Boards trodden by Shakespeare have been discovered under layers of flooring at England’s oldest medieval guildhall as it undergoes a big refurbishment.

The 600-year-old oak floorboards are believed to be the only surviving stage from the Bard’s time.

The discovery was made at St George’s Guildhall in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, which was a religious meeting house in the early 15th century. It later became a theatrical venue and it is claimed Shakespeare performed there.

In 1593, when London’s theatres were closed because of an outbreak of plague, Shakespeare and his company of actors were on tour in King’s Lynn. A note in the theatre’s account book shows Shakespeare’s company were paid by the borough to perform there.