Fairford History Society

Exciting finds in Fairford Community Centre - 19th June 2007

Press release from GCC website: All photos copyright GCC Archaeology except the photo of the trench.

Archeological excavations in Fairford have unearthed the remains of buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Gloucestershire County Council Archaeology Service are carrying out investigations prior to the redevelopment of Fairford Community Centre.

A trench Medieval Glass

To date the archaeological works have revealed the remains of two small buildings, believed to date to the 15th/16th century. One, near to the High Street frontage, was only partially exposed and produced evidence of lead working debris.

They also discovered fragments of 14th century window glass, some still within their lead cames, which are believed to have originated from the medieval church. It is thought that lead from the medieval church was being recycled within the building, for re-use perhaps within the new church.

Other finds also include the remains of a small square building near the church, which has yet to be fully excavated. It appears to contain the remains of a small kiln, fragments of ceramic building material and is thought to be a small workshop from the 15th century.

The discoveries mean that redevelopment work on the community centre and old Farmor's Free School has had to be rescheduled to allow archaeologists to continue their investigations.

Margaret Bishop, the project Co-ordinator for the Community Centre said "We always knew the site was of archaeological interest but this is very exciting news for the town. It has meant that planned redevelopment work will have to be rescheduled, but builders will now concentrate on the repairs and alterations to the existing building until the archaeological works are complete and they can start on the new extension. The extra cost is within the sum we allowed for contingencies but we will need further fund-raising to make sure we can finish the job."

15th and 16th Century buildings Well

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, county councillor for Fairford, said: "I'm really excited by the potential of these finds and look forward to discovering even more about Fairford's heritage."

The project, which comprises the restoration of, and extensions to, the old Farmor's Free School, is scheduled to take 50 weeks and will cost in the region of £1.2 million with a completion date of June 2008, which allows for an additional 8 weeks for the archaeological work.

The commissioned architect for the project is Elizabeth Devas of Reg Ellis and Associates and the contractor for the building work is Snape Construction Ltd of Bishops Cleeve near Cheltenham.

The project, which is a joint enterprise by Fairford Town Council and St. Mary's Church, has been supported by a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and other grants and donations, including Gloucestershire Rural Renaissance.