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Archaeological Work


By Tracey Smith

Report No. 2882/2014

BHER Nos 25237 & 25238
OASIS: bristola1-153648
Centred on NGR ST 58729 72665

Bristol and Region Archaeological Services

St. Nicholas Church, St. Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1UE. Tel: (0117) 903 9010




Stratigraphic Sequence..........................................................................

Finds Assessment Report by Cai Mason................................................

Summary of Geoarchaeological Evaluation by Phil Stasney..................


Discussion of Excavation and Watching Brief Results............................






Bibliography and Sources Consulted......................................................


Anno Domini
Above Ordnance Datum
BaRAS Bristol & Region Archaeological Services
Before Christ
Bristol City Council
Bristol Central Library
BCMAG Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery
Bristol Historic Environment Record
British Library
Bristol Record Office


Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
Dept. for Communities & Local Government
Dept. for Culture Media & Sport
English Heritage
English Heritage Archive
National Grid Reference
Ordnance Survey

Cover: View of the site from the King William Ale House, looking south-west

January, 2015.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE:Bristol and Region Archaeological Services retain copyright of this report under the Copyrights,
Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
Plans reproduced from the Ordnance Survey mapping with the permission of the Controller of
Her Majesty's Stationery Office Crown copyright. Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown
copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings. Bristol City Council, Licence
Number LA090551, 2015.

An archaeological strip and map, targeted excavation and watching brief as well as a geoarchaeological
evaluation were carried out prior to the construction of a new building at 66 Queen Square and 22, 23 and
23a King Street.
The different phases of fieldwork exposed activity, buildings and associated features, possibly dating
from the 17th century, through 1831 post-riots reconstruction, to later 19th and 20th century development.

This report presents the results of an archaeological excavation and subsequent watching brief carried out
by Bristol and Region Archaeological Services (BaRAS) on behalf of Skanska UK, during the excavation
of the site of No. 66 Queen Square and Nos 22-23A King Street (Planning Application: 09/00308/F,
09/00311/LA & 11/04078/X; Fig 1). A geoarchaeological evaluation was undertaken by ARCA from the
University of Winchester as part of the project.
The excavation was undertaken between the 14th October 2013 and the 1st November 2013, while
the watching brief continued until the 25th November 2013. The work followed demolition of the 1970s
and 1980s office blocks of Nos 22 24 King Street and No. 66 Queen Square. Building numbers in King
Street changed over time as structures were demolished and rebuilt or consolidated, so that prior to recent
demolition the buildings are known as 22-23a King Street, but historically the site covered Nos 22-25 King
The project archive will be deposited with Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery under the Accession
Number BRSMG 2012/61 and a copy of the report will be made available to the English Heritage Archive.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of both the excavation and watching brief was to identify the extent, condition and date of any
archaeological features surviving
below the modern office block footings,
especially with respect to the possible
survival of any 17th-century foundations along King Street, and to record
such features before their removal in
advance of the new development. This
was especially important given that the
proof dig, to clear the way for piling,
effectively destroyed all archaeological
remains across the site.

A strip and map of the area between
the ring beams allowed a general plan
to be started with tops of walls exposed
below layers of demolition debris, later
floors visible in some areas and various
structures in the ground between King
Street and Queen Square identified
(Fig. 2). Targeted excavations within
the areas of the ring beams added
detail, with further information recorded
during the watching brief over the proof
dig (Plate 1).
Within the courtyard area the
stripping of an open area, uncomplicated by ring beams, allowed a more

Site location plan

detailed look at a number of structures,

including a well, a cobbled yard surface,
three cess pits, a cellar and the main
boundary walls running northwards from the
rear of the Queen Square buildings towards
King Street. Two main areas were chosen
to investigate archaeologically within the
courtyard, one being the cobbled surface as
it was hoped that this would have sealed
the deposits beneath and the other being to
the east of a boundary wall which also
allowed a section to be cut down beside the
boundary wall itself. A small sondage was
also excavated against the side of a vaulted
structure in the north-east corner of the
courtyard and the boundary wall it abutted.
These targeted excavations allowed a more
detailed examination of the archaeological
remains in that area and a greater understanding of the stratigraphic relationships
between the features in the courtyard.
In order to ensure there were no
obstructions to interfere with the piling and
foundations for the new building, the whole
site was machined out down to the natural
clay, the larger stones and brickwork being
removed and the soil returned to the
required height. This was done over stages,
Plate 1 Overview of the courtyard and western half of the site (the
with a small area being dug and exposed
eastern half already completed), showing the trenches between the
briefly before being covered over again, the
ring beams, looking west
whole process being archaeologically
monitored under the watching brief. While it was not generally possible
to get any great detail from the archaeology at this stage of the
fieldwork, it was possible to substantially expand on the information
gained from the strip and map, as well as add previously unexposed
features and so gain a much better understanding of the site as a
whole. As larger areas of the site became exposed during the watching
brief, it was also possible to tighten the stratigraphic sequence first
seen in the strip and map and courtyard excavations.
Dating using finds was made more difficult across the site due
to the nature of activity there. The clearance of the site following the
riots of 1831 and subsequent building work meant that the majority of
soils excavated were redeposited from the 17th-century made ground,
with the pottery therefore giving a range of dates from 1500 to 1900
from features of all periods. Structures that were dated to post-1831
by their stratigraphic relationships and construction types were
associated with soil layers that contained 17th- and 18th-century
pottery so dating from the finds recovered, unless it was certain these
were not from redeposited soils, could not be relied upon.
The result of this work was to identify a number of phases of
development across the site, and to confirm that the 19th- and early
20th- century redesign of both King Street and Queen Square had removed almost completely any remains of the early 17th- or 18th- cen- Plate 2 17th-century black soils
dumped over the marsh clay to raise
tury buildings that once stood there.
the ground level to the rear of No. 72
Queen Square, looking south-west

