Bristol and Avon Archaeological Society

A Medieval house re-discovered: excavations at Longworth Farm, Wellington, Somerset

On Wednesday November 12, 2014
Phil Andrews, Project Manager, Wessex Archaeology

The talk focused on Longforth Farm, Wellington, Somerset which is a  Medieval Farm from the 12-13th Centuries.  30ha were excavated prior to a housing development on the edge of Wellington.  Cotswold Archaeology had carried out an evaluation and the geophysical survey had not showed any anomalies.  However, excavation revealed substantial walls, enclosures and pits.  This was a Medieval manor house that had been extremely robbed out, leaving some footings and robber trenches.

Also discovered was a hall house, with solar and garderobe, plus service and ancillliary buildings and a chapel.  No inkling of this interesting complex was on the ground.  The garderobe was substantial.  We were shown some good reconstruction slides of how this might have looked in the Medieval period.  This building probably had a first floor as there was evidence for a base with steps up to it.  There was no evidence of earlier timber buildings and there are no literary references either to the presence of such a building.

Longforth Farm was a very clean site with few pottery sherds.  All the pottery found is 12-13th Century and includes some crested glazed roof tiles.  There was a large number of encaustic floor tiles from the solar area which are high status, depicting Richard I and Saladin.

This is a highly important site that was an unexpected discovery.  It drew 450 people to the Community Open Day and has been used for school visits.