Voyages to the House of Diversion
Seventeenth-Century Water Gardens and the Birth of Modern Science
October 2018 -The Rising Tide
With the major diversions of other summer digging out of the way,
almost, it was good to be able to set aside the whole month to focus
exclusively, almost, on Hanwell. However, Monday October saw a
lightening return to Packwood house and a remarkable discovery not
irrelevant to our Hanwell studies. This was a set of timbers
pulled out of the lake silts by the contractor and deposited in the
shallow end of the lake for me to examine. I suspect that these are the
remains of a timber pipe and sluice mechanism that once ran under the
dam presumably on the location where a later sluice was inserted,
recorded by us back in August. I am slightly familiar with this form of
construction as I helped excavate a similar example at Bordesley Abbey
back in the 1980s... phew.
Now that's what I call a trench, the timbers were recovered from close to where the digger is parked.
The timber collection with a detail of the top end with drain hole, the
paired hollows are interesting could they be stops for a propping
mechanism to open the sluice or can they have something to do with the
flow of water?
All wrapped up to be kept damp until further notice.
The example excavated under the mill pond bank at Bordesley Abbey (c) Reading University
Once settled back in at Hanwell we were confronted with a severely
soggy trench slowly filling up with percolating ground water, we must
be nearly half a metre below the level of the nearby stream.To overcome
this on the first afternoon I dug a deep sump through largely
undifferentiated silts in the north west corner of the trench and found
a rope to attach a bucket to for bailing out. It takes about 20 minutes
at the start of each day since you asked. We hope to have a mechanical
solution to this problem shortly. the main task once things had been
sponged dry was to plan and then lift the various pieces of fairly
fragile glassware we had identified as well as excavate and list the
slightly scattered bones of the cat. These removed we were free to
concentrate on cleaning the remaining big pots ready for planning and
eventually lifting. hand in hand with this was the continuing campaign
to remove turf and topsoil from the new eastern section of moat where
we anticipated keenly the discovery, amongst other things of the
remains of the access bridge.