Local archaeology group reveals possible link to one of history's most famous monasteries

By Chew Valley Gazette in Community News

Volunteer archaeologists working in Chewton Mendip believe they have found evidence of a building erected by William the Conquerer’s favoured monastic order the Abbey of Jumièges.

The archaeological excavations which have been taking place over the past six years at Chewton Mendip will be the subject of an illustrated talk by Pip Osborne, on Sunday 12th March at 2.30pm in Chewton Village Hall.

The archaeologists, all volunteers, have been investigating what they believe to be the foundations of a large Norman building erected by the Abbey of Jumièges soon after the Norman Conquest. The Abbey a Benedictine Monastery from Normandy, France received great favour and patronage during the Norman era, a new church at the Normandy site was consecrated in the presence of the newly crowned King of England, William the Conquerer in 1067.

The abbey and its monastic community would go on to become one of the great centres of medieval learning and was regarded as a model for all monasteries. If the Chewton Mendip site does contain the foundations of the Abbey’s expansion into England the local discovery has great historical significance.

“The preserved archaeology is spectacular and our findings stunning” said archaeologist Pip Osborne. “I will tell the story using the many photos taken during the excavations.”

Pip founded the Community Archaeology on the Mendip Plateau in 2009, after completing an undergraduate degree in Archaeology, with the aim of helping people living on Mendip to investigate their archaeological surrounding.

Whilst the precise location of the dig can not be revealed to protect the privacy of the landowners, the six years of excavation and their subsequent findings has attracted widespread attention for the group.

Most recently the group secured funding for a portable exhibition about their work and this will be launched at Wells Museum in April.

But first Pip Osborne will be delivering her illustrated talk on Sunday 12th March, entry on the door of Chewton Village Hall is £5 for adults, to include refreshments, the proceeds helping to fund the dig costs.

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