Excavation plan showing the main
structural features mentioned in
the text, with plate directions

Five main phases of activity on the site were identified during the
Phase 1
The earliest of these were the 17th-century deposits resulting from the
dumping of domestic waste from across Bristol and ordered by the
Corporation of Bristol to build up the ground levels in advance of the
laying out of King Street and other buildings across the Marsh. These
deposits survived predominately at the south eastern, southern and
western extents of the site where disturbance from subsequent
construction-and cellars was less (Plate 2).
Phase 2
The second phase was that of the pre-riots construction. Of this phase
only one feature could be almost definitely dated as being pre-riots; Plate 3 Segment of probable 18ththe brick wall (401) seen in the courtyard excavation. This small century brick wall at the intersection of
boundary wall (348) and the northern
segment of wall was exposed when render was removed to allow the standing wall of 69 Queen Square,
sequencing of boundary wall (348) and the northern wall of 69 Queen looking south-east.
Square. It became apparent that both walls abutted the earlier brick
wall, which may have been a remnant of the earlier 17th- or 18th-century boundary wall, later incorporated
into the cellar of 69 Queen Square and suggesting that the northern side of Queen Square had been
extended after 1831 (Plate 3).


Detailed plan of the courtyard area


Plate 5 Cellar walls (432) and (408) in

the northern edge of site, exposed
during the proof dig, looking north-west

Plate 4 Overview of the courtyard excavation area (pre-ex) with the boundary walls,
well and surfaces clearly visible, looking north. 2 x 1m scales.

Phase 3
The third phase was possibly the most prolific across the site, being that of the immediately post-riot 1831
rebuilding of Queen Square and King Street. It became clear during the courtyard excavation that the area
north of the standing Queen Square building had been extensively cleared and rebuilt following the riots,
with the building of stone north south aligned boundary walls (336) and (348), against which structures
such as a cess pit (340) and dividing wall (334) had been built.
The eastern boundary wall (336) was abutted by the northern wall of 70 Queen Square, indicating
the boundary walls were rebuilt before the buildings, and had both cobbled and brick yard surfaces laid out
against it. The western boundary wall (348) was also used as a cellar wall to extend the cellars behind No.
69 Queen Square further to the north. A sondage dug against the eastern side of boundary wall (348)
exposed a depth of 1m of redeposited 17th-century dumped soils (382) over a broken slate working surface
and mortar debris from the walls construction, below which earlier deposits were intact (Fig.4). This is
E suggestive of a site-wide clearance and levelling prior to the
9m aOD
boundary walls and other structures being built, at which
point the soils were dumped back over the construction
level to raise the ground surface. This period also saw the
face of wall 334
construction of a well (338) to the rear of No. 71 Queen
Square (Plate 4).
To the west of the courtyard another boundary wall
was exposed (317) which ran east west before turning to
run northwards at the western limit of the site. A second
east west wall was also uncovered during the proof dig,
delineating the boundary of the Queen Square/King Street
properties (409). Two abutting parallel walls of substantial
construction (432) and (408) (Plate 5) were observed during
the proof dig running north south, one of which (432)
turned to the west at its southern end (westerly length then
robbed out). The westernmost of the two walls (408) is
thought to be of post- 1831 date, while the easternmost
(432) is later. These were the remains of the cellar walls
dividing 24 and 23a King Street.
An internal cellar wall (281) was noted running east
west within what would have been No.25 King Street and
Section of soils beside boundary wall (348)



Excavation plan overlying the Goad Insurance Plan of 1887

was abutted to the south by a probable cistern tank (230) set into undisturbed 17th-century landfill dumping.
This indicated the cellaring of No. 25 King Street did not extend as far as those of the later King Street
properties. All of the boundary walls and cellar walls were constructed of a mid-grey mortar which contained
a high percentage of lime and charcoal fragments. A flagstone floor (417) and remains of a brick wall with
doorway surround in Bath Stone (419) was noted at the western side of 69 Queen Square, the flagstones
being relatively small and displaying tool marks on their surface (Plate
6). This is thought to be the remains of the cellar of 66 Queen Square,
demolished in the 1930s in advance of the dual carriageway (see Phase
5 below), and backfilled with building rubble including several examples
of plaster moulding.
The majority of activity at the rear of No. 72 Queen Square dated to
this phase of rebuilding, with walls (236) and (240) extending outwards
from the standing building to provide a footprint of the post 1831
construction, as well as a small area of surviving flagstones (242) and
a large cess tank (238).
At the eastern half of site disturbance from the 1970s building was
extensive but traces of flagstones from a floor were found, as were brick
pier bases from the cellar of No. 22, dating to the rebuilding of the
Jameson warehouse in the 1830s.

