Rory McGrath's Pub Dig

Series 1 - Episode 2: Alfriston

Rory and Paul

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The team are in Alfriston, East Sussex, hunting for vintage contraband. Today Alfriston is a picture postcard pretty village, but it was once the centre of the infamous Sussex badlands. Our pair’s journey back in time takes in some unexpected finds along the way, among them butcher’s bones, ossified poo and artefacts dating from before Stonehenge.

As they dig down below the 20th-century concrete in the beer garden, the team begin to turn up piece after piece of Victorian junk, revealing the life of the 19th-century inhabitants. There are farmed oyster shells, simple pottery and sawn bone – evidence of butchery, the day job of a famous local smuggler, Stanton Collins. However, there is no smuggler’s loot. So they turn to examining the building itself. Tales of custom-built escape routes for smugglers to evade customs officers abound, so the team scour the architecture for evidence.

In the beer garden, the team make a discovery under the cobbles. Is the tales of smugglers’ tunnels are true? Perhaps they have found an entrance...