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Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys Archaeological watching brief July 2015

A report for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water By Charlotte Bellamy BA PG Cert

GGAT report no. 2015/056 Project no.P1727 National Grid Reference: SO 04389 50533

CONTRACTORS HEALTH & SAFETY ASSESSMENT SCHEME

Accredited Contractor www.chas.gov.uk

The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd Heathfield House Heathfield Swansea SA1 6EL


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Contents Page Summary ............................................................................................................................. 2 Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................. 2 Copyright notice .................................................................................................................. 2 Abbreviations ...................................................................................................................... 2 1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 3 1.1 Project background and commission............................................................................. 3 1.2 Location, geology and topography ................................................................................ 3 2. Archaeological and historical interests ........................................................................... 5 3. Methodology ...................................................................................................................... 7 4. Results ................................................................................................................................ 8 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................. 9 Bibliography ..................................................................................................................... 10

Figures Figure 1: Location of watching brief (red) ............................................................................................................. 4

Plates Plates 1: Cobbled floor (300) identified within Trench 3 .................................................................................... 11 Plates 2: Cobbled floor (405) within Trench 4 ..................................................................................................... 11 Plates 3: View northwest from Cobble Lane/Ruth Lane towards Trench 4 ..................................................... 12 Plates 4: Trench 1 view to northeast Plates 5: Trench 2 view to northwest ................................................ 13 Plates 6: Trench 5 northwest facing section ......................................................................................................... 13 Plates 7: Trench 6 view southeast ......................................................................................................................... 13 Plates 8: Trench 7 northwest facing section ......................................................................................................... 13 Plates 9: Trench 8 northwest facing section ......................................................................................................... 13 Plates 10: Trench 9 northwest facing section ....................................................................................................... 13

Front cover: Cobbled path within Trench 4


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Summary The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Projects Division (GGAT Projects) were commissioned by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru for the replacement of an existing water main at Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys. Due to the possibility of encountering archaeologically significant remains during the proposed works, an archaeological watching brief was conducted during the groundworks (Figure 1). The watching brief consisted of the excavation of nine trenches centred on NGR SO 04389 50533, two of which revealed a cobbled surface (Trenches 3 and 4, contexts 300 and 405) measuring between 0.36m and 0.6 in depth below ground level. No dating evidence was revealed in the deposits below the cobbled surface however there remains a possibility that the cobbled surface is medieval in date. Builth Wells was rebuilt after the 1691 fire and therefore the ground level may have been raised (the current ground level is flush with the shops entrances lining High Street and Broad Street), resulting in the buried cobbled ground surface. A written and photographic record was made of all archaeological features, structures and finds in accordance with the GGAT Manual of Excavation Recording Techniques and the archaeological work was carried out to the professional standards laid down by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Acknowledgements The project has been managed by Richard Lewis BA MCIfA (Head of Projects); the fieldwork and report was conducted by Charlotte Bellamy BA PG Cert (Project Archaeologist) of GGAT Projects. The illustrations were prepared by Rob Dunning MCIfA (Project Manager). The author is especially grateful to CPAT for providing the HER enquiry reports. Copyright notice The copyright of this report is held by the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd, who have granted an exclusive licence to Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru and their agents enabling them to use and reproduce the material it contains. HER information was kindly provided by CPAT (Copyright CPAT HER Partnership, 2012 (and in part Crown 2012) REF: E5639), and the Map for Figure 1 was kindly provided by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru. Annotations are GGAT copyright. Abbreviations CPAT GGAT: HER: LB: LPA: NGR: NMR: NPRN: RCAHMW:

Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Historic Environment Record (curated by CPAT Curatorial) Listed Building Local Planning Authority National Grid Reference National Monuments Record (curated by RCAHMW) National Primary Record Number (in NMR) Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

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Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

