A largely intact, ‘beautiful’ medieval tiled floor is the latest discovery made by archaeologists investigating the site where The Forum, Gloucester’s new social and digital quarter, is being developed.
Archaeologists believe the floor, which is made of glazed white and green tiles, belonged to the cloister of the city’s medieval Whitefriars Carmelite Friary, which was active in Gloucester from 1268 until 1538.
Anthony Beechey from Cotswold Archaeology, the Cirencester-based firm which is working for Gloucester City Council as part of the £107 million city centre project, said: ‘This beautiful tiled floor is in remarkably good condition.
‘Most of our Whitefriars findings are fragments of the original structure while this floor is largely intact, making the discovery extra special.’
Andrew Armstrong, the council’s lead archaeologist, called the find ‘thrilling.’
‘The friary played an active role in the city for 300 years and yet, until these excavations started, very little was known about it,’ said Armstrong.
The floor, which was found two meters below ground level, adds to the list of friary remains, unearthed by the archaeological team as part of site investigations following the demolition of the former multi-storey carpark on Bruton Way in early 2020.
Wall foundations, loose floor tiles, and a stone coffin containing two human burials have been discovered, providing valuable detail about the structure of the friary.
Whitefriars’ exact location in Gloucester was the subject of speculation for decades until the archaeological investigations began.
Plus, in September 2021, a 1,800-year-old figurine was uncovered by Cotswold Archaeology close to the area of the site currently being excavated.
Standing 17 centimetres high, archaeologists believe the pipeclay figurine is a representation of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Other Roman artefacts have also been found at the site.
The Forum is a city council-led project, being delivered by development experts Reef Group. It’s the largest regeneration project the city has seen for a generation and aims to deliver a new social and digital quarter for Gloucester.
By Andrew Merrell