AN EMPTY barn off Marlborough town centre is now thought to be the town’s oldest surviving building, after research revealed parts of it are 1,000 years old.

Despite its tired look and empty rooms, the owners of the barn behind No7 Bar, formerly Godots restaurant, in Kingsbury Street have big dreams for the space and want to return it to its former glory.

Owner Simon Wetton wants to create a luxury restaurant covering 5,000 sq ft for the town and said: “We called in an archaeologist who dated parts of the barn as being 1,000 years old. It is incredibly rare to find a building that wasn’t destroyed by the great Marlborough fires.

“It is a very exciting project and we want to share it with Marlborough residents as we progress along the planning application.”

The archaeological investigation showed the barn almost certainly dates back to Saxon times and lies on what is thought to have been the Saxon settlement near The Green.

The Great Fire of 1653 and other blazes in the late 1600s obliterated the main shopping street but appear to have spared the barn, because it is above the High Street.

Archaeologists found the foundations of the buildings were built from stones from the old castle, where Marlborough College is now, helping to date the origins of the building.

Originally used to house cattle or grain, it pre-dates the Merchant’s House, built in 1653, as Marlborough’s oldest building.

The barn is thought to lie on the original Roman road running through the town, just north of the High Street.

Mr Wetton added: “This hidden secret for all to see, yet unknown to most, seems to provide a remarkable snapshot of the history of Marlborough and may well have the possibility of answering some of the secrets of the town’s origins and as development gets underway may well help release some further secrets.”

A planning application is due to be submitted to Wiltshire Council in the next few weeks.