Medieval 'manor house' unearthed at Longforth Farm development in Wellington

Bob Davis, senior buildings archaeologist for Wessex Archaeology, shows members of the press around the site on Monday (July 8).

Field archaeologist Alan Whitaker.

A train passes the medieval site on Longforth Farm. The site will later be turned into a pond.

First published in News
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This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

AN ancient medieval site believed to be up to 900 years old has been unearthed in Wellington.

Archaeologists stumbled across the remains of what is thought to be an old manor house while working on the housing development at Longforth Farm.

They think the building was occupied between the 12th and 14th centuries and experts are working to dig out the full story after finding no recordings of it ever existing in the history books.

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.

“At some stage the buildings were abandoned, the useable building materials were robbed out and recycled and the site was forgotten.

“These are early days but the end of the story would be who built it and who lived there. These types of finds get our juices flowing.”

Developers Bloor Homes are currently working to build 500 houses on Longforth Farm, with the first houses expected to spring up by January.

They funded the excavation, believed to have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, and archaeologists will remain on site for another three weeks.

So far excavations 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.

Finds include roof slates, glazed ceramic roof tiles and decorated floor tiles, suggesting they were substantial buildings of high status, perhaps part of a religious or manorial site.

Bosses at Bloor say the excavation will not delay their work and the site will not be built on but will be turned into a pond.

The artefacts will be sent to the Museum of Somerset.

Paul Talbot, design and technical director for Bloor Homes, 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 help the community understand more about Wellington’s hidden heritage.

“I could not believe the extent as it started to unfold. The artefacts are truly amazing.”

Steven Membery, of Somerset County Council, added: “A site like this does not come around very often in a place like Somerset. The last time we had anything of this scale was probably 30 to 40 years ago.”

Members of the public are invited to take a tour of the site this Saturday (July 13) from 10am to 4pm.

Entry is free and all ages are welcome.

Call Laura Joyner on 01722-326867 for more information.

Comments (2)

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8:31pm Mon 8 Jul 13

Dr Dave says...

The developers are "delighted to fund the excavation?" I bet they're over the friggin' moon......NOT!!
The developers are "delighted to fund the excavation?" I bet they're over the friggin' moon......NOT!! Dr Dave
  • Score: 0

10:03am Tue 9 Jul 13

topcataj says...

Hehe, indeed, statutorily obliged to fund it, I believe :)
Same sort of thing happened with the park and ride at junction 25, they found unexpected archaeology.

Sounds like it could be pretty impressive if Steve Membery is saying nothing of this scale has been found for 30-40 years considering the park and ride site found something like the second largest roundhouse in the country. Quite a significant find itself!
Hehe, indeed, statutorily obliged to fund it, I believe :) Same sort of thing happened with the park and ride at junction 25, they found unexpected archaeology. Sounds like it could be pretty impressive if Steve Membery is saying nothing of this scale has been found for 30-40 years considering the park and ride site found something like the second largest roundhouse in the country. Quite a significant find itself! topcataj
  • Score: 0

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