Plate 6 The flagstone floor (417) and

doorway (419) exposed during the
proof dig of T7, looking west

Phase 4
The fourth phase recorded on site was that of the later 19th- or early
20th-century rebuilding of parts of King Street. At the north-west corner
of the site the brick walls and pier bases of the large three storey
warehouse that had stood there until the 1980s were evident (although
it had been reduced in height and rebuilt internally after bomb damage
in the 1940s). These had been built inside the stone boundary walls of
phase three, running parallel to and abutting the sides of those walls.
The construction was substantial, with footings at the north-west corner
being over 5m deep and well embedded into the grey alluvial clay (312)
(Plate 7).

Plate 7 Exposing the cellar below 25 King Street during the proof dig, looking north-east

The wall that would have stood between Nos. 25 and 24 King Street had been robbed out,
presumably in the 1970s, leaving only a deep cut which was filled with stone scalpings under No. 24,
in-filling the deep cellar that would have existed. It appears from the archaeological evidence that No. 25
King Street was only cellared along the northern frontage of King Street, the walls and pier bases of the
southern half of the building later being dug into in-situ 17th century soils and in one case (287) into the
centre of an earlier cess tank. The second of the two cellar walls running north south dividing Nos 24
and 23a King Street (408) was thought to be from this phase of rebuilding. Also dated to this phase was a
second deep cellar wall, constructed of stone and black mortar, running north south at the southern end
of No. 23 King Street, forming the cellar wall for that property as it extended southwards in the later 19th
century (412). This cellar had been filled with demolition rubble and then cut through by the 1970s
basement. It also cut through the cess tanks abutting the earlier boundary walls (340).
Phase 5
The fifth and final phase of activity on site was that of the later 20th
century. The construction of a dual carriageway leading through
Queen Square in the 1930s led to the demolition of 66 Queen Square
and all properties west of 25 King Street. Numbers 22, 23, 23a and
24 King Street were demolished and replaced by office blocks in the
1970s, and virtually nothing survived of the original buildings, the cellars being backfilled by stone scalpings and any internal walls largely
robbed out with the exception of (412) and the dividing wall (408) of
23a and 24 King Street. The frontage of No. 24, believed to date to
the post-1831 rebuilding of King Street, was incorporated into the
1970s office block and survived until the present demolition. The 1980s
offices on the corner of 66 Queen Square did less damage, with piles
sunk though the archaeology but with not as much disturbance as the

Plate 8 Wall (318) with irregular flagstone floor to the east and herringbone
brick surface to the west, looking west.
2 x 1m scales

1970s building caused. Construction of the 1980s offices removed the last standing remains of the 25
King Street warehouse but left its footings intact and the majority of archaeology in-situ.
Uncertain date
A number of features remained uncertain in date after the excavation and watching brief. A stone wall with
light greyish-pink mortar (280) and (318), exposed during the strip and map of the western side of the side
and aligned slightly differently to the post-1830s boundary walls, was thought to be potentially pre-1831
and part of the original 18th-century Queen Square layout (Plate 8). This had a herringbone brick surface
to its western side (327) and an irregular flagstone paved area to its eastern side (328) and (279), over
which was found two fragments of a tile dating from the late 17th 18th century. However, as with most
dating on site, this could have been redeposited from the dumped soils over the surface. Cutting through
this paved surface at the south-western corner of site was a double-celled tank or cess pit, stone built with
hard light grey mortar and the remains of brick vaulting. Although this is post-1830s in date, it was unclear
whether it belonged to phase 3 or phase 4.
A number of small cellar walls were seen during the watching brief, leading northwards from the
northern side of No. 69 Queen Square and thought to be of probable phase 3 date, although this cannot
be proven. A solidly-constructed stone drain was also recorded during the watching brief, running across
the courtyard area at a depth of approximately 0.40m below the previously exposed archaeology (410).
This may have existed prior to 1831 or it may have been constructed during the first rebuild after 1831,
before the ground was built up between the boundary walls.


A total of 730 finds were recovered during the excavation and watching brief. The finds comprise: 419
sherds of ceramic, 55 clay tobacco pipe fragments, 142 animal bones (2 worked), 45 marine shells, 26
shards of glass, 20 metal objects, 13 pieces of slag, 5 pieces of ceramic building material (CBM), and 5
pieces of roof slate. The finds were cleaned, identified and catalogued according to material type. Apart
from a small quantity of residual medieval pottery, all of the finds are post-medieval or modern. Retained
finds will be marked with the accession number and a context number. The finds are discussed separately
by type below.
The ceramic assemblage comprises 2 sherds of tin-glazed tile and 412 sherds of pottery, 99.5% of which
is post-medieval; the remaining 0.5% is medieval. The ceramics were examined with reference to the Bristol
Pottery Type (BPT) Series and other published sources, and are quantified by ware type in Table 1 using
the widely accepted name codes based on the system adopted by the Museum of London (LAARC 2007).
Table 1: Ceramics quantified by ware type
Ware type
Bristol Redcliffe ware
North Italian marbled
Cistercian ware
(Falfield ware)
Westerwald stoneware
Somerset redware
Tin-glazed ware
yellow slipware
Montelupo tin-glazed ware
North Devon fineware
North Devon
Staffordshire white
salt-glazed stoneware
Malvern Chase redware


Name code

Date range
1250 1500





1550 1725




1500 1650
1600 1800
1550 1900
1640 1800

Mostly Bristol




1650 1800
1530 1650
1650 1900

Mostly Bristol
North Devon




1600 1900

North Devon




1720 1770
1400 1700



Refined white earthenware 202

mottled manganese ware
Local red earthenware
English stoneware
Merida-type ware
Frechen stoneware
Staffordshire coarseware
Unidentified white ceramic (burnt)