1. Introduction 1.1 Project background and commission The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Projects Division (GGAT Projects) were commissioned by Welsh Water/DĹľr Cymru for the replacement of an existing water main at High Street, Builth Wells, Powys. Due to the possibility of encountering archaeologically significant remains during the proposed works, an archaeological watching brief was conducted during the groundworks (Figure 1). The watching brief took place between the 9th September 2014 and 23rd September 2014, the results of which form the basis of this report. The archaeological work was carried out to the professional standards laid down by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

1.2 Location, geology and topography High Street, Builth Wells, Powys is located at NGR SO 04389 50533, lying at the confluence of the River Wye and the River Irfon, in the Welsh (upper section) of the Wye Valley. Builth Wells is a market town that controls an important ford across the Wye and the crossing point of the main north-south route in Wales. The geology generally comprises Slumped Mudstone and Slumped Siltstone of the Irfon Formation. Sedimentary bedrock formed during the Silurian Period, the local environment previously dominated by deep seas (BGS 2015).

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Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching brief

GRID N

0

Figure 1. Location of watching brief (red) 4

100.00

200.00metres


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

2. Archaeological and historical interests Within Builth Wells (2557, formerly Beullt, Llanveyr, and subsequently Llanfair ym Muallt) there is little evidence of prehistoric activity with the exception of a single Neolithic, polished stone axe-head, which was recovered from Pendre housing estate in the 1950s. While this obviously indicated some form of prehistoric activity in the area, it has no bearing on the present settlement. The town has no evidence of Roman activity (CPAT HER). Builth Wells (2557) does not appear to have an Early-medieval origin, and is probably a wholly medieval foundation. It is not known exactly when the town was founded, but the surrounding area was conquered by the Normans in the mid 1090s, and work on the first castle probably began soon after 1100. The settlement may have developed from this time, although the first reference to Builth Wells (2557) was in 1217 when the Welsh forces seized it from Reginald de Braose. It is believed that the origins of the medieval market town may have originally developed during the construction of Builth Castle (Scheduled Ancient Monument 01603/BR031) on the west bank of the Wye, in the early 12th century (Silvester and Martin 2010). It is thought that there were two main phases of the towns’ medieval development and that the present Market Street which runs to the west of the castle is believed to be the location of the original early medieval road and dwellings (Silvester and Martin 2010). Builth Wells received its charter in 1277, and while this is generally thought to be confirming existing privileges rather than establishing new ones, it may also be reflecting a late 13th century development and growth has a 13th century charter and exhibits many features typical of other small medieval market towns along the Welsh border. As such its character is more English rather than a Welsh settlement (CPAT HER). While Builth Wells shows no signs of having been a planned market town, it may be possible to discern two distinct phases of medieval growth from the present topography. The castle (01603/BR031) occupies the eastern end of a narrow east-west shelf, on the west bank of the Wye. It is approached from the west by Market Street, which is now lined with 19th and 20th century terraced houses, though it is suggested here that this is the line of the original medieval ‘High Street’. Not only is it topographically and strategically well suited for this purpose, but also what is now Bank Square appears to be a good contender for an early market site. The 1842 tithe survey shows that the central part of Market Street, adjoining Bank Square, was formerly much wider than today, and this may be a sign of their medieval origin. Builth Castle (16603/BR031) is a massive earthwork, a motte and bailey castle with later stone rebuilding and additions. The date of its foundation is not known, though it is assumed to have been built around 1100 by Philip de Braose. The choice of siting is strategic (to guard the Wye crossing), and it is possible that it was established on a virgin site where there was no preexisting settlement. Much of the original castle was destroyed by Llwellyn ap Gruffudd in 1260, although damage may already have been inflicted on it during the siege of the town in 1217, and the site may not have been fully refortified until 1276. Between 1277 and 1283 extensive rebuilding was undertaken by Edward I in support of his campaigns in Wales; the work possibly being supervised by his master mason, James of St George. A shell keep, a stone curtain wall with six towers, a defended drawbridge and outer wall were added during this period although the works were never completed, and little is visible of them today. Much of the stone, lead and timberwork were removed, by the Wallcott family, during the mid 16th century to build White House (on the site now occupied by its 18th century successor). However, a regular earthwork platform appears to be thrown up against the east side of the defences and this could be a Civil War gun emplacement, although there is no record of the castle having been defended or besieged at this time. Suggestions that it is the corner of a Roman fort can probably be dismissed. St Mary's church (20160/LB II 7429) is traditionally 5


