The Farnborough Park Project

September/October 2012

Back to Project Contents and Introduction

After completing the two digs in Church Oakal the timetable for the M.A. was such that most of September had to be given over to writing up my dissertation, it can be read here. there was one brief foray into the great outdoors to take some measurements of the cascade that emptied into the Oval Pond from Sourland Pond. this monument is in particularly bad shape and we didn't even try for a complete measured survey, largely because  much of it was masked by fallen trees in a rather precarious state. Still it was possible to get enough information to attempt the reconstruction below.

The cascade into the oval pool, photo by Chris Mitchell, isometric reconstruction by Stephen Wass

As part of the final research for this we consulted a range of relevant documents at the Warwick County Record Office, one of the most interesting of them being an anonymous poem sent to the Reverend Charles Holbech in 1810 and entitled, 'The Lamentation for the Botanic Garden at Farnborough'.

Mid-October saw us in a position to undertake the final set of investigations in the field with a couple of very small scale excavations on two possible mill sites:

DIG DIARY- The Paddock A site
Monday October 15th to Tuesday October 16th. 2012

As the Paddock was now clear of cattle and the site lay within a part of the estate to which public access was not normally allowed we were spared the complications of fencing. On Monday morning we cleared a little undergrowth and set out a small 2 metres by 1 metre trench. As always, the turf - such as it was - and topsoil, were carefully removed and set aside for re-instatement. Once the loose material had been troweled away it was clear we had dropped down onto the site of another fairly recent bonfire with lots of broken brown glass - some of partially melted. We had just started to plan this when the rain began to pour down so it was time to evacuate the site and hope for better weather tomorrow.


The area marked out and the turf cut, view looking north across the first channel.

Tuesday October 16th.

On Tuesday morning we returned to the site despite the strong wind that was blowing and spent the morning moving the bonfire deposit. this particular fire seems to have been associated with camping, perhaps a trip that went wrong for amongst the charcoal and bottle glass was enough metalwork; eyelets, tent pegs and guy-rope tighteners (Do they have a proper name?) to indicate that someone had burnt a tent here!  blow that we ran into a tangled mass of roots and as it was not part of our brief to damage the local flora we were forced to abandon the trench at that point. However, it seems clear that there were no stone or brick buildings on the site but the possibility remains open a timber frame structure based on earth fast posts as we saw in Romania.

Dig          Dig
View looking north, site of the bonfire                                                                                            View looking south, the roots start to emerge.

A small mill in Romania with a very light 'foot print'.