Something fishy with Walter the hermit at Burtle Priory

The community excavation at Burtle Priory revealed the grave of an adult male, which had been partially cut through by a refuse pit at the Dissoloution of the Monasteries. Radiocarbon dating has shown that he died sometime between 1049 and 1274 AD. He could therefore be Brother Walter the hermit, who was granted the land at Burtle in 1191 AD, or even his unamed predecessor.

As a routine part of the dating process the bones are also examined to determine the marine content in the diet. This showed that Walt’s diet had a 29% (+/-10%) marine content. The Priory is known to have owned fish traps on the nearby River Brue so they may have been catching migratory fish such as salmon or eels. Fish traps of that date are also known from Bridgwater Bay a few miles to the west.

fish traps in a river

fish traps in a river

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