1780 +



1690 1800
1700 1900
1700 1900
1250 1650
1550 1700
1650 1900
1765 1830
1720 +

Mostly Bristol
Bristol area
Mostly Bristol
Mostly Bristol



The medieval pottery comprises 1 sherd of 13th 15th-century Bristol Redcliffe ware (BR; BPT 72) and 1
sherd of 13th 17th-century Portuguese Merida-type ware (SPAM; BPT 282); both of which were recovered
as residual finds in post-medieval contexts.
The post-medieval assemblage comprises a rage of wares commonly found in 17th to 19th-century contexts
in Bristol, such as English tin-glazed wares, stonewares, slipwares, earthenwares, whitewares, and a small
amount of imported pottery.
This category includes Cistercian ware (CSTN: BPT 93), Somerset redwares (SSOM: BPT 96), North Devon
fine ware (NDFW; BPT 108), North Devon gravel-tempered ware (NDGT; BPT 112), Malvern Chase redware
(HERB4; BPT 197) and Staffordshire coarseware (STCOAR; BPT 319).
Cistercian ware is a term used to describe a type of black-glazed cup produced in various parts of
England during the 16th and early 17th century. Most of the cups found in Bristol were produced in
Gloucestershire and are commonly known as Falfield ware after a kiln waste dump uncovered during the
construction of the M5 motorway. All of the Cistercian/Falfield ware sherds were recovered as residual finds
in 19th-century contexts.
Somerset redwares are by far the most common ware type in the assemblage. This pottery was
produced from the mid-16th to late 19th century, with some limited production continuing into the early 20th
century. Somerset redwares were produced at numerous sites across the county including Wanstrow,
Nunney, Donyatt, Wrangway and Nether Stowey. Identifiable forms include 17th-19th-century pancheons,
jugs and jars, 17th/18th-century pans, bucket pots and scraffito-decorated plates, and an 18th or early
19th-century candlestick holder.
The North Devon pottery includes gravel-tempered coarseware and fine ware, both of which have
a production range that spans the 17th to late 19th centuries. The gravel-tempered variety is considerably
more common in this assemblage, and mostly comprises fragments of large open forms such as bowls or
pancheons; other forms include a pipkin and a jar. The fine ware includes fragments of a near-complete
dish decorated with dots of white slip that was recovered from 19th-century context 364.
Malvern Chase redware (HERB4; BPT 197) has a production range that spans the 15th to 17th
centuries, and was common in Bristol in the 16th century. Identifiable forms include chafing dishes from
19th-century context 370 and 17th/18th-century context 396.
Staffordshire Coarseware (STCOAR; BPT 319) was produced from the mid-16th to 19th century
and has a red fabric with a thick black glaze.
English tin-glazed ware
Tin-glazed ware (TGW; BPT 99) was produced in Bristol from c 1640 up until the end of the 18th century,
when it was superseded by harder fired mass-produced whitewares. Identifiable TGW forms include a mug,
a bowl, a tea bowl, plates, and two joining sherds of a tile. The tile, which was recovered from floor 328, is
decorated with an image of a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat, and can be dated on stylistic grounds to
the period c 1680 1800.
Bristol/Staffordshire yellow slipware & mottled-manganese ware
These ware types were produced from the same clay as the locally produced tin-glazed ware. Yellow

slipware (STSL; BPT 100) was produced between c 1650 and 1800; mottled manganese ware (STMO;
BPT 211) was produced between c 1690 and 1800. Apart from a money pot recovered from context 321,
all of the identifiable yellow slipware forms were plates and cups.
English stoneware
Most if not all of the English salt-glazed stoneware (ENGS; BPT 277) is likely to have been produced in
Bristol in the 18th or 19th century. The only identifiable form is part of a bottle from 18th/19th centurycontext 308.
Mass produced whitewares
The mass produced whitewares include 2 sherds of creamware (CREA; BPT 326), 1 sherd of refined
whiteware (REFW; BPT 202), and 1 sherd of transfer-printed ware (TPW; BPT 278). No forms were
identified. These wares were produced from the end of the 18th century onwards.
German stoneware
The German stonewares include 2 sherds of late 16th 17th-century Frechen stoneware (FREC; BPT
286) and 4 sherds of 17th/18th-century Westerwald stoneware (WEST; BPT 95). The only identifiable
German stoneware form was a shard from a Frechen Bartmann bottle. All of the German stoneware was
recovered as residual finds in 19th-century or later contexts.
Italian pottery
The Italian wares comprise a mid-16th early 17th-century Montelupo tin-glazed ware (MLTG: BPT 107)
plate sherd, and a late 16th early 18th-century North Italian marbled slipware (NIMS; BPT 81) costrel
sherd; both of which were recovered as residual finds in 19th-century contexts.
Clay tobacco pipes
A total of 55 fragments clay tobacco pipe were collected, 43 of which are un-diagnostic stems. The
pipes date from the late 16th century onwards, and include 3 marked bowls. The pipes have been identified
with reference to the Bristol and London tobacco pipe bowl typologies (Jarrett 2013, 215-37; Atkinson &
Oswald 1969), and other published sources (Oswald 1975; Jackson & Price 1974; Price 2011). The Bristol
pipes are prefixed BRIS; London pipes are prefixed AO.
Tobacco smoking was introduced to England in the mid-16th century, and the earliest known tobacco
pipes were produced in London c 1580 (Oswald 1975, 4). Bristols tobacco pipe making industry was
established some time prior to 1617 (Price 2011, 7), but in the late 16th and very early 17th centuries
London remained the main centre of production. One of the tobacco pipes in the Queen Square assemblage
is a London AO3 type bowl, dating from the period c 1580 1610. This pipe, which is marked IR incuse
on its flat, heart-shaped base, may have been made by the London pipe-maker John Rosse, who is
recorded in Charters of 1619 and 1634 (Oswald 1975, 144). The AO3 pipe was recovered as a residual
find in post-1830 layer 376.
The other marked pipes are both mid late 17th-century types stamped PE incuse on the heel.
Both marks are illustrated in Jackson & Price (1974, 95-6, Nos. 87-88), and can be identified as products
of the Bristol pipe makers Philip Edwards I or II. Phillip Edwards I was born c 1621-5, became free in 1649,
and died in 1683 (Price 2011, 1391-1410). His son, Philip Edwards II, was born c 1652-4, became free in
1680, and probably died in 1703 (ibid). All of the Edwards familys five known workshops were situated in
the Lewins Mead area. PE pipes are common in Bristol and have been found on sites along the American
eastern seaboard and Jamaica (Walker 1971, 1756; Jackson & Price, 1974, 42). Both pipes were recovered
as residual finds in post-1830 contexts.
Animal bone
The assemblage comprises 142 fragments of animal bone from 16 separate post-medieval or modern layers. The assemblage is quantified in Table 2 by species and broad chronological period.
The entire assemblage was rapidly scanned and quantified in terms of species and skeletal element.
Detailed information relating to age, biometric and butchery was also quantified, and the preservation
condition of bones including any evidence for gnawing and burning was noted. This information was directly

