Land at Priory Orchard, Station Road, Godalming

The first of two phases of excavation by N Randall of SCAU following evaluation revealed part of a previously unknown, early medieval, Christian burial ground across much of the higher ground on the east of the site. The graveyard, presumably originally part of the nearby St Peter and Paul’s church, appears to have gone out of use in the medieval period. The lack of later intrusive burials makes it a rare and important discovery. A total of 73 in-situ inhumations were recorded but the quantity of charnel recovered suggests the total number of burials within the excavated area could have been double that figure. The burials were all aligned east–west with the heads to the west. Three burials had single or multiple pillow stones supporting the head. There was no evidence of coffins and the near-total lack of finds from within the graves suggests the bodies were wrapped or more likely sewn into burial shrouds. A spindle whorl was recovered from below the left scapula of the shallowest burial. Parallels from other medieval burial sites indicate their inclusion is generally within female burials. To the west of the burials, archaeological features including medieval pits and postholes and a probable cemetery boundary ditch were revealed. The pits produced an assemblage of mid-12th–13th century pottery. The ditch dominated the western half of the excavation. No inhumations were found to its west and it produced pottery of the same date as the pits. A pit within the cut of the ditch contained the complete skeleton of a small pig or piglet.