Garden in its cultural context
Southwood House on the Calke Estate has an unusual walled garden. Research suggests that it could be the garden designed when the house was first built, surviving essentially unchanged.
A talk was given in the Learning Room at Calke, for TARG members and National Trust Volunteers, setting the garden in the historical and cultural context of the late Middle Ages to early Tudor period. A fascinating insight into life in the late Middle Ages. Everything had a meaning, from the flowers planted in the 'flowery mead' to the water running through the garden.
The talk was followed up by a day doing a resistivity survey with two of our members who also took the opportunity to introduce us to plane table surveying. This went down very well indeed.
Dedication to getting the task finished in the last November light endured a finish in darkness.
The National Trust Archaeologist for the East Midlands invited TARG members to assist with the excavation of the garden. A fine weekend was what everyone wanted and considering it was the last weekend in November the weather was brilliant. A series of test its were planned and dug.
The soil was deep and had obviously been well cultivated. It was also very easy to dig which was a great contrast to digging in Peats Close in the summer where it was like digging rock.
The culvert, clearly seen on the resistivity was found some way down and a camera was put down inside to try to see what it was like. We traced the path of the culvert, and although there were few finds of pottery there was a small piece of 14th C jug rim down at the bottom.
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