Medieval pavement in Somerset goes on public display
A medieval pavement in Somerset has gone on display to the public after a protective shelter was built for it.
The timber structure replaces a temporary marquee which housed the 13th Century tiled pavement at Cleeve Abbey.
English Heritage said it created "a stable environment" to reduce future deterioration of the tiles.
Described as the "best example of medieval tiles in Europe", the pavement was discovered at the former Cistercian monastery at Washford in 1876.
After it was found, studies showed that exposure to the elements was damaging the tiles, with loss of protective glazing and wear to the intricate patterns in the clay.
The new timber shelter comes complete with seating and a viewing platform, with timber louvres controlling ventilation through the interior.
Roof lights allow natural daylight, whilst ensuring that no direct sunlight falls onto the sensitive tiled pavement.
English Heritage curator Jeremy Ashbee described Cleeve Abbey as "one of our national treasures", and called the medieval pavement a "highlight".
He said: "This is a real masterpiece of craftsmanship and design, and it tells an intriguing story about the monks and the great lords and ladies who supported them.
"The new shelter building means that the pavement is safe from the damage of sun and rain but crucially, all visitors are now able to see it and enjoy it."