This project is the latest part of the CHART programme
of research into the landscape of Coalbrookdale. Earlier in the autumn we began archaeological investigation of an area above the Darby Houses. This area is now known as the 'Arboretum', and this was laid out and planted in 1805. However it partly overlies an older formal walled garden which is depicted in engravings of the mid-eighteenth century and has disappeared from present-day interpretations or understanding of the landscape.
Detail of a 1759 engraving of the garden by Francois Vivares
Our work involved walkover survey, geophysical survey and excavation. Not only were we trying to establish the survival of remains associated with the eighteenth century garden, but we were also asking questions about its origin.
Resistivity survey in progress - attempting to locate the southern wall.
The excavation work looked at various components of the garden, and discovered previously unidentified elements of the walls and original paths. However the main focus was on the Summer House shown at the top of the garden in the engraving (above). We located the original eighteenth century building, and also discovered evidence for its modification in the nineteenth century.
One of three trenches on the summer house site; original walls appear as infilled foundation trenches.
Further work on this site will be undertaken next year, and we will be seeking volunteers to work on the project. Please email us
for further information.