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Demolition of Beaumaris social club could provide insights into town’s medieval past

17 Jul 2022 3 minute read
Beaumaris Social Club. Photo via Google

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

The demolition of a former social club in Beaumaris has given archaeologists the chance to assess the town’s “nationally important” medieval  past.

The old Sports And Social Club on Steeple Lane was recently knocked down in a staged programme of work and will be replaced with six one-bedroom apartments.

The plans for the Anglesey County Council housing scheme has also seen a year long traffic diversion put in place.

Vehicles and pedestrians are being redirected from Steeple Lane, around the bottom end of Beaumaris Gaol, along Rosemary Lane.

The social club had closed some years ago after falling into disrepair.

Medieval Town

Located close to three grade ll listed buildings; the Beaumaris Gaol, built in 1829, St Mary and St Nicholas Church and the Iorwerth Rowlands Centre, the site is at the heart of the original medieval town.

Before the demolition, the council had to seek special Conservation Area consent and archaeologists have been involved.

Jenny Emmett, Senior Planning Archaeologist Chair of ALGAO Cymru, said: “We’ve been advising Anglesey Council on this since the feasibility stage back in 2018, there are archaeology conditions on the planning permission.

 “The main archaeological interest is the possible survival of the medieval town wall and town ditch.

“The wall dates from 1413-14 and was demolished in order to build the social club; the town ditch is slightly earlier, 1407, and has been recorded during previous archaeological work at the adjacent Canolfan.

“The wall and ditch are nationally important features, as well as being important for the medieval history of Beaumaris.

“It’s also possible that there may be medieval ‘back yard’ activity associated with the properties on neighbouring streets.

“Several pieces of archaeological work are being undertaken, but the constrained access and condition of the social club buildings limited what could be done before site clearance.

“So far, there has been an archaeological desk-based assessment, a building record of the early 19th century building, and trial trenches.

“The trenches aimed to find the wall, but were inconclusive, because they had to go where there was space, rather than where we might ideally have located them.

“We’re continuing to work with the council and their contractors so that site clearance and any ground works are archaeologically monitored.

“As and when any archaeology is identified, we will be advising on how it can be protected or recorded.”

Beaumaris’ church and Victorian gaol can be seen close to the back of the demolition site

At the nearby Beaumaris Gaol, project manager Nick Baguley said so far the work and diversion had not had a major impact on its visitor numbers.

“It’s just meant visitors have had to walk around the gaol building from the opposite side.

“We have not yet reached our main tourist season, which starts from next week, we will know more then,” he added.

Visitors who purchase dual tickets for the linked attraction, the Beaumaris Courthouse, a short walk away, were also being diverted through the church yard and down Church Street.

Rev Canon Robert Townsend also confirmed that church business was continuing as usual.

The building work is part of Anglesey County Council’s Corporate Plan for 2017 – 2022 to provide housing.

A council website says the completed flats will be available “to rent by people, primarily with a local connection to Beaumaris, but possibly extending to the wider Seiriol Ward.”

Attempts were also made to contact the Iorwerth Rowlands centre.

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