Daisies, Paths, Pond and Privy


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.

Pond Cornerstone pic


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.

PondPath pic

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 Smile

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7 Responses to Daisies, Paths, Pond and Privy

  1. You’ve not called Time Team in then?
    You may find your archaeology is of interest to your local county archaeology dept?

    • Trifocal says:

      That’s a thought; thank you 🙂 I might check to see what sort of archaeological unit we have here and what they cover.

      • Every year our local archaeology people run a day school where they provide a summary of all the work that they have been involved in – of particular interest are the small finds, typically found by metal detectorists, maybe your local people do something similar..

  2. Maria F. says:

    The daisies are beautiful! I’d love to see more of the garden!

  3. Trifocal says:

    Bluebells are my favourite flower but I do like daisies- something very honest and straightforward about them 🙂 The garden is not very big but there might be one or two more photographs to take there; I will try to put something in later on.

  4. I love your discoveries of those who have come before us.

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