recorded into a spreadsheet and cross-referenced with relevant contextual information.

Preservation condition
Bone preservation is generally good, cortical surfaces are intact, and fine surface details such as cut marks
are clear and easily observed. No gnaw marks were noted.
Species represented
Approximately 44% of fragments can be identified to species, most of which are from livestock species
(i.e. cattle, sheep/goat and pig), the most common being cattle and sheep/goat, which are present in equal
Table 2: Number of identified specimens present (NISP)
Unidentified mammal
Unidentified bird
Unidentified fish
Total 142


A number of the bones have butchery cut marks, and most are clearly derived from food waste. In
addition to the food waste, there are 9 sawn-off ends of cattle metatarsals (including distal and proximal
ends), which can be identified as bone working waste (Rixon 1989, 49-62). The metatarsals, which were
recovered from layer 292, were cut at right angles to the shaft, approximately 20-30mm from the ends of
the bones using a fine-toothed saw. The straight dense section of the metapodial provided material that
could be used for a number of purposes including pin, dice and handle making. Layer 292 contained finds
that indicate it was deposited after c 1780. If layer 292 comprises locally dumped material (as opposed to
refuse derived from elsewhere in the city) it could indicate that some form of bone working was occurring
in the area in the late 18th or early 19th century (see Finds Discussion and Conclusions below).
In addition to the food/craft working waste two worked bone objects were recovered. The first is a
turned bone tube that was recovered from late 18th early 19th century layer 292; this object is probably
a tool or cutlery handle.
The second object is a near complete bone toothbrush from layer 431. The handle of the toothbrush
is slightly curved and has holes drilled halfway through the stock to accommodate bristles. There are further
thin holes, drilled from the head of the stock, which would have accommodated threads that secured the
bristles in place. Toothbrushes were introduced to Europe from China in the mid-17th century, but they
remained relatively uncommon until the end of the 18th century. The modern toothbrush was invented in
1780 by a London tanner named William Addis. His method of manufacturing bone-handled toothbrushes
became common in the 19th century before being superseded by synthetic replacements towards the end
of the century (Mattick 1993, 162). The toothbrush from Queen Square dates from the late 18th or 19th
The glass assemblage comprises 25 shards of bottle glass and 1 shard of window glass, all of which is
post-medieval or modern. The glass is quantified by context. Most of the bottle shards are small and
un-diagnostic, but most are likely to be derived from free-blown wine bottles of late 17th- or 18th- century
date. Two bottle necks from layer 368 can be broadly dated to the period 1660 1760, one of which is
part of an unusual aqua glass bottle with a neck that is similar to a small version of an onion or mallet
shaped wine bottle.
The metal assemblage comprises 19 iron objects and 1 copper alloy object, all of which are likely to be
post-medieval or modern. Metal objects are quantified by context. The iron objects comprise 13 nails, 2
structural ties, 1 bolt, 1 threaded gas or water pipe, 1 blade fragment and 1 piece of sheet iron of unknown

function. The copper alloy object is a small, embossed button of 18th- or 19th-century date.
Marine shell
A total of 45 marine shells were recovered from post-medieval and modern contexts, 39 of which are
oysters, 2 are cockles and 2 are mussels. All of the marine shells are likely to be derived from food waste.
Other finds
The other finds comprise 13 pieces of iron slag, 5 pieces of post-medieval or modern CBM and 5 pieces
of roof slate and 2 worked bone objects.
Finds Discussion and Conclusions
Apart from a few sherds of residual medieval pottery, all of the finds are post-medieval. Most of the
excavated contexts contained 17th/18th-century finds, but can be shown stratigraphically to post-date the
Bristol Riots of 1830.
The finds assemblage is small and much of it was collected from contexts that are likely to include
redeposited refuse derived from elsewhere in the city, which limits the potential for further study. No further
work is recommended. Layer 292 containing worked bone was partially exposed during a sondage dug
during the excavation phase of the site. Unfortunately not enough was exposed to state definitively that its
origin was on site rather than being redposited from the 17th-century landfill of the area, as even though
the pottery dating suggests a post 1780 date, the soil type was almost identical to that of the landfill deposits.
However, the presence of the worked bone and pottery may well suggest a mixing of contemporary dumped
refuse with redeposited soils, spread during later 18th century-activity.


