A stunning 13th century tiled floor has been found 2 metres below the current floor level at a medieval Abbey, in what has been described as a 'once-in-a-lifetime' discovery.
The vividly-coloured tiles, which have not been seen in 500 years, display the coats of arms of powerful Norman monarchs and barons.
Experts have always known that before the current Gothic church was built there stood a Norman Cathedral and before that an Anglo-Saxon monastery.
- The three golden lions on a red shield is the coat of arms of the Plantagenet kings.
- The three red chevrons on a gold shield is the coat of arms of the de Clare family.
This was composed of powerful Norman marcher barons who held the earldoms of Gloucester and Hertford as well as land in both Wales and Ireland.
The family line came to an end when Gilbert de Clare, 8 Earl of Gloucester and cousin of Edward II, died at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
They give a unique glimpse at what the interior of the grand Normal cathedral, which once stood on the site, would have looked like.
The 'amazing' discovery was part of vital repair work to the Abbey's collapsing floor.
The tiles will be preserved in situ; covered by a protective membrane and a layer of inert sand before the floor layers are built back up again to their present level.