It took an email from David Woodhouse to make me realise how long l have been doing this Bath blog!
He made contact having read an article l published back in 2014 about the local landmark known as ‘The Caterpillar.’
It’s got to one of the most iconic shapes on the skyline – viewed to one side of the A46 heading out – or back into – Bath on your way to or from the M4.
People around here seem to know this landmark as the Caterpillar. It’s a defined line of fifty plus beech trees – on the top of Freezing Hill – that continues to make a visual statement on the horizon – whatever the season.
I remember when l moved to Bath l was calling this long-standing feature ‘the soldiers’ until corrected by a local in-the-know!
The land is farmed by the Kinder family ( as of the story in 2014 anyway) who own Tracy Cottage Farm. Matt Kinder had told me that metal detectorists he had allowed on his land had found Anglo-Saxon buckles and strap ends..
Now to that recent email. David Woodhouse writes:
“I was interested to read your Caterpillar Tracks article from 2014. You mentioned that in your conversations with the Kidner family, that Mr Kidner made you aware of a Saxon buckle.
Various parts of that buckle assembly were found by members of my local metal detecting club over a number of visits spanning several years.
Prior to the buckle being found, I found the first Saxon artifact on that land; a silver strap end. (See photo attached.) Prior to that only a few Roman coins had been found. Both the strapend and the buckle fragments were declared treasure and were acquired by Bristol Museum.
Given that the buckle has been dated to the second half of the 6th century, I believe there is a strong case for it having belonged to a high status individual who took part in the Battle of Deorham (Dyrham) in 577AD. I suspect that either the battle took place at Tracy Cottage or bodies were taken there to be buried after the battle.
It was also interesting to note that the front cover of advertising material for an online seminar held by Newcastle University on the Battle of Dyrham, showed one of the buckle fragments we found. So they too appear to believe that there is a link.
The main body of the buckle plate has not yet been found. Once found, the whole buckle assembly will look something like this. ‘
Thanks for that David. Very interesting indeed.