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Public excavation digs up Marlow's heritage

A public excavation at an old Marlow house gave passers-by the chance to see the town’s heritage over the weekend.

Members of the Marlow Archaeological Society dug up part of the remains of the Rookery, in Rookery Park, which was demolished in the Sixties.

The old Victorian villa, a large house with multiple bedrooms, was partially excavated by the society earlier this decade.

But now they hoped to bring Marlow’s history to the forefront of people’s minds with a public excavation.

Its members opened a trench to look at the villa’s cellar entrance and its chalk block walls.

The society’s chairman, Peter Borrows, said archaeology is not designed to ‘indulge your own interests’.

“Heritage is part of your cultural identity.

“(Without it) you become uncertain with who you are and what your place in the world is.”

He said the public took an interest and one young girl was so fascinated by the dig she visited on both the Saturday and the Sunday.

The Rookery, which was built in 1850, was constructed around an 18th century farmhouse.

It was extended in 1919 and ultimately demolished in 1964 to make way for the park, off Trinity Road.

When it was destroyed, the walls were collapsed inwards, making it harder to get a good understanding of the building.

There may have been a 13th century chapel associated with the medieval religious order the Knights Templar and the chalk block walls date to about 1670.

The society believes the walls are the ‘oldest known structure on this enigmatic site’.

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