Mystery remains of long-lost medieval palace found by stunned pensioner building bungalow in his garden

AN OAP was lost for words when he stumbled upon a long-lost medieval palace in his back garden – solving a centuries old mystery.

Retired banker Charles Pole, 81, had been building a bungalow on his land with the hope of moving into it and selling his house when he made the discovery.


But that is all on hold and he says he is facing a 15K bill after a 700-year-old Bishop's Palace was found under his lawn.

The ancient building dates from the 13th Century and was in ruins by the 18th Century and then disappeared.

Historians are said to have been baffled for 200 years as to its whereabouts – and thought it was at another site nearby.

But now it has been found after it was unearthed under Charles' home in in Wiveliscombe., Somerset – in the aptly named Palace Gardens.

Despite the excitement by local historians Charles, 81, said he had mixed feelings about the find.

He said: "I live on my own in a house in Palace Gardens and I'm disabled.

''I was having a bungalow built in the garden for myself and plan to sell the house.

"When the builder saw the remains, he was ordered to stop work. It came as a big surprise.

13TH CENTURY FIND

''It was exciting to hear the site contains something of real significance, but the cost of the investigation is going to cost me around £15,000 and has delayed the bungalow."

A spokesperson for the South West Heritage Trust said substantial wall foundations and floor deposits had been uncovered.

"They are believed to be part of the original foundations of the Bishop's Palace complex," they said.

"The building remains are clearly of medieval date and represent two phases of development on the site."

There are several documentary references to the Bishops of Bath and Wells carrying out major building works in Wiveliscombe.

Bishop Drokensford (1309-29) and Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury (1329-63) both undertook works there.

Pottery from the 12th Century has also been found.

The spokesperson added: "The remains are a significant find and the landowner, archaeologists, builder and architect are working to protect and record the site.

"The development is being monitored by archaeologists from the South West Heritage Trust as part of the planning requirements.

"The archaeological contractor is Mr James Brigers of Prospect Archaeology."

The site will be protected before being covered over, allowing building work on the bungalow to go ahead.

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