Lake District rambling

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Tek care!

It’s always nice when I’m back out surveying in the Lake District.  I’m out near Cockermouth following a proposed water pipeline route. There’s not too much here but at
least it isn’t raining today.

Landscape Survey Talk – Hexham 26th March 2015

Hexham_Talk_March2015

Landscape archaeology and me – a basic talk

Maybe I should post this, maybe not. It is a long talk given to an interested local non-archaeology group and of course there is no Powerpoint to go with it either.  My thanks for the recording goes to the Continuing Learning Group at Lancaster University (c)

 

A quick note: Back to Windermere this week!

A bloomery mound located at Cinder Nab, Ridding Bay on Windermere

A bloomery mound located at Cinder Nab, Ridding Bay on Windermere

After an enforced absence posting on here due to the pleasant repercussions of a new addition to the family, it is my pleasure to start posting again, starting with my first volunteer-orientated project of the year. We are going back to Windermere for the next few weeks for a fourth and final season of archaeological work as part of the Windermere Reflections Project. Again this is in conjunction with the Lake District National Park and the National Trust. For this year we are going to be exploring the theme of metal, and we shall be investigating four separate medieval or later iron production sites, called ‘bloomeries’ that are located around the lake.

I will be undertaking the field survey element of the project with the volunteers of the four sites, which are at High Stott Park; Cinder Nab/Riddings Bay; Ghyll Head and Blelham Tarn. As part of the project we will also be doing some geophysical surveys, and a small excavation of the latter site, which has the potential to be a more complex water-powered bloomsmithy.

Contour data for Cinder Nab, Windermere

Contour data for Cinder Nab, Windermere

Community Archaeology Fieldwork in Tynedale, Northumberland – March 2014

Tynedale Archaeology Group Survey March 2014

Should anyone want to get involved in the forthcoming archaeological surveys then please contact my good friends at the Tynedale Archaeology Group. I have had the pleasure of working with them over the last year on surveys at both Ravensheugh Crags and Standingstone Rigg as part of projects funded by the Northumberland National Park and Altogether Archaeology.

Eden House, a cairnfield on the North York Moors near Whitby

Aerial view of the cairnfield and linear boundary at Eden House

Aerial view of the cairnfield and linear boundary at Eden House

This time last year we battled through the snow and ice on our journey over to survey a small cairnfield located on the North York Moors near Whitby. The report for this particular project has just been posted online to the OA Library and you can download it here. Did it really snow so late last year? I just can’t contemplate anything other than rain rain rain at the moment, but luckily (and selfishly) I’m still indoors writing up reports.

View of Eden House and the rough grazing behind it that contains the cairnfield

View of Eden House and the rough grazing behind it that contains the cairnfield

We undertook at topographic survey to record all of the surviving earthworks located on a small plot of rough pasture by the farmstead of Eden House, which is near the village of Hutton Mulgrave, on what was once part of Barnby Moor. The 4.66 hectare area of the cairnfield is statutorily protected as a Scheduled Monument, and as part of an ongoing management plan for it further detailed recording was needed. You can find a description of the monument here.

Eden House cairnfield - topographic survey

Eden House cairnfield – topographic survey

Eden House cairnfield - georectified aerial photography

Eden House cairnfield – georectified aerial photography

The survey was completed using a combination of photogrammetry and GPS survey. The photogrammetry was undertaken using photographs taken from a small UAV helicopter that were used to generate a metrically accurate model of the surface of the study area, including all surface features that were not obscured by vegetation. Some features were obscured, and so in addition a ground topographic survey was undertaken to record the more subtle features by GPS survey.

The survey presents a thorough record of all the archaeological structures and components identified in the form of a detailed measured plan, profiles across the putative deer park boundary, digital photography and an outline site gazetteer.

St Catherine’s Estate at Windermere – Landscape Survey Report

Watercolour view of the house and formal garden at St Catherine's Estate, c1900

Watercolour view of the house and formal garden at St Catherine’s Estate, c1900

The historic landscape survey report we completed way back in 2005 for St Catherine’s Estate, a National Trust property on Windermere, Cumbria is now available online via the OA Library. This project recorded the archaeological and historical features within the 0.32sq km of the property, a mixture of pasture, woodland and parkland, in order to inform the future management of the estate. The project was funded by the Local Heritage Initiative and from the outset it incorporated the involvement of members of the local community who were trained in documentary and survey techniques. In 2006 an eco-friendly straw bale building was built on the estate. The Footprint, is now used for educational visits.