A geoarchaeological borehole survey was carried out by ARCA and Geotechnical Engineering Ltd on the
site in November 2013. The works were undertaken in order to establish the nature of the Holocene
stratigraphy at the site. Strata in the borehole cores were described by ARCA geoarchaeologists and the
resultant data incorporated within a lithological/stratigraphical database held by that organisation for the
central Bristol area.
Bedrock of the Mercia Mudstone Group was encountered at the base of the Quaternary sedimentary
sequence in BH1, outcropping below -5.85m OD at which point they were unconformably overlain by
gravels of the Pleistocene Avon Formation. The majority of the sediments sampled in both boreholes belong
to the Holocene Wentlooge Formation which outcrop between -2.46m OD and +6.65m OD in BH1, and
between -1.95m OD and +6.95m OD in BH2. The Wentlooge Formation sediments at Queen Square were
composed of two main stratigraphic units: Alluvium 3 and Alluvium 1, the former comprising silt/clay strata
with fine sand laminae deposited on a point bar in the inner bend of the River Avon to the south of the site,
whilst the latter were composed of silt/clay alluvial/intertidal deposits. The Holocene sequence at the site
was capped by deposits of Made Ground, 3.05m thick in BH1 and 2.20m thick in BH2.
Although organic strata of high palaeoenvironmental and archaeological potential have been
encountered within Wentlooge Formation sediments at other sites in central Bristol, most notably in the
Canons Marsh area to the west of the site, no such strata were encountered at Queen Square. The Queen
Square deposits are assessed as having low archaeological and palaeoenvironmental potentials and
therefore no further geoarchaeological works are recommended. The full geoarchaeological evaluation
report is in the project archive.
Much of the overall history of Queen Square and King Street, as well as the people who lived there, has
been previously covered in a study undertaken in 2007 (Bryant, 2007) so this discussion will focus on the
historical evidence where it pertains to specific buildings and to the associated archaeology uncovered
during the watching brief (see Fig. 5 for excavation plan superimposed on the Goad Insurance plan of
It is known that the northern side of Queen Square was re-built following the Bristol Riots of 1831,
with both documentary and archaeological evidence pointing to a comprehensive clearing of the fire
damaged buildings but the extent of the destruction along King Street has never been completely clear.

Photographic and documentary

evidence suggested that while
much of King Street was
damaged during the rioting,
some buildings remained intact
and in use until the later 1800s.
This discussion will focus mainly
on King Street and the land to
the rear of Queen Square as the
watching brief areas.
Originally leased as plots for
tenements in 1663, King Street
soon became more commercial
in nature, with the size of the
plots and their closeness to
town and harbour facilitating
trade and industry rather than
just occupation. Indeed it is
known that by 1741 at least, 23a
Thomas Rowbotham watercolour of 25-30 King Street,1825 (BRSMG M2504) King Street was in use as a
warehouse rather than a
By the time of the riots, the stretch of King Street observed during the watching brief comprised of
two houses and a warehouse (in the Avenue) at No. 22 (originally Nos 21 and 22), all of which were leased
by James Johnson, a spirits merchant. An unspecifiedbuilding, presumed warehouse, was at No. 23, while
a warehouse at No 23a (originally No. 24) may have been used for grain storage as the lease holder was
a cornfactor. Number 24 (originally No. 25) was another unspecified building at that time leased to an
Arnee Frank, pin manufacturer, suggesting this was also an industrial building rather than a house by the
1830s. The westernmost property that fell within the site was No. 25 (listed as 25 and 26, then later as 26
only), a double plot, which in 1831 was leased by the Corporation to a John Chandler, carpenter. This
property dated to c 1718 after the original tenements were demolished and a large 3 storey frontage
house with conjoined gables was built in their place and is shown on a watercolour painted before the riots
in 1825 (Thomas Rowbotham, Fig. 6).
Following the riots, when much of Queen Square had been destroyed, it could be thought that King
Street would be similarly affected, as the rioters were known to have proceeded along the street during
their protests. Indeed one source states that a river of flaming rum gushed from James Johnsons
warehouse in King Street during the riots (Amey, 1979, 90), referring to 22 King Street.
Nos 22 & 23 King Street
Only Nos 22 and 23 have documentary proof of being destroyed during the riots; No. 23 being described
as having been Destroyed by fire at the riots in October 1831 (BRO 09082/1 fol.186). Of these two
buildings, the leases were renewed to Johnson in 1833, probably the date of the rebuilding following the
riots and although the original plans for the rebuilt 22 King Street have not survived, there are later drawings
from alterations proposed in the 1950s. These show the building to have been a large double fronted
(Phillip Street Album, vol. Bstructure, three storeys high with extensive basements comprising four
segmental arched cellars. This warehouse had a rounded corner fronting onto King William Avenue and
a longer elevation along the avenue than had previously existed and was recorded by Goad in 1887 as
being a bonded warehouse selling spirits and wines. Number 23 King Street was incorporated into the
double warehouse of No. 22 when it was rebuilt. The watching brief uncovered deeply dug lime mortar and
rubble footings with brick pillars, on which once stood the columns of the arched cellar of No.22, the cellars
themselves having been filled with stone chippings prior to redevelopment. The remains of a flagstone
floor was also found in one place but it appeared as if the majority of the flagstones had been removed
when the building was demolished in the 1960s.
The 1958 alterations plan of Nos 22 and 23 King Street mentions spirit tanks below No. 23 as
being backfilled, thus suggesting a basement below that structure also. The watching brief confirmed this

