There has been much local interest in an archaeological dig at Bincknoll, near Royal Wootton Bassett, where teams of volunteers, working under expert supervision during many weekends, have discovered the site of an ancient chapel that is known to have existed in 1209.

The dig, in the garden of Mike and Mary Hudd's home, has involved many people, including Broad Town Archaeology, Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group, North Wilts Young Archaeologists Club, interested individuals, personnel from English Heritage and Wiltshire Museum and archaeologist Bob Clarke who is also president of the town's Historical Society.

Mr Clarke's excellent illustrated talk at the society's end-of-season meeting this month attracted an audience of more than 50, and prompted a lively question time.

"Archaeology can bring communities together," Mr Clarke said.

The last weekend dig delighted the team, as it finally established the outline of the ancient structure, aligned perfectly east-west. Mr Clarke said: "There may have been an early cell around which a larger structure was built later. We found fragments of painted plaster from the building’s interior, painted red lines depicting borders, pinks and green and black possibly from wall paintings. The excavation and post-ex work has taken about 18 months so far and we are now pretty convinced this was the lost chapel of Bincknoll, of which the last recorded mention was in the early 17th century."

The remains of a small inner wall is thought to be of late Saxon origin, which is surrounded by a later massive Norman structure. The clearly defined site, with the remains of substantial walls almost a metre wide with foundations over a metre deep, internally the building measures 4.4 metres by 13 metres and would have been an impressive sight when still standing. Nearer to the surface of the site the team discovered the remains of two cows and a pig, buried in later years over the ruined building.

Mr and Mrs Hudd, who have lived at the property since 1968, were intrigued by the discovery of buried stonework, when a machine was dragging out the roots of a felled tree in their garden.

Mary, a keen historian with a special interest in archaeology, said: "That started our enquiries. After all the work that's been done by so many people, the discovery is just magic! It's so unexpected, and so big. I came across mention of a chapel being here in 1209, but I never thought it would be in our garden."

Mike Hudd said: "We are so grateful to Bob, his family and all the people who have given up their time and energy to help us uncover the chapel. It certainly has been the experience of a lifetime, for us, our family and our neighbours. We hope it will add, in a small way, to the history of this wonderful part of Wiltshire."

The entire project has been recorded in great detail, prior to the site being restored to garden.