Parchmarks at Chastleton revealed

Gary and Anne surveying the parchmarks

The summer of 2018 will probably go down as one of the driest and hottest on record in the UK. Whilst it caused some problems with the dry and parched 'look' of some of our gardens and parklands, it did reveal a whole host of footprints from lost buildings.

In the summer of 2018 at Chastleton, parchmarks appeared in the parkland, known as Hillocky Splats, around the site of a former farm, Dudley's Farm and another large structure called Greenwood House. 

Some of the parchmarks suggested the presence of buried walls, which resulted in the yellow, dry ground seen during the hot weather. Both of these former buildings appear on a tithe map of Chastleton parish from 1843, but were probably demolished soon after. 

Gary Marshall, NT Archaeologist, surveying parchmarks
Gary Marshall, NT Archaeologist, surveying parchmarks
Gary Marshall, NT Archaeologist, surveying parchmarks

National Trust archaeologist Gary Marshall and Chastleton garden volunteer Anne, surveyed the location where the parchmarks appeared and found that they followed the outlines of the buildings seen on the 1843 tithe map. 

Parchmarks in the parkland at Chastleton
Parchmarks in the parkland at Chastleton
Parchmarks in the parkland at Chastleton

The above image shows a zig-zag mark, around a metre in width, with clear corners. It appears to be from the north-east corner of a small building or yard on the site of Dudley's Farm.

Parchmarks near the dovecote at Chastleton
Parchmarks near the dovecote at Chastleton
Parchmarks near the dovecote at Chastleton

In this picture of the dovecote, you can seen a parchmark, around half a metre in width, running towards the building with a distinct curve. This is probably the course of an old drainage pipe. 

Sometimes all we find are service and drainage pipes, but they are all entered and recorded onto current archaeological survey maps and go towards helping us build up a picture of what was here before so we can share it with future generations.