The Farnborough Park Project
March / April 2011
work began with earthwork surveys in the field known as Church Oakal
which lies south of the church. We defined two sites: A, in the valley
bottom consisting of banks, terraces and a feature which in plan
resembles a small medieval homestead moat with attached fishpond; B, on
the hill top where we planned several house platforms and a series of
well defined garden terraces.
We looked next at the bridge which carries the road from Banbury
down to the village. This structure was cleared of undergrowth
and detailed plan and elevations drawn of the bridge itself and
associated recent garden features including a rockery and a
series of drains some of which we believe to be pre-eighteenth century.
Finally an area to the south of the B site designated C was planned.
Although there are some curious regularities in this part of the site
we are currently interpreting the earthworks here as the remains of
bottom A site with earthworks from the north
Survey work at
Church Oakal B site
Elevation drawing at the bridge, east face
looking west - photomontageWorking drawings from the Bridge
Wednesday April 20th. we transferred our attentions to the top of the
cascade. The intention was to fully record this important eighteenth
century landscape feature as well as investigating the possible
association with the site of an earlier water mill. However, our first
step was to re-excavate the site of a summer house on the rise above
the cascade. Local informants tell us this was dug some time between 10
and 15 years ago and initially we were unable to discover who by or
published record of the site. A volunteer visiting the park in October
2011 recollected helping clear the site some time around 1996 under the
direction of the, now deceased, former head gardener. He did not recall
any archaeological involvement. We were able to clear the remains
easily and are planned the site stone by stone!
It was a marathon piece of drawing and visitors were able to see the
work underway when the house was open on Saturday and Wednesday
afternoons for much of the summer.
The remains as revealed consisted of a large roughly square cobbled area defined by two
concentric squares marked with stone slabs. Stone slabs are also set
along the diagonals as an additional decorative feature. Evidence of a
post socket on one corner suggested four posts supporting a pyramidical
thatched roof, perhaps with overhanging eaves and open sides. We did not
have a date for this structure but we are
hoping that future documentary research will throw some light on this
new addition to Farnborough's monuments.
The dig starts
The south corner uncovered
Close up of post setting