RELICS dating back to the 12th century have been unearthed on the site of a new housing development.

The medieval discoveries were made at Abbey Farm in Eynsham, where a historic abbey once stood.

Farm buildings are being converted into eight new homes and workers said it had been an exciting discovery.

Mike Sheppard, project surveyor at Savills Oxford, which is selling the houses, said: “Because of the history of the site, we always thought it was likely we would stumble on something so we’ve had an archaeologist on site the whole time. But the discovery was a very good one.”

Eynsham Abbey, where the work is being carried out, was one of the last abbeys founded by the Saxon king, Aethelred.

Monks living in the abbey followed the Benedictine rule, which emphasised obedience, silence and humility. The buildings themselves disappeared after the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the 16th century.

The latest find shows that buildings may have been more extensive than previously thought.

Gwilym Williams, senior project officer at John Moore Heritage Services which carried out the work, said: “The quality of the remains was a real surprise.

“There is very little damage to what is there.”

Archaeologists discovered a well-made road, along with a number of ditches which are believed to have been property boundaries.

Pieces of pottery were also discovered, which early indications show date from the late 11th century to the early 13th century.

Mr Williams said: “These have all been very interesting finds. I think they help give us a better understanding about the abbey and the people who lived here.”