The “Farringdon Carr” was a swampland which was located on what is now the site of Farringdon Community Academy. Drained in the 1950s, it was also known colloquially as “Lea’s/Lee’s Pond” and from it sprung “Farringdon Burn” a stream of which run through the neighbouring “Foxy Island” and connected to Hendon Burn at Gilley Law. The waterways are visible old Ordnance Survey maps.
What is the significance of the Carr? Archaeological group AAG, represented by Jon Welsh, had conducted research on the area in preparation for site assessments for Sunderland City Council in lieu of several building activities south around Doxford Park Way, including the new school now under construction. Conducting this work, the group also cited Farnton.org’s research in their work, but subsequently published new information in relation to the Carr, of which little publicly available information exists.
First, the assessment teaches us that the Carr is the geographical product of a surface in Farringdon underlined with clay, of which made it difficult for water to drain away. Being at the bottom of the Farringdon hill, it is logical to assume from this that the Carr (as the lowest point in Farringdon) became the natural area of water accumulation and drainage which was able to survive for thousands of years.
From this, the assessment proposed theories of how the geography may have influenced human activity. It identifies that “Carrs” were in fact prominently used in prehistoric times as proved by archaeological evidence, and therefore “there may be prehistoric activity in the area such as hunter-gatherer routeways.” It also notes: “The carr may have been used as a fish pond by Farnton Hall”.
Although the school has been long built over the site, by approximation this identifies “Foxy Island” immediately next to it as an area of archaeological importance. Farnton.org will seek to deepen coordination with AAG archaeology in turn to help investigate the area, with the goal of ensuring that it is not built on in the rush to build housing all over green land in the area.