The history of Trellech is a fascinating example of ancient history. Trellech today, is a small village in Monmouthshire in Wales, but contains a vast amount of archaeological and historical significance.
The name Trellech is probably derived from Tré-lech, the town of three stones, or Tairllech, the three stones. This is in reference to three stones, known as Harold’s Stones, which date to the Bronze Age, that still remain erect in a local field. Named after Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England before the Norman Conquest, they were supposed to have been erected to commemorate a victory over the Celts (Hilton Price, p.2). They are also believed to hold some significance in Druidic religious ceremonies, particularly at the Winter Solstice.
The first stone measures 14 feet 2 inches high by 4 feet broad at the base; this one is four-sided and tapers upward; the second measures 10 feet 4 inches high by 2 feet 9 inches broad at base; the third, 8 feet 10 inches high by 2 feet 10 inches and is roughly rounded at the base (Hilton Price, p.2).
Archaeologists have also uncovered evidence to support the theory that Trellech was a major medieval town. So far, excavations have unearthed a medieval building “additional buildings attached north and south and with a courtyard to the rear. The main building extends upwards of 225 square metres with the additional buildings adding another 105 square meters, each, and a courtyard that may extend over at least a couple of hundred meters” (The Official Site of the Lost City of Trellech Project).
It is this period that archaeologists are most interested in. It is clear from the archaeological evidence that these buildings were of great significance to their time periods. It indicates that the main building had gone out of use in the post-medieval period, but was re-used in the mid-1600’s once the extensions were added. Due to the large amounts of charcoal found in the extension, it is highly probable that it was destroyed by fire. It is after this time that the town appears to have declined and vanished before re-settlement at a later date.
Archaeological evidence has also uncovered the foundations of small terraced bungalows, and it should be noted that it is still a matter of debate whether the main building was formed because of them (The Official Site of the Lost City of Trellech Project).
Since many medieval towns disappeared during the medieval time-period, Trellech is of great significance to archaeologists and historians as it can offer us an insight to the history of the Welsh and British people.
Hilton Price, F.G. (1880) Trellech, The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.
Wilson, Stuart (2009) The Official Site of the Lost City of Trellech Project , http://www.lostcityoftrellech.co.uk/excavation_project/