Medieval art found at Exeter's fire hit Royal Clarence Hotel

PUBLISHED: 17:40 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:46 21 February 2017

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Restoration crews have discovered an ancient peacock drawing on timbers at The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter

The medieval artwork found on boards at The Royal Clarence Hotel site in Exeter.The medieval artwork found on boards at The Royal Clarence Hotel site in Exeter.

Archaeologists working on the site of The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter have discovered a medieval wall decoration of a peacock.

The 18th century hotel was completely gutted by fire on October 31 last year and the medieval artwork was found as rebuilding work continues.

Previously hidden and exposed only as work moved onto the medieval timber frame within the Well House, the peacock matches others examples the hotel group understands have previously been found across Exeter.

More than 120 fire fighters from across Devon worked for several days to stem the blaze which broke out at the iconic Cathedral Yard building, constructed in 1769 as the Assembly Rooms.

The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter was destroyed by fire last year. Photo by D&C Police DronesThe Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter was destroyed by fire last year. Photo by D&C Police Drones

The peacock discovery comes as a team of structural engineers from Thomasons continues to work with archaeologists on the restoration and rebuilding of The Royal Clarence Hotel.

It is estimated another three months are needed to complete the deconstruction of the building, with every effort being made to save as many historical features as possible.

Following this, the rebuild is expected to take another 18 months and aims to restore and rebuild the façade as closely as possible to the original.

Continuing at current rates of progress, Andrew Brownsword Hotels aims to re-open The Royal Clarence in 2019.

Gary Brown, director at structural engineers Thomasons, said: “The Royal Clarence Hotel is a hugely significant and much-loved building. Our engineers and project managers have vast expertise in making safe and restoring important historical buildings.

“In partnership with other experts, we are taking every care to salvage as much of the important historic fabric as possible to allow the hotel to be restored to its former glory.”

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