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Canterbury: Medieval wood discovery at the Maiden's Head pub in Wincheap

By Joe Wright

Medieval timbers dating back to the 15th century have been uncovered above a pub in Canterbury.

Found in the Maiden’s Head in Wincheap, the 600-year-old wooden beams are still standing strong as they support the pub, which is undergoing major refurbishment.

Landlord Jeremy Stirling, who is overseeing work to convert upper floors into bed and breakfast rooms, says the discovery reveals a remarkable part of Canterbury’s heritage.

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Pub landlord Jeremy Stirling
Pub landlord Jeremy Stirling

“The uncovered wooden beams are astonishing - it’s amazing to see their great, intricate design,” he said.

“When I took it over, I knew there was a rich history to the place as it was built in 1446 but this medieval wood has never been seen before.

“It was only when we started ripping the roof out that we found them.”

Thought to be the oldest pub in Canterbury, landlord Mr Stirling is making the most of studying the exposed beams.

The 57-year-old added: “It’s an important part of history and this building is one of the oldest in the city.

“To think that the wood is hundreds of years of old is quite amazing.

“Compared to the things they make nowadays, the hand-carved architecture is incredible and the oak wood is still very strong. It’s brilliant to have them up here.

“It was once a coach house for the entrance to Canterbury so it’ll be nice to have people stay here again - we’re going forwards and backwards in time really.”

Mr Stirling, who took over the pub 15 months ago, is hoping to have the refurbishments finished by August.

Once completed, the pub, which sits on the busy main road in and out of the city, opposite Kwik Fit and on the junction with Simmonds Road, will be kitted out with five rooms for guests. Parts of the medieval beams, which are all structurally safe, will be covered up due to fire regulations.

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