Voyages to the House of Diversion
Seventeenth-Century Water Gardens and the Birth of Modern Science
May 2018 - Sun, Sun, Sun, Rain
After a couple months of thoroughly wet weather things
picked up no end with the start of May. Digging wise we continued
clearing the silts from the ditch on the west side of the central
island and came across significant quantities of demolition debris
and some interesting pottery fragments. As we now appear to have hit
the water table in at least three locations we really need a dry summer
or a pump. We were also able to make progress with the finds sheds,
laying the remaining slabs and putting up the best part of the first
shed before the bank holiday weekend. particular congratulations should
be recorded to the members of the Chipping Campden History Society who
came over on the morning of Wednesday May 2nd. for a tour and it poured
down... they did not flinch.
As week three began we continued
to focus on the northern extension on the basis that a controlled dig
here would enable us to plumb the depths as it were so that we could
use any discoveries to inform our approach to the rest of the site. So
it was that after a further clean over followed by plan and section
drawing, thanks to Helen and Matt for this, then photography, we were
able to start to strip away the remaining debris layer higher up the
mound to see the full extent of the rubble filled ditch. This paid off
handsomely as we quickly came upon a couple of very well preserved
facing stones which must be marking the line of the perimeter wall. The
following day with the help of Matt and Chris we extended the
examination of this wall a further metre to the west finding a slumped
block which we carefully re-instated. The lower courses were
excessively friable, presumably because of their former exposure to
water, let's hope for better lower down.
Cleaning plus drawing underway, note the presence of fallen leaves.
Photography underway, terrible lighting, note the absence of leaves.
Thank the mighty leaf blower.. that's a machine in case you wondered.
Tidying up to the edge.
... and a little more.
... and then blocks start to appear, remember the old adage, "one stone's a stone, two stones are an alignment...
... and three stones are a wall". Great excitement as the perimeter wall is identified for the first time.
Here's a fallen block later on put back in place as good as new.
Work proceeds apace with the lure of a brand new gazebo to luxuriate under.
As the month drew to its close we popped
over to France to revisit the site of the great medieval park at
Hesdin. I had a few points I wanted to check up on regarding surviving
portions of park wall and the layout of the track ways within the park.
I'm hoping get a major piece on the park published reasonably soon,
perhaps in Landscape History.
We also explored that area of France known as the Vexin, just north
west of Paris, and visited the Renaissance garden at Villarceaux.
Really quite a strong analogue of Hanwell with terraces looking over a
water parterre partially enclosed by a moat with larger body of