A previously undocumented and unknown high status complex of buildings dating from the medieval period has been unearthed at Longforth Farm, Wellington, Somerset, on the site of a new housing development currently being constructed by Bloor Homes.
The site is being excavated by leading specialist heritage company, Wessex Archaeology who have been working on this part of the site since the end of May and will be spending a further three to four weeks on site before building commences.
Excavations on the site so far have uncovered the remains of stone foundations in a pattern which suggests that there may have been a series of buildings on the site set around courtyards. The mystery lies in exactly what the buildings were used for. Finds on the site include roof slates, glazed ceramic roof tiles and decorated floor tiles suggesting that these were substantial buildings of high status – perhaps part of a religious or manorial site.
Bob Davis, Senior Buildings Archaeologist for Wessex Archaeology said:
“This is a significant find and therefore very exciting, particularly as there are no documentary records that such a site ever existed here. Preliminary dating of pottery sherds found at Longforth Farm suggest that the buildings were occupied between the 12th and 14th centuries. At some stage however, the buildings were abandoned, the useable building materials were robbed out and recycled and the site was forgotten.”
Paul Talbot, Design and Technical Director for Bloor Homes who are funding the excavation said:
“We are delighted to have been able to fund this excavation which has enabled Wessex Archaeology to examine and record this exciting find and to help the community understand more about Wellington’s hidden heritage. As a responsible developer, we have embraced the requirement for ecological and archaeological mitigation whilst addressing the housing needs of a continually expanding community.”
Excavations will continue until the end of July when building will commence on the site. Further details about the finds and the history of the site will be published by Wessex Archaeology once the finds have been examined and further research work has been done.
Somerset County Council has also provided advice and support during the excavations and assistance in advance of visits by local schools, archaeological and historical societies and in preparation for a community day on 13 July when the site will be open to the general public.