These daisies are in a pot on the side of our small garden pond. For many years we had a colony of frogs in residence. We then made the mistake of accepting a few newts from a friend. They flourished and grew fat, largely on the frog tadpoles. Now there are plenty of newts but no frogs.
When we dug the pond the plan was to make it a yard deep. But at one end we came across this.
It measured at least 18″x18″ and looked like the cornerstone for what must have been quite a large building, but is not aligned with the present edges of the site. (The garden boundary is just behind the rake in the picture.) These property boundaries tend to be (like hedges) very long lasting in England so you would expect an older structure to fit into them, but this possible building looks too large and too close to the boundary to do that. If it predated the setting of the present boundary then it not only predates the 18th century fire discussed in an earlier post but probably whatever buildings were there at that time. If so it would be the oldest identifiable structure on the site.
Rather than disturb the cornerstone we decided to make this end shallow and keep the other end deep. But when we started digging out the other end of the pond we came upon… this.
It was an unmortared cobbled path about 18″ down. We agonised over it but in the end took up the exposed cobbles so we could finish the pond. They now sit in a lead drainage trough at the base of the old pump, and in the small roof garden outside the study.
The cobbled path was clearly aligned with the door from the pre-Victorian kitchen, not with the present garden door which comes out of the later scullery. There were small pieces of charcoal in between the cobbles- just about visible in the picture. These were probably from the ashes of wood fires in the house, which would have been taken out to the garden. As the local canal opened at the start of the 19th Century, making coal relatively easy to obtain, the charcoal and the alignments suggest the cobbled path probably dates from the end of the 18th century or earlier.
It looked then as if the older path ran down the middle of the garden rather than, like the present one, much closer to the side. Incidentally one very practical reason for moving the path sideways would have been to pass the Victorian outdoor privy (toilet) that used to be behind the scullery