The new view at Enstone, looking north sans Leylandii
For a variety of reasons it took
some time to gather together the resources for fieldwork so we didn't
actually get going out of doors until Thursday 16th. at Enstone. That's
not to say that time was wasted. I was able to track down Sir Anthony
Cope, the fourth baronet, and establish his arrival at Oriel College,
Oxford in 1649 by examining his college bills, known as battels today.
These were accounted for weekly and in the case of Oriel recorded in
tall thin parchment ledgers. It is clear that as the only student
entered as nobleman Sir Antony was doing his best to keep up with
expectations spending twice as much as anyone else most weeks. He had
left by 1651 but unfortunately the volume for 1650 was missing so we
can't say exactly when. The other library based task was to track down
a copy of Gough's 1930s biography of Thomas Bushell in the rather
surreal Gladstone link, a hi-tech underground chamber beneath the
Radcliffe Camera... really. Not much new to read in this account except
for a section which suggests a greater level of involvement with the work
at Enstone on the part of Charles I than I had hitherto realised.
The Superlative Prodigall: A Life of Thomas Bushell
By J.W. Gough M.A.
University of Bristol 1932
Pages 33 - 34
“The King indeed had given him very unusual support in his work at the
rock itself. Bushell must have already had access to the King, very
likely through his former position in Bacon’s household and his other
connections with prominent men in London for it appears that the King
had “come over from Woodstock to see the rarity of nature at Enstone”
shortly after it was first unearthed [This must have been around 1628 SW]
and had heartily fallen in with Bushell’s design that the rock should
not only be preserved but also be “ornated with groves, walks,
fishponds, gardens and waterworks and to that end he has taken said
work into his protection”. In order to make way for the groves and
walks instructions were sent to the earl of Danby “for better enabling
Bushell’s endeavours…. To call on such as it may concern for disposing
the highway to some other place which may be most convenient to his
Majesty’s design, trusting he will find no man so refactory as he
should have cause to certify his obstinacy to the King”.
Nevertheless there were persons who did object to the proposed
diversion of the highway and we read that some of the copyholders of
the manor "out of a malignant disposition the next court day fined
Bushell for having turned the said highway, some have cut down trees
for beautifying the said rock and others have presumed to forbid his
workmen employed in setting up the wall for preserving the groves and
walks not at al regarding his Majesty’s directions”. Bushell was to pay
reasonable compensation to the occupiers disturbed but the justices
were to call alleged delinquents before them and hand over and found
guilty to the brought before the Lords of the Council. This was a year
after the ceremonial visit [ In 1637 SW]
of the King and Queen but the King evidently contemplated enjoying
further visits for the justices were urged “to take especial care that
the wall there now erecting and other works in hand may go on with all
diligence so that it may be finished by the time his Majesty shall come
to Woodgrove” [Woodstock? SW].’
The references quoted are Cal. S.P.D. 1635 p. 366 and 1637 p. 198
I really don't know quite what to make of this. I need to take a look at the original papers at some point.
The highlight of the return to Enstone was to see the way in which the
landscape had been opened but by the felling of a monstrous stand of
overgrown Leylandii which occupied the ground to the north of the barn.
You really get a feel for the open aspect that users of the garden and
especially the flanking alley would have enjoyed. As far as work
was concerned Peter continued the detector survey of the grounds and
the section across the top wall on the upper terrace was dug explored.
The trench in the middle of the upper terrace needs to dry out a
little, however, the buried portion of the top wall is starting to
emerge, it's a nightmare keeping the section edges square.
A couple of sections of dry stone wall had collapsed over Christmas
whilst down on the lower edge of the garden a start was made on
clearing blackthorn to reveal... another collapsed wall.
Later in the month we returned to complete the earthwork survey by
poking about in the garden next door, many thanks to Sally and Andrew -
tea and tea cakes were especially welcome. We were able to establish
the continuation of the terracing and identify further remains of the
canal as well as spotting a rather nice bit of architectural detailing
built onto a twentieth-century garden wall. We also continued with the
detector work along the alley way, around the line of the uprooted
Leylandii and into the small paddock above the barn. Sadly very little
of interest turned up although we were able to point to the large
number of short scaffolding pipes scattered around the latter location.
The walling here is part of some fairly modern landscaping but the
carved stone is reputed to have come from the top of a nearly gate
pier, looks typical of Bushell's home spun Gothic.
The earthworks next door: the terrace above the line of the
canal/fishpond looking north east and the terraces (there are two of
them here) below looking north west.
Meanwhile back at Hanwell a start
was made on closing down the cascade site. There was still a little
more recording to be done, notably some section drawing to complete and
then we started to think about the mechanics of restoring and
conserving the site. The wettest January for ever and ever did not help
us in advancing this cause but at least we made an effort.
The section below the Cascade, I really should have drawn this in the
summer when I didn't need to stand ankle deep in cold water, and the
path starts to be relaid.
Down at the sunken garden work was
in hand to preserve the walling holding up the terracing. This meant
buttressing the unsightly bulge next to the steps and strengthening the
other corner below the sharp turn in the path above. As part of the
general quest for recyclable stone a number of very nice architectural
fragments have emerged from the undergrowth to be set aside for recording.
The ground is cleared and a small pit is dug in the north corner to
expose the footings of the wall, there are some massive stones in these
Re-emerging stones: a short length of gutter with a pronounced fall,
the kind of thing you would run through a parapet below the battlements
to drain a flat roof,
a very nice little egg-shaped finial and some paving at the foot of the steps
Surprisingly we didn't have too many sessions rained off
but there was lots to do indoors anyway. Once the essay on the English
gentry had been completed it was time to carry on with the interim
report summarizing the digging done last year. before getting on with
the text it was necessary to complete the drawings by scanning the
originals in to the computer then tracing over them to create digital
images. It takes ages. below is the almost complete east elevation of
the cascade. Lots more to come.