A Medieval dwelling dating back to the 1400s has been discovered under a derelict toilet block in Cardiff. An excavation of the site in Llandaff in September revealed the building, which expert archaeologists believe was home to someone important.
“It is quite a high-status building, it includes a Bath Stone fire surround which was imported from the Bath area and it is not really known as a stone in Llandaff,” said Dr Tim Young, the archaeologist leading the dig.
The ground floor of the house remains fully intact, and it is believed the first floor was demolished in the 17th century when the land was then used for an animal pound.
Among the finds were animal bones, pots, and a counting token called a Jetton, which is believed to have been struck in Paris in the 1300s.
There are a number of theories behind who may have lived in the dwelling next to the 13th Century Old Bishop’s Castle, one includes a housekeeper for the nearby Manor of Llandaff or an official of the Llandaff Cathedral
“The site is known as the pound as it was the animal pound for Llandaff and we have evidence of that dating back to about 1607.
“It had always been assumed that the area was also the pound before that so the discovery of a medieval dwelling on the site was quite unexpected,” said Dr Young, who is a teaching associate at Cardiff University.
Finds from the dig will now be sent to experts at Cardiff University and other national museums in order to learn more about the site.
“It won’t be for another six months or even a year until we could come to any sort of conclusion,” said Dr Young.
Dr Young added they were very surprised by the find as there was no evidence from any of the surviving maps from that time to suggest there had been a building there.
The dig was part of a community project set up by Llandaff 50+ as part of a transfer of community assets by the council to the club, who intend to turn the disused toilets into a new community venue.
The club was granted funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Cardiff YMCA Trust to run the community project and refurbish the toilets.
More than 250 children from nearby schools helped with the dig which ran from September 16 to 27.
A local storyteller was able to bring history alive for the children, which helped make the community dig a real success, said Yvonne Apsitis, chairwoman of the Llandaff 50+ club.
“We have never really done much with children in the community before so this seemed the perfect opportunity.
“We had people as old as 80 work at the dig. It was a really enjoyable experience,” said the 79-year-old.
The site will now be filled back in as work continues on restoring the area.