Brian Hope Taylor

Dr Brian Hope-Taylor, 1923-2001, was an artist, archaeologist, broadcaster and university lecturer, who made a significant contribution to the understanding of the Anglo-Saxon period. He is best known for excavating the Anglo-Saxon royal residence site at Yeavering, Northumberland. However, he also excavated a number of important sites in Surrey, where he was born.

After a reputed period in naval intelligence he joined the RAF in 1943 where his artistic talent was put to use as a model-maker for bombing targets identified in aerial photographs. Many professional archaeologists were among the photo-intelligence staff, who encouraged his growing interest in archaeology. This had developed through his discovery of prehistoric field-systems on Farthing Down in Surrey, the survey of which he undertook during periods of leave. These early studies led to numerous excavations in Surrey which included a Norman motte (earthwork castle) at Abinger, published in 1956, Preston Hawe, War Coppice Camp and the Moorhouse Sandpits. 

During this period of his life, Hope-Taylor worked as an artist, the profession ascribed to him when he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1950.