was the case, the basement

having been backfilled with
stone chippings in the 1970s. A
wall, thought to be a later 19thcentury extension, was exposed
to the south of the No. 23,
cutting through existing 17th
century make-up and 19thcentury dumping, with modern
rubble back-filling the space to
the east of it, suggesting later
extension to the cellars had
occurred. Both Nos. 22 and 23
King Street survived until the
redevelopment of the site in the
No. 23a (originally 24) King
Number 23a (originally 24) King
Street, is less well represented
in the archives and it is unclear
whether the property was
destroyed in the riots, although
like Nos. 22 and 23 the lease
was issued in 1834, again to
James Johnson. He already
owned the properties next door
but although the definite date of
construction remains uncertain,
the style of construction as seen Fig.7 Photograph dated sometime between 1905 and 1936 taken from the northern
in historic photographs and end of Prince Street looking eastwards down King Street. Numbers 24 and 25 are
illustration would suggest that visible to the far left (Phillip Street Album, Vol. B, Bristol Museum).
23a was contemporary with the
The building that was present on site by the end of the 1800s is described on the Goad plan of
1887 as a bonded warehouse and by that time appears to be leased by the same company as the
neighbouring properties to the east; Evens and Sons, wine and spirits merchants who took over from James
Johnson. During the watching brief a substantial stone and lime mortar wall was uncovered running north
south at the western extent of the building with a second stone wall also exposed further to the south
running east west and thought to have been the remains of the southern wall of the warehouse structure
shown on the Goad plan. That wall had had a cess tank built up against it to the south, suggesting a yard
area, while the boundary walls uncovered during the courtyard excavation abutted it. The basement that
had existed below the building was again backfilled with scalpings in the 1970s.
The faade of No. 24 King Street remained standing until the recent demolition (Fig. 8). Constructed
of squared Pennant Sandstone blocks with brick detail, the date of this building is again uncertain; however
the lease pattern follows those of the previous King Street properties, having been renewed in 1833, so it
is likely to have been a contemporary post-riot rebuild. The dividing wall between it and No. 23a ran parallel
to the main western wall of 23a but was constructed of stone and dark grey mortar, seemingly a later
construction than that of No. 23a. This may have been a wall rebuild during the later Victorian period or
was possibly associated with the warehouse and offices built in 1905, at which time No. 24 was opened
up to adjoin the new building internally. A small stretch of wall was also found to the south, thought to be
a remainder of the post-1831 southern wall of the building. The buried northern wall, which remained after
demolition of the faade, survived intact below ground level and was exposed in three small areas during
the watching brief when the scalpings used to backfill the basement began falling away from the northern
wall while machining.

Nos 25 & 26 King Street

The one building which
appeared to survive the riots of
1831 was that of Nos 25 and
26 King Street. The 1718
double frontage survived the
fires and is visible in a late 19th
century photograph of King
Street where it remained until
1905 when it was demolished
to make way for the large
warehouse that replaced it.
The problem in attempting to
date the walls exposed during
the watching brief is that while
the 1718 faade of No. 25 King
Street survived until 1905, the
extent of any rebuilding that
may have occurred after the
riots to the rear of the building
is unclear. It is quite possible
that while the front of the
building dated to the early 18th
century, the back of the
building could well have been
rebuilt. The 1887 Goad
Insurance plan shows the
building to be completely
No. 24 King Street frontage prior to recent demolition, between the 1970s and
timber framed, other than a
1980s office buildings, looking south-west
small stone-built structure at
the rear of the building and it
appears to have been extended from its original southern extent, with timber additions on either side, one
with a skylight. Given that the buildings immediately to the eastern side of No. 25 had been rebuilt after,
and probably as a direct result of, the riot of 1831, it seems hard to think of No. 25 escaping unscathed.
Interestingly, despite disturbance from the 1905 warehouse construction, elements of what may
have been the 1718 building were exposed during the watching brief and excavations. While the main
western wall of the house was replaced by the 1905 structure (the wall visible in the watching brief running
alongside the 1905 brick walls being the eastern wall of No. 27 King Street), the southern wall of the house
did survive, though its dating is uncertain as the build appears more likely to be early 19th century rather
than 17th (Fig. 5). An internal wall was also uncovered running east west approximately 5.50m south of
the King Street frontage. North of the wall had been used as a basement, the backfill being re-deposited
mixed 17th century landfill and rubble, dumped prior to the construction of the 1905 warehouse. The area
to the south of the dividing wall had never had a basement, the original 17th-century landfill being largely
intact and undisturbed with the exception of a large stone and brick-built tank with a heavy lime render,
possibly a cistern, built up against the southern side of the internal wall. This tank had one of the later
1905 foundation plinths built into it, presumably as it was easier to build in an empty space. Again, the
dating of the internal wall and tank is uncertain as the mortar appeared to be 19th century rather than early
18th and it seems likely from the archaeological evidence that the majority of the structure with the exception
of the King Street faade was rebuilt following the riots.
The later 1905 warehouse which replaced 25 and 26 King Street was a substantial building
(Fig. 7), with footings that were over 5m deep in the north-west corner of the building. These were exposed
during the watching brief, the lime mortar and rubble foundations below stepped brick walls having survived
the 1980s office building construction, as did the internal support column footings built in the same fashion.
In places, the cement floors of the warehouse also survived intact and were exposed during the
excavations, overlying a layer of dumped slag-rich levelling deposit. By the mid-20th century 24 King Street
had been incorporated into the warehouse. The warehouse survived until the 1980s when it was

