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Charles Pole’s dreams of building a bungalow in his garden so he could downsize and sell his main house were wrecked when he found a 700-year-old palace under his lawn.
The 81-year-old retired banker has now had to put his plans on hold after the 13th century palace – thought to have once belonged to the bishop of Bath and Wells – was unearthed in his back garden.
As well as Charles’s hopes of downsizing to a cosy cottage being put on hold, the bill for the archaeological investigation and protection could set him back around £15,000.
“When the builder saw the remains, he was ordered to stop work. It came as a big surprise,” Charles told The Times. “It was exciting to hear the site contains something of real significance, but the investigation is going to cost me around £15,000.”
What the builder discovered appears to be part of the original foundations of the bishop’s palace. Pottery and other relics dating back to the 12th Century have also been found on the site.
Until the discovery of the buried foundations on a plot beside a churchyard wall, it had been believed the building, which was erected during the 13th Century and fell into ruins by some time in the 18th, had been in a different place altogether.
A spokesman for the South West Heritage Trust said that the substantial wall and floor foundations represented a “significant find”.
Speaking to the Somerset County gazette the spokesperson added: "They are believed to be part of the original foundations of the Bishop’s Palace complex.
"The building remains are clearly of medieval date and represent two phases of development on the site."
The development is now being monitored by archaeologists from the South West Heritage Trust as part of the planning requirements.
Surprisingly, for such a small country, palaces are getting lost all the time.
In October last year team led by researcher Simon Withers used cutting-edge scanning techniques and ground-penetrating radar to identify a lost palace built by King Henry VIII right in the heart of London
- In the News
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