The new and splendidly named
trench HANK 17 was well underway when the builders moved in. Not on us
but back at the sunken garden. here the dividing wall between the two
properties was to be rebuilt so we popped over to take a look at the
foundation trench and all sorts of things were happening so for the
next few months it was basically down tools on the water parterre
abandoning the quest for the house of diversion and back to the sunken
The cut for the new foundation trench for the wall revealed part of a
brick drain so we started to excavate an area to the north to examine
it from above.
... and here's the line of the drain cut apparently by the line of the wall we excavated as HANI back in 2015.
Peter takes out the fill of the drain whilst an additional feature,
possibly the base of a gate pier is excavated further to the west.
And now everyone's at it, lost in a sea of stone.
The drain had been carefully plugged with a stone 'bung' at one end
whilst at the other end it had been disrupted by the construction of
the north south wall.
Once the digging was complete Dave
Finch, the builder, and his cohorts moved in, finished pouring the
concrete foundation and started the block work before building up the
rest of the wall from stone recycled from the original tumbled version.
We had assumed that these well made dressed stone walls were a feature
of the seventeenth century garden but in this case they clearly
post-dated the drain which we assumed, in the absence of any other
dating evidence, was nineteenth century. Most puzzling. Still,
time to return to the rather neglected water parterre. After a quick
scrape down and tidy up we concentrated on the fill of the ditch which
contained unparalleled quantities of roof tile not to mention large
quantities of plaster/mortar and of course plenty of rubble
summer gale and down pour trashed the gazebo breaking the frame apart
in several places, we were forced to improvise and recycles some of the
canvas and struts to create a much less impressive but functional 'lean
to' except it wasn't leaning on anything really.
Sarah ponders some
focuses on the debris filled ditch.
Now here's a turn up for the book. In the corner of the area we decided
to take out a metre test pit to investigate the composition of the
mound. It was all looking quite natural until at a depth of around 70cm
we find a large but lonely fragment of post-medieval pottery - date to
So everything e was going splendidly and then we got a call from the
National Trust regarding an important and urgent piece of work they
needed doing over in Fishpool Valley at Croft Castle in Herefordshire. It turned into a five week project working away from home and with the consequent writing up that was it at Hanwell for 2017!