A PRIVY that may have been used by ‘Hanging’ Judge Jeffreys has been discovered at Taunton Castle.

Excavations there have revealed several previously unrecorded features in the castle’#s Great Hall.

As well as the 17th Century toilet, several even older features have been uncovered.

It is believed the loo was built when the castle was used for the Bloody Assizes in 1685 following the Monmouth Rebellion, when Jeffreys sentenced 144 people to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

As part of the Museum of Somerset Project, an audio-visual gallery will be located in the space where the prisoners were held, conveying the horror of the assizes.

Somerset County Council has undertaken the excavations as part of the building works to create the £multi-million new museum of Somerset, which due to open early in 2011.

Project leader Tom Mayberry said: “These findings shed new light on what the history books tell us about Taunton Castle.

“We’re working closely with the building contractors to make sure that we monitor and record the archaeology before the next phase of development takes place.”

Cllr Christine Lawrence, the council’s cabinet member for community, said: “We are committed to preserving and interpreting Somerset’s rich history and heritage.

“The work being undertaken at Taunton Castle helps us to understand more about one of the most important historic buildings in Somerset.”