GUESTS at an archaeology group meeting have learned about evidence of medieval occupation found under a former garage.

At Appleby Archaeology Group’s most recent meeting, members and guests found out about the medieval archaeology that was discovered under the former Roy Ashley garage when it was demolished to build Appleby’s new Co-op.

The speakers were Kevin Mounsey and Sue Thompson.

During the summer of 2019, Wardell Armstrong carried out a series of archaeological investigations on the site of the former Roy Ashley garage on The Sands.

Two out of three evaluation trenches did not reveal any evidence of earlier activity on the site.

However, the final trench revealed evidence of medieval occupation.

To the northwest of the site archaeologists found a substantial wall foundation overlying an earlier kiln or oven.

A spokesman said: “There was a small, cobbled surface being the remains of a flagged area. There may have been beams possibly from a wooden building.

“The base of a medieval oven was found below the wall.

“There may have been a flue, but this didn’t fit with the construction of the oven so may have been a beam slot. These ovens were heated up with faggots and then the bread put in the oven when the faggots were removed.

“It was similar to ovens found in Carlisle in the Northern Lanes.

“In Carlisle, ovens were in wooden buildings with thatched roofs. It is likely that this phase of building was burnt as there was a lot of intense burning.

“This could have been at the time of the fourteenth century Scottish raids.

“In a second phase of development, the oven ceased to be used and a narrow wall was built, overlying the earlier fine cobbled surface. There was a new crude cobbled surface at the west end of wall.

“There were other areas of burning including a sub-circular area of burnt material that was quite shallow so it was not clear what caused it.”

Also discovered was a concentration of small metal detecting finds.

The spokesman said: “There were probably rubbish pits at the back of the properties but these couldn’t be excavated.

“A third post-medieval phase was identified. There was a large shallow pit near the modern street, possibly caused by sand extraction and a line of unworked stone at the eastern edge. This activity was dated by the presence of post-medieval pottery of the sixteenth or seventeenth century.

“The finds confirmed the documentary evidence that Appleby flourished in the early medieval period but declined in the fourteenth century following the Anglo-Scottish Wars.”