Revealing Secrets: Historic building recording at Canons Ashby

Historic photograph of the Pebble Court at Canons Ashby

In order to understand more about this quirky and complicated building we are working with archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) to do a detailed historic building survey of the house. Their findings will help us develop our conservation, interpretation and visitor engagement for Canons Ashby in the future.

Follow our progress

The building survey will take place between October and next spring. During this time the archaeologists will be photographing and surveying each section of the house in minute detail, and we will be posting updates of their progress and any exciting discoveries on this page. Visitors to the house may also get the chance to see the archaeologists in action and learn more about how archaeological techniques can unravel the history and development of a building.

Can you help?

In addition to the practical surveying of the house, we will also be trawling through Canons Ashby’s vast archives to uncover further clues about its past.

Do you have any old photos of Canons Ashby which could help us? Please share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and include the hashtag #CArevealed.

Latest posts

17 May 18

Presenting new findings

With the building survey now finished, MOLA’s archaeologists have spent the past few months reviewing all the data gathered. Today they kindly presented some of this new knowledge to our very intrigued staff and volunteers.

Over the next few weeks MOLA will be busy writing up their findings into a final report. We look forward to sharing the highlights of this once it’s been completed!

Archaeologists presenting findings of historic building survey to Canons Ashby staff and volunteers

18 Dec 17

Exploring Canons Ashby in 3D

As well as using traditional drawn and photographic survey techniques to record Canons Ashby, the archaeologists have also carried out a complete laser survey (see earlier update). The data from the laser survey has now been used to create some photogrammetric 3D computer models of several intriguing features within the house.

Check out and explore the 3D models here

3D Model of understair space adjacent to the Servants' Hall at Canons Ashby

01 Dec 17

Rediscovering long-lost floors

This week MOLA’s archaeologists have made substantial progress in understanding the arrangement and alterations to the rooms in the north-west corner of the house (i.e. the Servants Hall, Dryden Sitting Room, stair and Cook’s rooms etc) by producing a full elevation through the house.

The painted wall in the Dryden Sitting Room is part of a cohesive (though partly incomplete) timber frame which can be traced from under the kitchen stairs, up to the mid-level rooms (where it forms the painted wall of the Cook's Room), up to the Dryden Sitting Room and finally into the roof space.

By analysing the full elevation of this timber partition the archaeologists have suggested that the Servants Hall is actually a later creation and that there were formerly two rooms in this space (i.e. two rooms stacked between the Servants Hall floor and Dryden Sitting Room floor). This floor between these rooms would effectively be a continuation of the Cook's Room / Parlour Maid's Room and a small remnant of it still survives and forms the void adjacent to the 'masonic cupboard'.

View of the Servants Room at Canons Ashby