The Lost Town of Trellech

Related Articles

Related Articles

Trellech is a small rural village in south-east Wales, but during the 13th century, it was one of the largest medieval towns in the entire country.

Historians believe that the town was established as a Marcher Lord settlement (Marcher settlements refer to 46 new towns that were planted during the marshal partition in Wales) by the De Clare family, an Anglo-Norman noble house to exploit the local natural resources and support the crowns military campaigns in Wales.

By AD 1288, the town had 378 burgage plots (a rental property that normally consisted of a house with a long narrow plot of land) which surpassed the contemporary size of other major Welsh population centres such as Chepstow and Cardiff. During the town’s height, Trellech was granted borough status which enabled it to host weekly markets, fairs, and trials for the local hundred at a monthly court.

 

Trellech’s prosperity began to decline when a fire broke out because of Welsh attacks in AD 1296, destroying almost one-third of the burgage plots. The town was further ravaged by the Black Death in AD 1369 and the instability on the Welsh border (caused by conflicts between rival Welsh princes and the English throne) led to further destruction in a rebellion in AD 1400 by Owain Glyndŵr, lord of Glyndyfrdwy.

“Trump Turret” – Remains of the Motte and Bailey Castle – Image Credit : Andy Walker

Trellech would become relatively abandoned, but archaeological evidence suggests that the remnants of the town continued to be “sparsely” occupied into the Tudor period, with only the raised mound from the former motte and bailey castle (referred to as ‘Tump Terret’), the church of St Nicholas and a well surviving to present day.

Excavations by archaeologists first started in 1987, and by the 1990s had revealed several major iron production centres confirming Trellech’s industrial past. Archaeologists also discovered three parallel roads, suggesting that Trellech developed as a three-street grid system that correlates to other towns planted by the De Clare’s in Wales.

Ongoing excavations have been conducted by the Lost City of Trellech Project, after Stuart Wilson privately bought a field on a hunch, which turned out to be the main part of the medieval town. Wilson also appeared in a radio interview entitled ‘The Boy Who Brought a Field’ and has since founded an archaeological field school to continue excavating the site.

Header Image Credit : Andy Walker

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Château Gaillard – Richard the Lionheart’s Castle

Construction of the castle began in 1196 by King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart - who ruled as King of England and held the Dukedom of Normandy, as well as several other territories.

Geoscientists Discovers Causes of Sudden Volcanic Eruptions

Tiny crystals, ten thousand times thinner than a human hair, can cause explosive volcanic eruptions.

Specimens From Ice Age Provide Clues to Origin of Pack-Hunting in Modern Wolves

Wolves today live and hunt in packs, which helps them take down large prey. But when did this group behavior evolve?

Remnants Ancient Asteroid Shed New Light on the Early Solar System

Researchers have shaken up a once accepted timeline for cataclysmic events in the early solar system.

Chromium Steel Was First Made in Ancient Persia

Chromium steel - similar to what we know today as tool steel - was first made in Persia, nearly a millennium earlier than experts previously thought, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.

Artaxata – “The Armenian Carthage”

Artaxata, meaning "joy of Arta" was an ancient city and capital of the Kingdom of Armenia in the Ararat Province of Armenia.

New Funerary & Ritual Behaviors of the Neolithic Iberian Populations Discovered

Experts from the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology of the University of Seville have just published a study in the prestigious journal PLOS ONE on an important archaeological find in the Cueva de la Dehesilla (Cádiz).

The Great Wall of Gorgan

The Great Wall of Gorgan, also called the "The Red Snake" or “Alexander's Barrier” is the second-longest defensive wall (after the Great Wall of China), which ran for 121 miles from a narrowing between the Caspian Sea north of Gonbade Kavous (ancient Gorgan, or Jorjan in Arabic) and the Pishkamar mountains of north-eastern Iran.

Popular stories

The Secret Hellfire Club and the Hellfire Caves

The Hellfire Club was an exclusive membership-based organisation for high-society rakes, that was first founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, and several of society's elites.

Port Royal – The Sodom of the New World

Port Royal, originally named Cagway was an English harbour town and base of operations for buccaneers and privateers (pirates) until the great earthquake of 1692.

Matthew Hopkins – The Real Witch-Hunter

Matthew Hopkins was an infamous witch-hunter during the 17th century, who published “The Discovery of Witches” in 1647, and whose witch-hunting methods were applied during the notorious Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts.

Did Corn Fuel Cahokia’s Rise?

A new study suggests that corn was the staple subsistence crop that allowed the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia to rise to prominence and flourish for nearly 300 years.