The City Council archaeologists excavated a site in the grounds of Nazareth House on Hill Lane (reference codes SOU 1050 and 1057). The dig took place in July and September 2000 on behalf of Linden Homes Ltd. The site lies on the east side of Hill Lane, near the northern edge of the medieval village of Hill.
The Village of Hill
A place called Hill is mentioned in 1420, but it was not described as a village until 1488. It probably existed before then as Nicholas Barnfleet, Lord of the Manor of Shirley, granted a spring at Hill to the Franciscan Friars in 1290 in order to provide their friary in Southampton with a piped fresh water supply. The stone-built collecting chambers still stand 30m to the south-east of the site.
Only very slight traces of the village were found, and all of them concentrated on the street frontage. This suggests that the eastern part of the site towards the stream was part of the village fields. A small pit containing Middle-Saxon pottery was found near the south end of the site, indicating that the village may have existed at that time. The pottery is identical to pottery found in Hamwic, and is a type thought to have been brought in from chalk areas to the north. One small pit that contained pottery of 14th or 15th century date was found near the north end of the site, and other sherds of medieval pottery were found in later deposits.
The archaeologists found a 1200mm wide, and 700mm deep trench running roughly east to west (i.e. at right angles to Hill Lane) at the south end of the site. A row of post-holes ran down the length of the trench, so it was probably a fence line. The only finds from this feature were a few worked flints of uncertain date. They might indicate a prehistoric date for the feature, but the most likely interpretation is that the feature was a medieval boundary.
A full report can be consulted in the Special Collections section of Southampton Central Library in the Civic Centre.