News in brief: HS2, a submarine, and medieval writers

News round-up featuring updates from HS2 archaeologists' excavations in Stoke Mandeville, the scheduling of a submarine wreck off the coast of Dartmouth, and a medieval database launched by the University of St Andrews.

Update on St Mary’s, Stoke Mandeville

Since we last reported on the site in CA 370, HS2 archaeologists have continued excavating the medieval St Mary’s Church in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire. As the 900-year-old ruins are located right along the proposed route of the high-speed line, the team from L-P:Archaeology – working with contractors Fusion JV – has carefully been removing what is left of the old church and recording it in precise detail.

Along with the church foundations, the large cemetery also has to be relocated. More than 3,000 burials are expected to be excavated from the site over the next six months and, once analysed, they will be reburied nearby with a specially created monument to mark the location.

Submarine wreck protected

The wreck of an early British submarine, known as HMS mD1, located off the coast of Dartmouth has been scheduled by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

The submarine was built at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, by Vickers and launched in 1908. It was a secret prototype of the D-class, the Royal Navy’s first diesel-powered submarine. During the First World War, HMS mD1 was used to protect the coast off Dover, and it then patrolled English territorial waters to monitor German movements. In October 1918, it was decommissioned and deliberately sunk so that it could be used for Royal Navy training exercises.

New database for medieval writers launched

A new archive of works from medieval English authors has been created by an interdisciplinary group of medieval scholars and computer scientists from the University of St Andrews. This comes as a welcome achievement for medievalists, as the previous database, known as the Fontes Anglo-Saxonici, which was begun in 1984 and was based at the University of Oxford, unexpectedly had to be taken down in 2018 when software updates meant it could no longer be securely hosted.

The results of the project highlight just how internationally connected medieval English writers could be. Dr Christine Rauer, who helped lead the initiative, said: ‘Humanity has always been outward-looking and interested in innovating in response to outside influences. So it seems particularly apt that it is thanks to the most up-to-date technology that we have been able to resurrect this invaluable repository of medieval literature for posterity.’