Fishbourne Roman Palace has planted a tree in honour of Margaret Rule who was involved with the early excavations of the site, 57 years ago. Margaret died in April 2015 and staff at the Palace wanted to celebrate all that she contributed during those early years.
Margaret first became interested with Fishbourne in 1960, when a water pipe trench being dug on the eastern side of the village revealed something of archaeological interest. Her involvement with the excavations of the site continued annually until 1968 when Margaret became the Palace’s first Curator. A quarter of a million visitors passed through the doors when the site opened in the summer of 1968, including prestigious individuals such as the Prince Charles, the King of Sweden and the King and Queen of Greece.
Margaret remained Curator until 1979 when she left to become involved in the excavation and recovery of the Mary Rose with which, like Fishbourne, her name will always be associated.
Property Manager, Katrina Burton said, “Here at Fishbourne, we wanted to commemorate Margaret’s contribution to the site. She was instrumental in those early days of discovery of the site to its later development and what we know today. We are very grateful to the Friends’ of Fishbourne Roman Palace in making this acknowledgment possible”.
The Walnut tree, which was kindly donated by the Friends of Fishbourne Roman Palace, is displayed in the Palace’s plants garden with a plaque commemorating her time at Fishbourne from 1960 – 1979. A ceremony was held for the Palace staff, Friends and Trustees of the Sussex Archaeological Society and the ribbon was cut by the Friend’s secretary.