Historic kiln found near Constable's home covered for safety

Developers claim an archeology find near John Constable's home has been covered to protect it

These pictures show the 19th Century kiln when it was found earlier this month near John Constable's home in a field on Heath Road, East Bergholt and after it was covered at the weekend. - Credit: Supplied

A 19th century kiln near artist John Constable's home has been covered for the public's health and safety, developers have claimed. 

Hills Building Group said it would be "potentially dangerous" to leave the archaeological site uncovered on land east of Constable Country Medical Centre, Heath Road, East Bergholt, where it hopes to build 75 homes, a pre-school, swimming pool and community hub. 

Steve Williams, director at Hills Building Group, said the archaeologists, who the developer asked to excavate the site, covered it up. 

He added: "The kiln has been buried simply because leaving an open excavation on a field is potentially dangerous and it is still an active farm.

"Colchester Archaeological Trust has done everything they need to in order to enable them to accurately map the findings as they continue to map the history of our local area and that marks the project as complete."

Suffolk County Council’s archaeology team and Babergh District Council are still considering whether works can go ahead on the site after the kiln was found

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A spokeswoman for BDC said it is considering the "consequences" of the "exciting find" and any amendments needed to the planning permission. 

John Hinton at the bridge on the C424 between East Bergholt and Bentley. The council are proposing t

Babergh District Councillor feels "outright fury" by the covering of the site near John Constable's home - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

But John Hinton, the district councillor for East Bergholt, said he felt "outright fury" by the cover-up and was worried about it not being opened up again.  

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Mr Hinton added: "Have you heard of a site being dug up, opened and dug up again? I would be surprised if many were. Not many I would think."

East Bergholt Society has also found more information about the kiln and its history, which is near the Constable family Windmill on the corner of Mill Road.

The society said: "We can imagine hundreds of such kilns working with locally sourced clay, creating bricks with slightly different dimensions fuelling the housing booms of the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

"Most of these kilns are long gone and covered up and so to find this one is relatively rare. There have been other finds nearby, notably in Layham, outside Hadleigh, Trimley St Martin, just north of the River Orwell, and at South Cove near Southwold, the latter being reopened for the public to see in 1977."

EBS also found an advert to sell the kiln in 1862, saying it produced red and white bricks, an unusual production when mainly red bricks were used for housing. 

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