NEW historical finds from an archaeological dig site at Cannington are believed to go as far back as the 10th century.
Villagers living near Cannington Court, which is currently being restored by EDF Energy in partnership with Bridgwater College, were given an exclusive glimpse at the site last week.
During construction work for the new Brassage building, the post-medieval main approach to Cannington Court, dated to around the 18th to 19th centuries, was revealed.
Pottery from the 10th to 12th centuries and a large fragment of a mill stone were also discovered, alongside earlier medieval buildings, water culverts and floor surfaces - the earliest of which dates to the 11th century.
Laura Joyner, of Wessex Archaeology, told the Mercury: “The most interesting thing we’ve found is a pottery fragment which dates between the 10th and 12th century. It was found under an ancient wall.
“A nunnery was situated on the site and it was self-sufficient, contained within the walls. Ladies from the gentry would have come here on holidays or to retire, so the people would have been wealthy.
“What’s interesting is there are a lot of scandals hidden in the archives relating to the nunnery, such as accounts of nuns becoming pregnant.”
The finds will now be cleaned, examined, labelled and shipped off to the county repository, most likely Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton.
Colin Allen, chairman of Cannington Parish Council, said: “Once we told people there was going to be an exhibition at the dig site, there was a lot of interest from residents.
“There’s a lot of history in Cannington and we share that interest as a community. It would be nice to have some if the pieces returned to be displayed here.”
It is hoped EDF will display some at the site, which it will lease from Bridgwater College, turning Cannington Court into EDF Energy’s UK company-wide training facility.
Marc Coltelli, head of campus project for EDF Energy, said: “EDF Energy is very excited about this important find at Cannington Court.
“As part of our sustainability ambitions we are keen to preserve the heritage of this wonderful building as we create a state of the art training centre for all our employees in the UK.”
Conservation work using stone masonry, carpentry, joinery, roofing, leadwork, glazing and lime rendering, has already been carried out, with the new training centre due to be fully operational in 2014.