demolished to build the offices, however it had been damaged by bombing during WWII and while repaired,
was only two storeys high with a flat roof.
To the rear of No. 25 King Street, a small stone wall was uncovered during excavation, running
west to east before turning and running to the south. This had an uneven flagstone floor to the east and a
herringbone brick floor to the west of it and appeared to be non-loadbearing, possibly associated with one
of the outbuildings. A small fragment of wall with the same construction was uncovered in a trench to the
south, along with more of the uneven flagstone surface, towards the rear of the Queen Square buildings.
These surfaces and walls remain undated, but the mortar looks earlier than 19th century, so it is possible
they were a remnant of the 18th-century King Street building.
Queen Square
In the south-western corner of the site, the remains of the basement below No. 66 Queen Square was
uncovered during the watching brief. While the excavation had revealed small brick dividing walls, the
watching brief uncovered a fine flagstone floor below the walls and the remains of the bottom of a stone
doorway surround, presumably leading from one section of the basement to another. The room had been
backfilled with rubble and plaster, along with several pieces of fine plaster moulding, probably originating
from the house when it was demolished in the 1930s.
The main excavation area was the courtyard to the north of No. 70 Queen Square, which had largely
escaped development during the later 20th century. Although it had been at least partially covered over
during the expansion of 23a King Street, the majority of the area was undisturbed, and as described in the
Results section above, the features appeared to date to the rebuilding of Queens Square and King Street
after the riots of 1831. Cess tanks and wells were present between the main east and west boundary
walls, one of which was later incorporated into a cellar at the rear of the present No. 69 Queen Square. A
blocked doorway in the Queen Square basements of No. 70, suggested there had been a set of steps
leading down into the basement from the backyard. These had been removed and no sign of them
remained; only the presence of mixed, redeposited 17th-century landfill suggesting where they had once
stood. A later brick and cobble surface was then laid over the dumped soils, leading to a small open space
in the top of the blocked doorway. A coal residue covering the surface suggests its use as a yard or storage
area, probably in the later 19th or early 20th century.

In conclusion, no pre-1600 features were exposed during the excavation or watching brief. The only feature
that was felt to definately pre-date the Bristol Riots of 1831 was a small segment of brick wall, bonded with
pink mortar; a possible segment of original late 17th or early 18th-century boundary wall, against which
one of the boundary walls and the standing northern wall of No. 67 Queen Square had been rebuilt following
the destruction caused by the riots.
The majority of stone structures exposed on the site during the project, such as cellar walls, floors,
cess tanks, a well and the nothern foundation walls of the Queen Square buildings themselves, were, as
far as can be ascertained, built following the construction of stone boundary walls identified in the courtyard
excavations. This would indicate that the Queen Square buildings (with the possible exception of parts of
the cellars), their subsidiary structures and most of the segment of King Street between what had been
Nos 22 and 26, were redesigned and rebuilt in the mid-1800s, after the Bristol Riots.
The King Street redevelopment of the late 1800s / early 1900s, was evidenced by the deep brick
cellar walls and piers of the westernmost warehouse, which had survived to a considerable depth. Hidden
behind these brick walls, small areas of earlier walling were exposed, suggesting that at least some of the
18th century and if surviving, 17th century northern cellar walls may still remain in-situ. The later 20thcentury office blocks had removed much of the evidence of what had been Nos 22 and 23 and while the
modern 21st-century development of Nos 22-23a King Street will in its turn remove the majority of earlier
features, it is thought that those traces of the 17th and 18th-century King Street will still survive below the
pavement at the northern limit of the site.


BaRAS would like to thank Kelly Iles and the Skanska site management team, Steve Broad (Skanska
surveyor), the groundwork crew, ARCA and Bob Jones (Senior Archaeological Officer) of Bristol City Council
for their assistance during this project.


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Maps and Plans
BRO Building Plan 50/1b Nos 25 26 Warehouse
BRO Building Plan 50/18b
BRO Building Plan 55/61c William Grimes Warehouse
BRO Building Plan C/94 King Street

Goad CE Insurance Plan 1887 Sheet 8

Goad CE Insurance Plan 1961 updated sheet 8
Plumley and Ashmead Plan of the City of Bristol 1828
Ashmead Plan of the City of Bristol 1854
Ordnance Survey 1883 1:500 plan
Ordnance Survey 1902 1:2500 plan
Ordnance Survey 1913 1:2500 plan