The location of St Catherine's Estate near Windermere

The location of St Catherine’s Estate near Windermere

The project entailed documentary study, identification, boundary and tree surveys, as well as a detailed survey of the formal gardens.

Training a volunteer in the dark arts of GPS survey

Training a volunteer in the dark arts of GPS survey

Prior to the establishment of the formal landscape the area was exploited for agriculture and was divided into two separate lots known as High and Low Gate Mill How.  A cottage once existed at High Gate Mill How, presumably on the site of the later mansion. The agricultural management within the study area was typified by the relatively static enclosed fields with drystone walled boundaries. The survey also identified a number of agricultural features within the original extent of the parkland estate, which predate the park; these included clearance cairns and drains. Similarly, woodland management was a crucial part of the historic land use; at least ten charcoal burning platforms were recorded within the two areas of woodland examined. The woods were divided up into compartments of coppice at different stages of growth and the remains of the compartment boundaries still survive.

Charcoal burning platform in High Hag Wood, St Catherine's Estate

Charcoal burning platform in High Hag Wood, St Catherine’s Estate

Coppice boundary foundations in High Hag Wood, St Catherine's Estate

Coppice boundary foundations in High Hag Wood, St Catherine’s Estate

The estate was bought by the Parker family in 1788 and by 1804 it was in the sole ownership of Ann Parker. Around 1810 a Swiss Cottage Orneé was erected on the site. This took place concurrent with work to establish gardens and the development of a parkland landscape fronting onto the road running along the west side of the estate. In 1831 the estate was sold to the Second Earl of Bradford, and it was used as an occasional holiday residence for the Earl and his wife, whose main seat was Weston Park in Staffordshire. By 1856-1857 work was completed on many of the designed elements of the estate, including the house, kitchen block, stable block, formal garden, wilderness garden, walled garden and parkland, but there were still also areas of woodland and farmland within the estate. However, by the mid 1860s Low and High Hag Woods had been developed into an extension of the pleasure grounds, and incorporated formal paths and arbors.

Watercolour view of the St Catherine' cottage overlooking Lake Windermere, c1850s

Watercolour view of the St Catherine’ cottage overlooking Lake Windermere, c1850s

The Second Earl of Bradford died in 1865 and between the late 1860s and 1890s the house remained a summer holiday residence for the third Earl of Bradford. Then in 1895 the Cottage Orneé was extensively enlarged and another storey was added; the central kitchen range and the stable block were also expanded. A map of 1898 showed that by this date a summer house had been added to the Gatelands field, adjacent to the Wilderness garden, and the carriageways were extended into the northern part of the park.

Late nineteenth century photograph of the house and formal garden, St Catherine's Estate

Late nineteenth century photograph of the extended house and formal
garden, St Catherine’s Estate

The Third Earl of Bradford died in 1898 and the estate passed on to his daughter, Lady Mabel Kenyon-Slaney, who used the property as an occasional residence until at least 1905. By 1899 much of the estate had been sold off, and the remainder was thereafter in a state of decline; significantly, there were very few changes to the estate between 1899 and 1914. The property remained in the ownership of the family until 1914 although it appears that the house was let and was no longer visited by the family.

Plan of St Catherine's Estate - 1899

Plan of St Catherine’s Estate – 1899

On the 29th September 1914 Lady Mabel Kenyon-Slaney sold part of the main St Catherine’s Estate to John Robinson, which included St Catherine’s house, Low Hagg Wood, Rawes Green, High Haggs, Browhead Spring, as well as the Cottage and buildings at the Crosses. The Robinson Family soon after constructed a house called ‘The Hoo’ just to the south of the estate. John and Ellen Robinson and their two daughters Marjorie and Jessica lived at ‘The Hoo’ and the empty house at St Catherine’s was alternatively used as a studio or rented out in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1925 Ellen Robinson was widowed and in the same year Jessica married Edwin Ferreira. The main house and kitchen range were demolished on the orders of Ellen Robinson at some point between 1928 and 1935. Mrs Robinson feared that the empty house would be used by tramps and had it demolished whilst the rest of the family were on holiday wintering in France.

