Plymouth Archaeology Society

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square compartments which are still clearly visible as earthworks today. Stowe as an archaeological investigation had several useful sources, there was a painting by Edward Prideaux dated to 1716 and a good quality plan of 1794. The 1670’s house was also found to be clearly visible as parch marks on an aerial photograph. This has led to a far greater understanding of the garden and it was learnt that it was designed to make use of the topography to protect the plants, through separate compartments divided by brick walls all at different levels. The physical appearance of the garden is thought to have been dramatic combined with views to the sea. Another classic house is Nutwell near Exeter, a Drake house. There are excellent records of what was happening on the estate when Drake was absent as his Estate Manager Nicholas Rowe sent letters to Drake every week. These gave a day to day account of how work was progressing on refurbishments of the house, the gardens and even the bickering that went on between staff. Witham, Somerset was also discussed as a comparison of the sources that can be used to analyse an estate. Finally plants and walled gardens were looked at along with the sources available for rediscovering them. It was noted that the work on Devon gardens has been fairly extensive to date, yet very little work has been done on the documents of houses and manors in Cornwall.

Our thanks are expressed to Todd and Rob for a highly enjoyable and informative day. Their enthusiasm for the topic was reflected throughout the day and their presentation was excellent. At the end of the day we all had gained a far greater knowledge on the development of the historical garden and how archaeology can help in rediscovering their relationship with the landscape.

Pete Houghton


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