The Hanwell Park Project


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Enstone environs - contours redrawn from current OS 1:25000 map, springs (blue circles) taken from OS 1:2,500 map 1881

There can be no doubt that  the location of the Enstone Marvels was brought about by a particular combination of geology and topography. The nature of the underlying rocks has determined the specific pattern of drainage involving springs and streams
in the area and getting to grips with this will be a major part of the study. A start can be made by considering the interesting account in Jordan's 1857 history of Enstone (Jordan 1857: 19).


The small house referred to above, although much extended, survives to this day as does the cellar and well beneath it. We were fortunate in receiving an invitation from the current owners who have been in residence for many years and who have made considerable improvements to the property and gardens. The cellar itself is rectangular, roughly 3 by 6 metres, and lined with whitewashed rubble walls. It is a little over 2 metres deep. The well exists towards the south west corner as a rectangular shaft set in a modern concrete floor. The shaft is stone lined and roughly half a metre deep, there is some silting on the base and the remains of some metal fitments which may be part of a valve or pumping mechanism. the water within the shaft is remarkably clear. Apparently the level is fairly consistent and the supply has never failed. Currently there is no obvious pipework, as described above, associated with the well but if water is still channeled from a source further up the valley there must be a course for it to flow in and out of the cellar. Adjacent to the well a former opening which marks the position of the original flight of steps is now filled with concrete block work but a curved slab of stone survives as the original bottom step. A section of the 'very pipes made of freestone' is said to exist in the garden but we will need to wait until the winter months to examine it once the vegetation dies down.

The well in the corner of the cellar, view looking south west.

In the garden to the south of the house is a further spring known, as the current occupants were told when they moved in, as the Bushell. This formerly emerged into a shallow rectangular stone lined niche set back into the hill slope. Because of its fragile condition the water was re channeled into a modern pipe which now empties into a large rectangular stone lined pool attached to the south. Naming it after Bushell further underlines its significance in connection with  the supply of water to the Marvels.

There is also an object lesson to be had here, imagine our excitement at the site of a weathered carved stone head emerging from the waters, imagine our disappointment to learn it was a garden gnome called Noah transformed by many years exposure to the elements.

The Dumbwell, view from east, south and south west.

The water flows into a further series of smaller pools and channels down towards the River Glyme which lies at the end of the garden to the south. Half way down is a well marked artificial terrace, around 2 metres high, which is reminiscent of the terracing in the former gardens to the south of the tithe barn in Church Enstone. Unsurprisingly there are several blocks of stone scattered round the garden which show heavy deposits of calcite as seen on the small grotto in Church Enstone.

well      well     well
Second pool looking north east.                                                                               Terrace looking north west .                                            Example of calcite positioned next to second pool   

One must assume that it may be possible to trace the course of Bushell's pipeline in the fields to the east and west and perhaps identify 'the piece of ground called Ramsall' where the supply originates. On the question of why water would need to be brought such a distance when there are clearly ample springs close by the Marvels Jordan suggests that there was a need for an 'additional force of water' but it is interesting that the owners report that the water here does not seem to have a petrifying effect and it may be that Bushell needed  a supply that would not 'fur up' his pipes and fountains. As ever still plenty to do here.