Archaeological Solutions

A ‘Rare and Important’ Discovery Leads to Historic Building Upgrade

Last year, Archaeologists from our Bury St Edmunds office conducted a programme of historical building recording at 1-5 Park Street in Old Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

The survey revealed a timber-framed 17th century core with multiple phases of subsequent augmentation and alteration. The most intrinsically interesting elements identified during the survey were two previously unrecorded domestic wall-paintings which were discovered on the upper floor. A small sample area of one of the paintings was exposed to reveal so-called grotesque ornamentation of the later 16th or early 17th century, depicting a classical caryatid with draperies, a winged lion and abstract scrollwork. The wall painting is a rare and important discovery, made more exceptional by its excellent state of preservation.

Following the discovery of the wall-paintings and analysis of the surviving historic fabric, in cooperation with Historic England, the building was upgraded in status from Grade II to Grade II* and featured in Historic England’s ‘National Heritage List in 2020’. The paintings were subsequently covered over after recording and the neglected office building was converted into a residential development with four flats.