In 2019 Farnham Town Council generously received a grant of £9,900 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to undertake an exciting new heritage outreach project which brings to light Farnham’s buried past.

Farnham’s past

Considerable work has been undertaken to investigate the archaeology of Farnham over the years: excavation of the castle keep, work at Borelli Yard, Bear Lane and Castle Street in advance of redevelopment which established the existence of the town ditch, and even the ongoing community test-pitting dig Finding Farnham. Excavations outside of the town centre likewise abound in unique artefacts and structures, from the only Neolithic long barrow known in Surrey at Badshot Lea to the major Roman pottery industry at Alice Holt. 

Designated as a Craft Town in 2013, Farnham’s distinctive crafting roots also extend back centuries, not least its history of potting, from the Roman wares of the Alice Holt kilns, to the Surrey medieval whiteware industry, to the best-preserved example of a Victorian country pottery in England at Farnham Pottery. From the prehistoric to the modern day, this industrial heritage is prevalent and reflected in the artefacts and craft collections of the region: Mesolithic flint-knapping, Iron Age coin production, medieval tile-making and masonry, Georgian brick-working, and more. 

Exploring the archaeology and heritage of Farnham

Despite this rich past, a large majority of this heritage now only exists in the finds uncovered and tucked away in museum stores or from the written reports on the actual excavations. ‘Hidden Heritage’ aims to raise more awareness of Farnham’s unique past and get the community involved in the exciting discoveries and innovations which took place in our town!

Though still developing, the project has produced a series of heritage interpretation boards which are distributed around the town centre and a series of period-based leaflets which link the archaeological and industrial past together and highlight little-known finds and structures from the area ranging from the prehistoric to 20th century. 

In addition to the funding raised though National Lottery players, these and other outputs have been made possible through additional grants from the Surrey Archaeological Society, Farnham and District Museum Society and Farnham Institute Charity. We are also grateful to local archaeologist Dr Anne Sassin who worked closely on the project and helped in implementing it.

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