History knows many examples of miraculous discoveries made quite by accident. Sometimes it happens where you least expect it. For example, among the trash and rubbish in an abandoned old house. A stunning recent archaeological discovery confirms this. Thousands of unique artifacts have been found in the old English estate of Oxburg Hall.The owners discovered four years ago that the roof of the estate was in disrepair. The renovation turned out to be quite large-scale and extremely expensive. The builders began to carry out the necessary work. Imagine their surprise when they disassembled the rotten boards and found ancient manuscripts in the rat's hiding places. These turned out to be medieval manuscripts and book tomes from the Tudor era.
Due to quarantine from the coronavirus pandemic, archaeologist Matt Champion worked at Oxburg Hall in Norfolk all alone. The original boards were picked up by National Trust workers, and he pulled on gloves to examine the contents. This is the so-called "fingertip search" to see what the tree has covered all these centuries. To say that he received more than he expected is to say nothing. Experts in the field consider this to be one of the most significant finds on the estate in its history.
Scraps of silk-like material, along with what experts have described as "high-end Elizabethan textiles," caught the attention of researchers. There were also fragments of manuscripts and ping-pong balls, suggesting that there was once a table tennis table in the attic rooms. This is a real treasure trove of historical things.
The finds are still intact and surprisingly well preserved. “There was a lot of dust and debris under the boards, a layer of lime plaster lay on top, it pulled out excess moisture, and as a result, all these valuable items were perfectly preserved for centuries,” says curator Anna Forest.
Historians speculate that the attic also had a sewing room and study, as it had fairly good lighting. The documents found in the cache have wax seals and are written in English and French.
A very important artifact in the found manuscripts is a small fragment of an illuminated 15th century manuscript, painted in bright shades of blue and gold leaf. According to experts, this color combination was worth crazy money. The study of the fragment showed that this is part of the family book of hours. This is a small "portable prayer book" that was used in home ministry.
Oxburg Hall was built in 1482 by Sir Edmund Bedingfield. The Bedingfields were very devout Catholics. At that time, Elizabeth I ruled and these were the times of the harsh planting of the Protestant direction of the Christian faith. The family has gone from being a darling of society to being a pariah. Sir Edmund did not sign the Uniformity Act of 1559. In addition, he sheltered the Catholic clergy in order to save them from severe persecution. Historians speculate that "illegal masses" may have been held in the attic of Oxburg Hall, and key evidence of this was found under the floorboards.
Champion has revealed more than just a human secret.A pair of long-dead rats used all the valuable artifacts of this centuries-old cache to build their nests. Among the torn pages of music, leather, and other unorthodox building materials lay fragments of John Fisher's 1568 psalms. The author was a "Catholic martyr."
Another book find is a knightly romance novel from Spain, dated 1590. This reading was all the rage back then. They also found a box of World War II chocolates in the attic. The box is empty and archaeologists speculate that someone hid it after eating the hidden treat.
Oxburgh Hall Research CEO Russell Clement highlights the aspect of social history behind these precious finds. He says the evidence found supports the home's history as a refuge for a devout Catholic family that has maintained their faith over the centuries.
Quite a lot of more intriguing evidence has been collected, which will be studied in the near future. Researchers promise to tell the exciting story of the Bedingfield family after completing all the necessary activities to study the discovered historical treasures.
If you are interested in the topic of history, read our other article and find out what secrets were discovered by a sacred building in Portugal, which turned out to be older than the famous Stonehenge.
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