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Mysterious Medieval Mansion Turns Up After 900 Years

Mysterious Medieval Mansion Turns Up After 900 Years

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British archaeologists have found what appears to be a medieval mansion and surrounding buildings dating back to the 12 th – 14 th century, of which there are no historical records that such a site ever existed. It seems that the 900-year-old medieval manor mysteriously vanished and was lost to history until being was found on a modern construction site in Longforth Farm in Somerset, a small agricultural county in southwest England.

"This sort of thing turning up -- a large medieval building of such high status without any surviving historical records -- it's exceptionally mysterious and strange," senior historic environment officer for the Somerset Country Council Steve Membery said.

Whoever used the buildings left no trace or record of their existence and appear to have simply vanished.  "It looks as if it's a previously unrecorded, undocumented, high-status, ecclesiastical manor house," said Bob Davis, Wessex Archaeology’s senior buildings archaeologist. "Such things are as rare as hen's teeth."

Archaeologists are now closely examining the features of the site to try to gather clues about it. The ancient site has been stripped of its materials except for the foundation and a few leftover artefacts. Not even the doors, windows or stones which would have been used for the rest of the building remain.

However, they did recover two glazed ceramic roof tiles and some carefully decorated floor tiles, which may provide a few pieces of the puzzle. One of the tiles includes a shield motif, which possibly relates to the family name of St. Barbe, a medieval aristocratic British family. The second tile, similar to one found at Glastonbury Abbey, is a depiction of a helmeted King Richard I (1189-1199) on horseback, charging his enemy.

The decorated tiles suggest the buildings were of high status and the owners were wealthy and powerful. However, what exactly happened to the occupants and the building all those centuries ago remains a mystery.

By April Holloway

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