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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Ancient hostelry found under pub
18th Century engraving depicting the ruins at Byland Abbey
Engravings from the 18th Century show the ruins at Byland
Archaeologists have unearthed a medieval hostelry beneath a gastro-pub on the edge of the North York Moors.

The ancient stone walls at Byland Abbey near Coxwold were uncovered during work to install water and electricity to the Abbey's museum, opposite the Abbey Inn.

The remains include roof tiles, pottery and stonework and are believed to be part of a monastic guesthouse.

English Heritage, which owns the pub, said the findings were an exciting link between the past and present.

Under the rule of St Benedict, monasteries were expected to provide food and lodgings with a guesthouse for distinguished visitors.

King Edward II was among the guests who enjoyed Byland's hospitality, which was said to be the best in northern England, but little is known of the building's history after 1538.

Ancient setting

English Heritage spokesman John Lax said 18th Century engravings had always shown ruins in the area.

"We thought these might belong to the vanished guesthouse, but now we have physical evidence that seems to prove the point," he said.

"The new discoveries are providing an exciting link between the past and present."

The Abbey Inn was built as a farmhouse on the site in 1845 but later became a hostelry.

English Heritage acquired the pub in 2005 with the aim of protecting the ancient setting and using its profits to maintain historic monuments.

Mr Lax said: "The Abbey Inn couldn't have been built in a more appropriate place. Today's guests are clearly not the first ones to enjoy the view over the monument."

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