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The zone is approximately 485m long and 109m wide at its greatest extent. It includes Chiswick Ait (an island at high tide). There is good access to the foreshore via the recently repaired Church causeway, and the slipway adjacent to the Mall (opposite the Ait). The ground conditions on the site are generally firm and very safe but the surface undulates considerably across the site.
archaeological and historical background
prehistoric The earliest evidence of human activity in the vicinity dates to the Neolithic period, from excavations to the south-west of the zone, where pits and gullies containing Peterborough ware and flint artefacts were discovered during 1989-95. In the immediate area, further evidence for Neolithic activity has been recovered in the form of a large number of lithic artefacts from the foreshore at Chiswick Ait. Bronze Age weaponry has also been recovered from riverine contexts. These discoveries suggest significant prehistoric activity in Chiswick. roman There is little Roman activity in the vicinity of the site. The main Roman road running west from Londinium, the Silchester road, passed through Notting Hill, Holland Park and Goldhawk Road, well to the north of the river, also a smaller road has been traced as running from Ludgate to Hammersmith. Evidence for Roman use of the immediate area is limited to a single pit, ceramics recovered from the foreshore at Chiswick Ait and a coin found at Black Lion Lane. The antiquarian Montagu Sharpe enthusiastically postulated the presence of a Roman temple on the site of the medieval parish church, based on the discovery of part of a quern and some tiles nearby, however there is no archaeological evidence to support this. early medieval Burial evidence together with artefacts recovered from riverine contexts indicates a Saxon presence in the local area. Artefacts from the Thames include examples of weaponry, including a shield boss, swords and spearheads. Although Chiswick is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, it is possible that a settlement of reasonable size existed during this period. Place-names containing the element wic (OE wic - a dwelling, a building or collection of buildings for special purposes) have a noteworthy distribution. Chiswick, Lundenwic, Greenwich and Woolwich are all located on the outer curve of a river-bend and are thus clearly visible to ships and boats travelling up and down the river. A high degree of visibility and regular spacing along the river may suggest that these settlements were specifically sited to exploit the topography and to provide a function in the local area, potentially as centres of trade, a function clearly evidenced by Lundenwic, Bede’s ‘mart of many nations’. Place-name evidence also indicates a variety of agricultural and commercial activities, such as at Chiswick, the ‘cheese making dairy farm’. The name Chiswick first occurs c. 1000, when probably the whole parish formed part of the estates of St. Paul's. later medieval While documentary evidence demonstrates activity in the area during the later medieval period (particularly relating to fishing), there is little excavated evidence for occupation in Chiswick during this period. However, the Grade II* listed parish church dates to the medieval period and is dedicated to St Nicholas, the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. A description of the church dating to 1705 notes several different phases of construction, including rebuilds dating to the 15th century (tower and chancel surviving in 1845), mid 17th century brick rebuild of nave and that the lower parts of the north wall are built of flint and chalk, suggesting a date of construction during the 12th or 13th century. The church was largely rebuilt in 1882-84, but the 15th century tower of the church survives and the GLSMR records other medieval houses and an inn. The importance of the church in relationship to the river is clearly shown at Chiswick, where the causeway is aligned with the east-end of the church. Although this structure is not
datable to the medieval period, its presence and the street pattern of the rest of the village suggest a long history for the alignment. The location and alignment of the causeway is also significant with regard to its use as a landing place for the ferry, which crossed the Thames here. Foot ferries at Old Chiswick and Kew were mentioned in 1659 and presumably had long been in use, since there were no medieval bridges over the Thames in Middlesex. There was no other bridge nearer than Fulham in 1826, however, and Chiswick ferry was still used in the 1890s. The settlement apparently grew up immediately east of the church, and away from the river. Church Street ran northward from the ferry, with a continuation across open fields, which lay between the village and the high road to London and Brentford. A little to the east of Church Street and close to the river stood a stone building of c. 1100, the oldest known part of the prebendal manor house (later College House). Presumably that building and its neighbours were reached by a road leading eastward from the ferry along the river bank, (the forerunner of Chiswick Mall), although it is not clear how far the medieval road extended. post medieval Riverside settlements were fashionable as