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

ascribed a Norman build although there is no direct evidence for this. While there would certainly have been a church in Builth during the Norman period its exact site is not known, and the religious needs of the early town might well have been met by the castle chapel (2687) which is recorded as being served by monks from Brecon well into the 13th century. A separate church certainly existed by 1283 when it is recorded as being in dispute with the castle chapel over the numbers of services held at each site, but at this time it appears to have been secondary to Llanddewi’r Cwm for in the Taxatio of 1291 it appeared as Ecclesia de Londewycom and Lanveyr. The oldest part of the present church is the battlemented tower dating from about 1300. This nave and chancel stand, unusually, to the west of the tower as the earlier structure was only demolished once building work was complete, allowing the church to remain in use during the construction period. The church stands in a large subrectangular churchyard (2688) which reveals no signs of an early medieval origin (Martin and Walters 1993). Virtually no medieval or early Post-medieval buildings survived a fire in the 17th century, and although the town was extensively rebuilt in 1691, most of the historic core was replaced in the 19th century, although many of these are listed buildings and are of architectural interest. However, the Old Hall on West Street is credited to the 18th century, the Bell Inn on Bank Square is late 18th century and it is reputed that only 13-15 High Street survive from before the 1691 fire.

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Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

3. Methodology Prior to the watching brief, information was obtained from CPAT to identify local HER, Scheduled Ancient Monument and Listed Building information within a 2km radius of the development area (CPAT HER Ref: E5639). The work monitored by the archaeological watching brief (Figure 1) consisted of the machine excavation of nine trenches (Trenches 1-9) along High Street and Broad Street, Builth Wells, Powys. The pits were excavated to allow access for the water main to be renewed. A mechanical excavator with a 0.5m wide toothed and grading bucket was used for the groundworks. A written and photographic record was made of all archaeological features, structures and finds in accordance with the GGAT Manual of Excavation Recording Techniques. Contexts were recorded using a single continuous numbering system (indicated in bold e.g. 100) and are summarised in Appendix II. A full photographic record was made using a 9 megapixel (minimum) digital camera. The project archive will be deposited with an appropriate receiving organisation, in accordance with the ICON and CIfA Guidelines. This archive will comprise the site archive, research archive, artefacts and ecofacts, subject to the agreement of the site owners. A copy of the archive index will be deposited with the National Monuments Record (RCAHMW) Aberystwyth.

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Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

4. Results A total of nine trenches (Trenches 1-9) were excavated during the course of the groundwork’s on High Street and Broad Street, Builth Wells. The NGR for each trench location has been noted in Table 1 (see below). The general stratigraphic sequence of the development area across the trenches had a basal deposit of dark brown gravelly silt (700) with a minimum depth of 1m below ground level at the northeast end of the development area (Figure 1), and light yellow-brown clay (800) at the southwest end of the development area. Deposit 700 was situated approximately 20m from the River Wye, and is an area prone to flooding which explains the river gravels closer to the river and clays on higher ground to the southwest. Overlying these was a mid brown silty clay (301, 402, 501, 701, 802 and 901), which had a depth of 0.5m, approximately 0.4m to 0.7m below ground level across the development area. This underlay a layer of concrete encountered in all trenches with the exception of Trench 1 (201, 302, 407, 502, 600, 702, 803 and 902). The depth of the concrete (around 0.3m) did not vary or reduce as the ground level ascended to the southwest on High Street, and was located between 0.08m and 0.12m below ground level. The tarmac road surface overlay the entire development area (100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800 and 900). A cobbled surface was identified at a depth of 0.6m in Trench 3 (300) and 0.36m in Trench 4 (405) below ground level. Within Trench 3, the area of cobbled surface exposed during the watching brief was 0.9m in length by 0.5m in width. Within Trench 4 the area of cobbled surface measured 1.6m in length by 0.8m in width and was located 3m north of Cobble Lane. The cobbles in both trenches were aligned northwest – southeast at a right angle to the shops lining High Street and Broad Street. The largest cobble measured 0.24m in length by 0.11m; they were tightly compact and identical to the cobbled path still present on Cobble Lane (Ruth Lane). No other features or finds were identified during the course of the watching brief. Table 1: NGR for Trenches 1 – 9 (Plates1 - 10) Trench no 1

