School wants to play sport on archaeological site owned by church in Ewell

A recent dig at Church Meadow in Ewell

A recent dig at Church Meadow in Ewell

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Schoolchildren could soon start playing sport on a historic site where Roman artefacts have been unearthed.

Ewell Castle School, together with St Mary’s Parish Church, wants to turn Church Meadow, in Ewell, into a training pitch before September 2015.

Last month a suspected Roman ritual pit, containing horse bones, was discovered in a final archaeological dig at the site where an important Roman road, Stane Street, once existed.

This Is Local London:

Ewell Castle School students play sport in Ewell

The school said it plans to lease the land from the church and to work with archaeologists and volunteers during the development.

Its statement said: "They will be able to use metal detectors and magnetometry during the development of the field to get results that would otherwise have been impossible.

"No building is envisaged, and so it is left possible for future generations to continue to excavate, if and when a further change of use of the field takes place."

Eventually the meadow is expected to become a graveyard.

However, the current churchyard will not fill up for 10 to 15 years and a corner of the meadow will be set aside to provide space for another 10 to 15 years.

Principal Peter Harris said: "There is a known need for playing fields in the area and as the space is local to Ewell Castle School, it will cut down on journey time for pupils travelling from the school to off-site sports pitches and reduce traffic."

The vicar, Reverend Russell Dewhurst, said: "The rental income will assist in the maintenance of the churchyard, as well as supporting the local community, as it is a resource that would otherwise be wasted."

The school is consulting with local residents and will submit plans in due course with the aim of using the land as a playing field from September 2015.

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