WORKMEN in Ludlow have uncovered what it is believed to be a medieval sewer.

They were trying to sort out a drain blockage when they made the discovery.

“It looks like a mediaeval sewer has been uncovered by Seven Trent working near the Broadgate,” said Tim Gill, Mayor of Ludlow.

“They have been attending to a blockage and uncovered this sewer about 12 feet below ground level.

“It was capped with a large piece of stone a bit like the Roman Aqua pipes that were used to supply water. But this is definitely for sewage.”

Ludlow was one of the most important towns in the country during medieval times, because it was on the border between England and Wales.

The castle was without question the most important building, and is thought to have been built before 1086 by Walter de Lacy. It was to be a defence against the Welsh.

In medieval times Ludlow was a prosperous town, and this is one of the reasons why in St Laurence's it has such an impressive church.

It was for a time the home of Prince Arthur, older brother of Henry VIII, and his wife Catherine of Aragon. Catherine was later to marry her widow’s brother after getting special permission from the Pope in Rome.

King Arthur died in Ludlow Castle, possibly from one of the contagious diseases that were so common at the time and before the days of antibiotics impossible to effectively treat.

Cleanliness and the lack of it were an important factor in poor health and early death in medieval times.

There was often a lack of fresh water, and where it was available it was often contaminated with sewage.

There was a belief that disease was caused by bad smells and if the odour could be made less offensive then people would not be sick.

But in some places there could be quite a sophisticated sewage system, and this may have been the case in Ludlow given its importance.

Many of the sewers were open rather than underground and they carried not only rain water but also human waste and effluent from factories such as those involved in fabrics and leather making.