SO 04277 51086

0.9m

2

SO 04268 51079

0.9m

3

SO 04226 51049

0.73m (Cobbles at 0.6m (BGL)

4

SO 04153 51009

1.25m (Cobbles at 0.5m BGL )

5

SO 04269 51095

1.27m

6

SO 04274 51084

0.5m

7

SO 04267 51093

1.5m

8

SO 04204 51037

1.45m

9

SO 04191 51038

1.4m

NGR

Depth reached below ground level (BLG)

8


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Conclusions No finds were discovered to date the cobbled surfaces (300 and 405); however, Cobble Lane (Ruth Lane, Plate 3) retains identical cobbles as those identified within Trenches 3 and 4. The layout of the cobbles (in a northwest – southeast alignment) possibly helped direct rainwater to either side of the roads camber to drain into gullies at the sides of the road (Cobble Lane/Ruth Lane retains its stone drains either side of the cobbled pathway). As the buildings flanking Cobble Lane (Ruth Lane) are 19th century listed buildings (25586, LB II 7435 and 25587, LB II 7436) then it is possible that the cobbles are of the same date. However, as there was no dating evidence identified in the deposits below the cobbles, there remains a possibility that the cobbled surface is medieval. The town of Builth Wells was rebuilt after the 1691 fire and therefore the ground level may have been raised (the current ground level is flush with the shops entrances lining High Street and Broad Street), resulting in the buried cobbled ground surface.

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Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Bibliography CPAT HER partnership, 2012 (and in part Crown, 2012) Ref: E5639 Davies J et al, 2008, The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, Cardiff University of Wales Press Martin C H R and Walters M J, 1993, Brecknock Borough Historic Settlements, CPAT Report no. 60 Silvester R J and Martin C H R, 2010, Historic settlements in the former Brecknock Borough, CPAT report no: 1056 Soil Survey of England and Wales 1:250,000, 1983

Websites British Geological Society accessed 06/07/2015 - http://www.bgs.ac.uk/

10


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Plates

Plates 1: Cobbled floor (300) identified within Trench 3

Plates 2: Cobbled floor (405) within Trench 4

11


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Plates 3: View northwest from Cobble Lane/Ruth Lane towards Trench 4

12


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Plates 4: Trench 1 view to northeast

Plates 5: Trench 2 view to northwest

Plates 6: Trench 5 northwest facing section Plates 7: Trench 6 view southeast

Plates 8: Trench 7 northwest facing section

Plates 9: Trench 8 northwest facing section

Plates 10: Trench 9 northwest facing section

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Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Appendix I – Inventory

Context No 100

Deposit

101

of contexts

Stoney gravel hardcore for tarmac

Depth below ground level (m) 0.08 – 0.9

Modern

Structure

Tarmac

0 - 0.08

Modern

200

Deposit

Mixed yellowy brown silty clay basal deposit

0.5 – 0.9

Modern

201

Structure

Concrete

0.08 – 0.5

Modern

202

Structure

Tarmac

0 - 0.08

Modern

300

Structure

0.6 - 0.73

Post-medieval

301

Deposit

Cobbled floor (0.9m in length by 0.5m in width area excavated) containing large rounded cobbles (largest was 0.25m diameter). Mid brown silty clay

