A medieval guard tower has been discovered in a masonic hall in Monmouth. The three-storey tower, complete with arrow slits, was found at Monmouth Masonic Building in Priory Place, Monk Street, during preparatory investigations for repairs. It had been hidden since the 1840s when George Vaughan Maddox, the architect who lived next door, converted these buildings to a masonic hall on the instruction of Lord Llangattock. Ongoing research indicates a cluster of four or five medieval buildings, much altered and joined together through the centuries. A former owner was David Muchet, an ironmaster who is buried in Staunton churchyard. In the 1790s it was a theatre and has also been a wool merchant's premises and again a theatre, which transferred to the Savoy in Church Street. Underneath the building is a once-defended, steeply inclined town access ramp and tunnel down to a medieval quay on the River Monnow. A second wool house in the front car park was converted into four cottages in the 1840s. These were demolished in 1938. At one time there were 12 buildings, a brew house, timber yard and office. Five-hundred and 600-year covenants approximate to 1290 and 1308 murage grants – a toll for the building or repair of town walls – for completion of Monmouth's defences and construction of the Monnow Bridge respectively. Some of the town wall and what is believed to be remnants of the Monk Gate circular flank tower can be seen in the car park. Steve Clarke of Monmouth Archaeology has been assisting with the excavation. Cadw are re-writing listing description and are involved with ongoing interpretation and investigation. Monmouth Masonic Building will be taking part in Open Doors from 2pm to 5pm on 6th and 7th September. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available.
Historic find at Monmouth Masonic Building
Tuesday 12th August 2014 10:00 pm