The surviving stable range at St Catherine's Estate

The surviving stable range at St Catherine’s Estate

In 1952 Jessica Ferreira inherited the estate upon the death of her mother and in 1954 Jessica and Edwin Ferreira moved to St Catherine’s and lived above the stables, and by 1955 a bungalow was built on Gatelands field. The Ferreiras had a son, Christopher, who remembers hay making in the parkland in the 1950s, and at this time Jessica Ferreira owned a small herd of Jersey cows which were housed in the stables. By 1987 after the death of the widowed Jessica Ferreira the remainder of the estate was entrusted into the hands of the National Trust.

The survey identified the nature and extent of many formal features from the nineteenth century estate, including the nature and extent of the formal carriageways within the parkland and, more importantly, the surviving elements of the formal pathways within the woodland. Other important formal elements were recorded such as the foundations of the summer house in Gatelands Field, formal planting and an arbor in High Hag Wood, and a putative formal planting area and possible sunken glade, in Low Hag Wood.

A volunteer measuring a rabbit smoot

A volunteer measuring a rabbit smoot

The garden survey revealed surviving fragments of the formal layout of the separate gardens and buildings which were the focal point of the St Catherine’s Estate. Very little survives of the original plantings within the gardens apart from several veteran non-native trees on the north end of the formal garden; a terraced flattened area within the wilderness garden which may have had decorative function and, possibly, the rockery on the east side of the coach house.

The detailed garden survey undertaken at St Catherine's Estate

The detailed garden survey undertaken at St Catherine’s Estate

In the wilderness garden formal pathways and garden furniture include a flight of steps and four crossing points over Wynlass beck. The course of the beck has been modified and it runs over a small waterfall, which would have been overlooked from two of the bridge crossings. Structural elements associated with the upkeep of gardens are limited to the foundations of a greenhouse within the walled vegetable garden and the putative potting/tool shed on the edge of the formal garden.

Late nineteenth century photograph of Wynlass Beck running through the wilderness garden

Late nineteenth century photograph of Wynlass Beck running through the wilderness garden

A wintery week surveying at Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby

Expired parkland tree

Expired parkland tree

It truly felt like winter had arrived in earnest this last week. I have been out surveying the parkland and formal gardens at Acorn Bank, a National Trust property located on the outskirts of Temple Sowerby, near Penrith in Cumbria. The daylight has been limited with it being so close to the shortest day of the year, and the weather has mostly been cold, overcast and drizzly. Wednesday turned out to be a fine sunny day so I will post a selection of images from that day in the parkland below. You will notice that I was interested in the bare leafless winter trees and hedges in the parkland.

Update! – Standingstone Rigg, Northumberland

The drawings depicting the prehistoric stone row and pit alignment that we surveyed at the beginning of the month have now been completed! Profuse thanks must again go to all of the Altogether Archaeology volunteers who gave up their weekend to come out and be part of the survey.

Stone Row at Standingstone Rigg - Topographic Survey

Stone Row at Standingstone Rigg – Topographic Survey

Stone Row at Standingstone Rigg - Aerial Photography

Stone Row at Standingstone Rigg – Aerial Photography

Force Garth Pasture, Forest in Teesdale, Co. Durham – Report Online

Cold cold surveying at Force Garth

Cold cold surveying at Force Garth Pasture

The report for the Force Garth Pasture survey project is now available online through the Archaeology Data Service.

 

Aerial view of Force Garth South enclosed settlement

Aerial view of Force Garth South enclosed settlement

In December 2011 we undertook archaeological survey and analytical study of the settlement remains at Force Garth Pasture, on behalf of the tenants of East Force Garth Farm in Upper Teesdale, County Durham. Over half of the survey area is a Scheduled Monument (SM 33490), consisting of a palimpsest of extant multi-period archaeological settlement features, field systems, and industrial remains. The area is also of exceptional ecological interest, including areas of both species-rich hay meadow and wood pasture and, consequently, forms part of the Moorhouse – Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve.

Aerial view of Force Garth North enclosed settment

Aerial view of Force Garth North enclosed settlement

Within the study area are two sites, Force Garth North and Force Garth South, which were excavated in the 1970s by Denis Coggins and Ken Fairless. The field systems surrounding the settlements were identified at the same time but were only subject to sketched survey rather than a detailed metric survey. Evidence for metalworking was identified during the excavations of both enclosed settlements, and was part of more widespread evidence for industrial extraction and working of iron resources in the Upper Teesdale valley.

The northern end of the field-system

The northern end of the field-system

The southern end of the field-system

The southern end of the field-system