Man finds ancient medieval city on border of England and Wales

Stuart Wilson bought the land on a hunch that it contained the ruins of Trellech 

Caroline Mortimer
Wednesday 04 January 2017 13:25 GMT
Man finds ancient medieval city on border of England and Wales

An archaeologist has discovered a lost medieval city on the border between England and Wales.

Stuart Wilson was working in a toll bridge booth when he decided to buy the land 13 years ago on a hunch that it could be the lost city of Trellech. The archaeology graduate paid £32,000 for the plot.

He had become interested in the land after a farmer contacted the Monmouth Archaeological Society in 2002 and showed them pieces pottery which had been dug up by moles on the property.

When Mr Wilson went to take a look, he found what he believed was the remains of a wall and thought there could be more to it.

So when the land came up for sale two years later, he decided to take a chance and buy it.

He later quit his job to focus on the dig and has been joined by an estimated 1,000 people over the years.

Together with his team of volunteers, he spent the intervening years painstakingly unearthing the remains of the city near the modern day village of Trellech in Monmouthshire, Wales.

After years of being dismissed by the archaeological community, the hard work has now paid off and the 37-year-old’s find is now being recognised.

He was recently invited to speak by the Cardiff Archaeological Society and is due to apply for planning permission to build a visitor centre and a camping ground on the site.

The team will also, weather permitting, continue to excavate the site and will focus on what Mr Wilson believes is the remains of a moated manor house.

“People thought I was mad and really I should have bought a house rather than a field," he told the The Guardian. “But it turned out to be the best decision of my life. I don’t regret it at all.

“Much more experienced people were saying the city wasn’t there but I was young and confident.

“If I was right the high street was right there in that field. It was a wonderful opportunity.”

He said they had found at least eight buildings so far including the manor house which is thought to have had two halls and a courtyard.

Mr Wilson believes the town was founded by the De Clare family in the 13th century to make arms.

It attracted people from the surrounding countryside but it did not last as a regional centre after it was attacked by the family’s enemies and was later targeted by Welsh rebel Owain Glyndŵr.

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