rural retreats for wealthier members of society and the area had offered a country retreat for Henry VI, and later for prelates in the 15th century and for courtiers and the scholars of Westminster from the 16th. By 1706 its 'sweet air and situation' had brought it many noble seats, although it was after the building of Chiswick House that it became most popular. In common with other Thames-side villages Chiswick saw a number of large riverside mansions constructed, such as the Grade I listed Walpole House (16th / 17th century). Most of the houses formed a ribbon along the riverfront, stretching from the church to the parish boundary, and there were handsome buildings in Church Street. Chiswick Eyot was unoccupied and used for the cultivation of osiers. The remains of a jetty on the island, probably used to load osiers, survive. From the early 17th to the 19th centuries the village was known as Chiswick town or simply as 'the town'. The description perhaps served to distinguish its more elegant part from a cluster of riverside cottages forming the western end of the village, and known by 1723-4 as Sluts Hole (by 1865, it was called Fisherman's Corner). Surviving houses recall the wealth of 18th century residents, as do historic prints and drawings of the period. The built up riverside had an almost urban appearance, although the name Mall was perhaps not adopted until the early 19th century. Despite much rebuilding, the village spread very little between the mid 18th and late 19th centuries. Chiswick Mall houses retained large back gardens in the 1860s, when they also had their existing plots along the riverside verge. Changes in the village itself arose mainly from industry: the Griffin brewery had expanded beside Chiswick Lane, the Lamb brewery had grown up off Church Street, and the cottages made way for the workshops of Thornycroft and Co., the shipbuilders. Brewing, in the late 20th century perhaps still the best known local activity, was among the earliest, with its origins in the late medieval period. The river, providing access and an outlet for waste, played a large part in the growth of brewing and of later factory industries. Thomas Mawson had opened his brewery (the Griffin, later part of the Fullers complex) near the foot of Chiswick Lane, c. 1700 and the brewery's Red Lion, perhaps the only inn facing the river, had been licensed by 1722. The inn stood close to a draw dock, where barges were still unloaded in the late 19th century. The late 19th century saw the village joined by housing both to the suburbs along the high road and to the western districts of Hammersmith. Its declining importance as a centre of parish life was accelerated by its remoteness from the railways and by the rise of new suburbs, with their own services. Old Chiswick thus became a residential backwater, varied by some thriving industry. The departure of Thornycrofts, completed by 1909, perhaps secured the village's future as a residential area. The north corner of Church Street was demolished in the 1930s, when part of Burlington Lane became Great Chertsey Road, and further demolitions accompanied work on Hogarth Lane and Mawson Lane in the 1950s. Heavy traffic along the widened roads helped to cut off the old village from the suburbs inland.
A101 A102 A103 A104 A105 A106 A107 A108 A109 A110 A111 A112 A113 A114 A115 A116 A117 A118 A119 A120 A121 A122 A123 A124 A125 A126 A127 A128 A129 A130 A131 A132 A133 A134 A135 A136 A137
Artefact Artefact Artefact scatter Deposit Artifact scatter Deposit Forest Deposit Drain Riverfront defence Riverfront defence Jetty/wharf Riverfront defence Timbers Structure (unclassified) Artefact scatter Deposit Artefact scatter Deposit Hard Furniture Access Access Structure (unclassified) Bargebed Structure (unclassified) Riverfront defence. Riverfront defence. Riverfront defence. Hard Access Access Structure (unclassified) Drain Drain Revetment Structure?
Flint flake. Black. In shingle close to undergrowth Oyster shell from 'cliff' face’ A118. Clay pipe. stem. x 6. 1 bowl, 1 sherd pottery, glazed. Peat/organic clay.100 x 80mm. Probably = A117. Ceramic. Pottery rim sherd, reddish glaze. From cliff face A118. Tufa. 2 pieces from A108 and 2 from adjacent area. Peat/organic clay.With wood c. 40 - 90mm diam. 7.0 x 5.0m Probably a continuation of FHM01 A101 Gravel. Pebbles, containing tufa, cemented with orange sand. Outfall. Granite kerb stones. Ashlar stone. Chiswick side. Timber. Jetty/wharf. Erosion protection. Wattle hurdle. Modern. Scatter. Nautical timbers. Boatyard? Riverfront defence? Bargebed? Timber Vertical planks. Building material. Brick/stone. Failed defence? Peat/organic clay. same as A104. 18.0 x 3.0m. Clay pipe. stems 1 190mm long. Peat/organic clay. 'Cliff' around ait. Stone. Chiswick Wharf. Railing. Chiswick Mall. Stair. Stone. To Chiswick Wharf. Causeway. Church Lane. Probably Medieval access point. Timber. Vertical posts adjacent to A123. Timber revetment. Riverfront defence? Timber. Posts. Adjacent to A127. Timber revetment Timber revetment Timber revetment Hard. Concrete bag. Causeway. Rubble. Modern. Causeway. Rubble. Modern. Timber. 12 small stakes. No apparent pattern Pipe. Metal in concrete. Modern drain with concrete surround Stone hard with timber revetment 3 eroded timber posts at low water
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