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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 September 2007, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Archaeologists hunt fire disaster
Archaeologists have begun digging in Nottinghamshire to search for evidence of a medieval disaster.

Records show that Mansfield Woodhouse and its church were devastated by fire in September 1304 - but little else is known about the event.

The excavation team said they want to expand some of the details about how extensive the damage really was.

Over the next few weeks a series of trenches will be dug near St Edmund's Church to investigate signs of burning.

Buried clues

Medieval records show that only the church tower was left standing and that the population asked the king's permission to use wood from Sherwood Forest for rebuilding.

Community archaeologist Emily Gillott said: "We know the church was involved in the fire and though it has been rebuilt several times it is in the same location.

"So we will start near the church and hopefully we will find a layer of burning and see how far it extends."

Human touch

She added that local people are interested to learn about their past.

"It kind of gives people an idea of where they have come from.

"If people have got a long ancestry and they think their roots go back a long way in Mansfield Woodhouse then they can put themselves in the position of the people who were here when the village burnt down.

"They imagine the kind of difficulties they had to go through and it kind of gives a human touch to something which is mud and pottery."

Roman wall unearthed at city site
08 Aug 06 |  Leicestershire
Search starts for lost settlement
08 Sep 05 |  Nottinghamshire

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