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Last chance to sign up for Buile Hill Park archeology dig

History lovers will converge on Buile Hill Park in Salford next week for the second and final archeological dig into the park’s grand Elizabethan mansion.

The excavation, which starts on Monday 7 September, will further investigate the 18th and 19th century remains of Hart Hill, which was partially uncovered in October 2013.

More fascinating historical insights into this long-forgotten mansion house, and the people who occupied it, are expected throughout the four-week exploration.

Salford University’s Centre for Applied Archeology – who carried out high-profile public digs at New Bailey Prison and discovered evidence of long-suspected ‘cellar dwellers’ underground on Chapel Street – are running the operation.

Hart Hill was built in 1859 for James Dugdale, merchant, and comprised a house in an Elizabethan style adjoined on the west by service rooms, a glasshouse and conservatory, and a yard and coach houses.

Census returns show that the house was completed by 1861 when James Dugdale was listed here at the head of a household which included more than a dozen servants.

The house built by James Dugdale replaced an earlier substantial residence, shown on a map of 1815 as the property of a Mr Simpson.

It was situated in wooded grounds and by the 1840s was approached via a lodge on Eccles Old Road. In the census of 1841 the house was occupied by Thomas Trueman, merchant, while an Anne Jenkle, gatekeeper, presumably lived at the lodge. This residence in turn probably replaced an earlier farm, for ‘Harts Hill’ is mentioned in the Eccles parish registers as early as the 17th century.

The 2015 excavation will target three areas; the eastern extent of the family wing of Hart Hill House, the stables, coach house and workshop structures at the western extent of the site and finally the remains of the earlier 18th century residence.

It runs from 7 September – 9 October and is open to anyone over 16. No previous experience of archeological digs is necessary.

But move quick if you want to have a go at your very own Time Team here in Salford: some days are already full.

Anyone who wishes to attend will need to contact Penny Dargan-Makin at: p.r.d.dargan-makin@salford.ac.uk , and provide up to 5 dates you wish to volunteer along with your full name, full address, contact telephone number and email address.

The full findings of the dig will be showcased to the public at Buile Hill Park on Saturday 10 October.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.