Dead found under Pembrokeshire department store may date from Owain Glyndŵr’s war of independence
The dead bodies found under a Pembrokeshire department store may date from Owain Glyndŵr’s war of independence, archaeologists have said.
So far 240medieval remains have been found under the Ocky White department store in Haverfordwest town centre.
Site supervisor Andrew Shobbrook, from Dyfed Archaeological Trust, told the BBC that one theory was that the victims were from the last Welsh war of independence.
“We know that the town was besieged in 1405 by Owain Glyndŵr and they could be victims of that conflict,” he said.
“It’s quite a prestigious place to be buried. You have a range of people, from the wealthy to general townsfolk.”
In 1405 a French force sailed to Pembrokeshire to join up with Owain Glyndŵr’s forces, landing at Milford Haven. Henry IV demanded that the Welsh Marches rise up to resist the oncoming force.
The French attacked Haverfordwest, defeating an army there but did not manage to take the castle itself. They then moved on to Tenby, before plundering and burning Carmarthen alongside Owain Glyndŵr’s own forces.
The demolished department store in Haverfordwest is believed to be the site of St Saviour’s Priory, which was founded by a Dominican order of monks around 1256. But many of the bodies found there have been battle-scarred.
About half of the remains discovered are of children, but this only reflects the high mortality rate for the young at the time. It is thought the graveyard was in use up until the 18th century.
Gaby Lester, an archaeologist working on the site, said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be involved in something so big. The site is showing itself to be a massive part of the history of Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire.
“It can be slightly overwhelming at times but it’s also quite humbling to be part of that person’s journey.”
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