0.44 - 0.6

Post-medieval / Modern

302

Structure

Concrete

0.08 - 0.44

Modern

303

Structure

Tarmac

0 - 0.08

Modern

400

Deposit

Orange clay natural

1.06 – 1.25 nb

Natural

401

Deposit

Greyey blue natural alluvial clay

0.84 – 1.06

Natural

402

Deposit

Mid brown silty clay containing occasional large river cobbles

0.7 – 0.84

Unknown

403

Deposit

Grey slate and clay

0.6 – 0.7

Unknown

404

Deposit

Greyey brown silty clay containing occasional small rounded pebbles

0.5 – 0.6

Unknown

405

Structure

0.36 – 0.5

Post-medieval

406

Deposit

0.3 – 0.36

Unknown

407

Structure

Area of cobbled floor measuring 1.6m in length by 0.9m in width and identified at 0.36m below ground level north of Cobble Lane. Identical to 300. Large cobbles tightly compacted in an approximate northwestsoutheast alignment (at a right angle to the line of shops). Mid brown silty clay containing occasional rounded pebbles Concrete

0.1 – 0.3

Modern

408

Structure

Tarmac

0 – 0.1

Modern

500

Deposit

Dark brown silt with rounded river cobbles

0.84 – 1.27 nb

Unknown

501

Deposit

0.45 – 0.84

Unknown

502

Structure

Mid brown silty clay containing rounded river cobbles Concrete

0.24 – 0.45

Modern

503

Structure

Old tarmac layer

0.12 - 0.24

Modern

504

Structure

Tarmac

0 - 0.12

Modern

600

Structure

Concrete

0.25 – 0.5

Modern

601

Structure

Old tarmac layer

0.12 - 0.25

Modern

602

Structure

Tarmac

0 – 0.12

Modern

700

Deposit

Dark brown gravelly silt

1 – 1.5 nb

Natural

701

Deposit

Mid brown silty clay

0.5 - 1

Unknown

Type

Description

14

Period


Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys: archaeological watching-brief

Context No 702

Concrete

Depth below ground level (m) 0.12 - 0.5

Structure

Modern

703

Structure

Tarmac

0 - 0.12

Modern

800

Deposit

Light yellow/brown clay

1 – 1.45 nb

Natural

801

Deposit

0.64 – 1

Unknown

802

Deposit

0.42 – 0.64

Unknown

803

Structure

Dark brown silty sand containing large river boulders Mid brown silty clay containing occasional river cobbles Concrete

0.12 - 0.42

Modern

804

Structure

Tarmac

0 – 0.12

Modern

900

Deposit

Mid brown silty sand containing shale

1.12 – 1.14 nb

Natural

901

Deposit

Mid brown silty clay

0.4 – 1.12

Unknown

902

Structure

Concrete

0.12 – 0.4

Modern

903

Structure

Tarmac

0 – 0.12

Modern

Type

Description

Nb – Not bottomed

15

Period


Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd (Projects Division) QUALITY CONTROL Report Title: Broad Street and High Street, Builth Wells, Powys archaeological watching brief Report Date: July 2015 Report Number: 2015/056

Report prepared by:

Charlotte Bellamy

Position:

Project Archaeologist

Date:

17/07/2015

Illustrations prepared by:

Rob Dunning

Position:

Project Manager

Date:

17/07/2015 Paul Jones

Illustrations checked and authorised by: Position: Date:

Senior Illustrator

22/07/2015

Report checked by:

Rob Dunning

Position:

Project Manager

Date:

17/07/2015

Report checked and authorised by: Position: Date:

Rob Dunning

Project Manager

22/07/2015

As part of our desire to provide a quality service we would welcome any comments you may wish to make on the content or presentation of this report.

Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd. Heathfield House, Heathfield, Swansea, SA1 6LE Tel. 01792 655208; Fax. 01792 474469 Registered Charity no. 505609 Web: www.ggat.org.uk e-mail: projects@ggat.org.uk

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High Street, Builth Wells Archaeological Watching Brief  

GGAT Projects were commissioned by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru for the replacement of an existing water main at Broad Street and High Street, Buil...

High Street, Builth Wells Archaeological Watching Brief  

GGAT Projects were commissioned by Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru for the replacement of an existing water main at Broad Street and High Street, Buil...

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