, and this continues to be the case. Research into the possibility of the chapel having a monastic connection, and of any involvement of Thomas Bek, have drawn a blank. It now seems most likely that the chapel was built to serve the local population and save them the 9 Km. round trip each Sunday to St Peter’s Church in Mansfield.


The parish of Mansfield after 1086 was very large and encompassed what is now Mansfield Woodhouse, Skegby and Sutton. Archbishop of York ,Walter de Gray ( 1215/55 ) encouraged the construction of chapels in the larger parishes and it is possible that this chancel is one such.

We are now aware of the limits of the spread of Romano-British pottery sherds and associated animal bones from a midden placed in a small ravine and then disturbed by the construction of the chapel. The South East corner of the chancel had been placed over this ravine, with the ground dug out to underpin the corner which had disturbed some of the midden.


The wall found in 1974 was followed in the first three trenches, this gave us two sides with an angle just greater than 90 degrees. It was not securely dated but may be a Romano-British enclosure or boundary, it would not have been a structure.

In the following trenches no other Roman-British structures have been found, it is probable that the Romano-British farm would have been placed where the present farmhouse now stands.


Work will be continuing to look for further Medieval, and earlier, occupation of the site.

Moorhaigh exhibit of finds Moorhaigh model

In 2008 an updated display of the finds was presented in the Museum.

This included a model of the chapel with the postulated interpretation of the square based feature found in 1975 as a dovecote.

Moorhaigh is a multiperiod site on the border of Nottinghamshire north-west of Mansfield. We have been slowly excavating here since 2003 looking for clues to the Romano-British settlement that preceded the medieval 'vill'. Re-examining the stone built medieval chapel and discovering more walls and many rock cut features. Tantalising glimpses of prehistory have also been found during the excavation work and many questions remain as to the purpose and function of some of the cuts into the bedrock

Some of the finds

A Jetton of 1585

mhf-025 mhf-141

Farming is thirsty work,


Ceramic mug, probably  C19...

Part 2