Buying an empty field for an experiment comes across an extravagant use of money – however for this history buff, it turned out to be a smart decision.
Stuart Wilson spent his entire life savings on buying a 4.6-acre plot after becoming convinced that the ruins of a medieval Welsh town lay buried underneath. Wilson had been working on another field nearby when the land came up for auction.
Following his instinct, the 37-year-old put the highest bid at £32,000 fifteen years ago. He moved in with his parents to finance the initiative while turning down jobs to focus on the project.
“I should have really bought a house and got out from my parents’, but I thought: ‘To hell with my parents, I will stay at home and I shall buy a field instead,” he said. “People said ‘you must be mad’.” Wilson’s gamble paid off as his team has managed to discover a 400 square metre moated mansion and some rare artifacts – including a flower pot.
A pot found at the site CREDIT: WALES NEWS SERVICE
“Of all the decisions I have made, I would say buying the field was one of the good ones,” he said. “I have to say that even with all the problems that I have had or that may occur, it was definitely the right thing to do.”
The former tollbooth worker claimed the medieval town had a population of around 10, 000 people considering “it’s a vast area”. “This population grew from nothing to that size within 25 years. Now it took 250 years for London to get to 40,000 people, so we’re talking a massive expansion.”
He said the area belonged to Norman lords of the De Clare family who used it to mass produce iron. “If you’re working in the fields you are living hand to mouth every single day – it’s a really hard existence. Suddenly, a big industrial town comes here, this is a great opportunity for you,” Wilson added.
Wilson’s excavation project has been featured on BBC4’s Digging for Britain series. The project has cost him around £200,000 since 2004. He now wants to turn it into education centre.
“As we take more on, there’s a greater need to expand our campsite and while there are several campsites within walking distance, it would be better to have something here,” Wilson said.
Courtesy: The Telegraph