Voyages to the House of Diversion
Seventeenth-Century Water Gardens and the Birth of Modern Science
September 2018 -The View to the West
As work started to wind down along
the north west side - see below, steps were taken at the start of the
month to strip the turf and topsoil from the new area along the the
west face of the octagon. This should be important because it faces the
great east terrace and the castle itself and is the most likely
location for an approach bridge and in-coming pipework.
Meanwhile a fourth pot emerged from the rubble field, this one
definitely a planter with central hole and a boldly flared rim,
something very shallow, perhaps a pot for bulbs. Clearance of the three
coping slabs uncovered suggests that perhaps they were carefully laid
in their present location rather than just tipped in and the presence
of elements, which we excavated, of a second dog skeleton are
especially puzzling. A metre wide extension of the excavated area to
the east revealed a deposit of tile and stone sloping quite steeply
upwards towards the east suggesting that the far side of the moat was
not far away, the key discovery to made here is whether or not there
was a retaining wall on the outside of the moat plus were there other
buildings beyond the octagon to the west? Time will tell...
Work nearly complete on uncovering the coping stones.
Hannah examines the latest pot.
Chris begins the long slow process of cleaning up an urn ready for drawing, photographing and lifting.
The far side of the moat starting to appear and, as it happened, no wall.
The second week
in September remained fine and we were able to continue with the pot
cleaning regime except as we cleaned around the pots it became clear
that they were part of a much larger debris field - it reminds me of
some of the ship wreck sites I've read about! Emerging from
the silts into which they were thrown we began to see significant
quantities of glassware: numerous fragments of wine bottle , a piece of
a small fine clear glass bottle which may have held a spirit, possibly
genever (gin), the base of a large glass beaker, the foot and stem of a
wine glass... and a dead cat. Must have been quite a party. The
unfortunate thing was with water levels rising and autumn coming on the
site then had to be covered over for a couple of weeks whilst I went to
fulfill my commercial obligations at Chastleton, Packwood, Hestercombe
and Wormleighton. Roll on October when we can get back to it all again.
An immaculately cleaned pot ready for photographing, thanks Andries for the final polish.
But then as cleaning proceeds more and more pots - up to 14 now I think.
Saskia and Kirsten give Chris a hand to further explore the upper layer of silt to reveal...
... a wine glass and a couple of bottles... where are the balloons?