Wall conservation at Godolphin
The King’s Garden at Godolphin is thought to be an enclosed privy garden and was created in the early sixteenth century. It is named for its proximity to the King’s Room which is where the fleeing Prince of Wales (later King Charles II) is alleged to have stayed in 1646. The garden is surrounded by Grade II listed walls and along with the Side Garden is a scheduled ancient monument.
At the beginning of 2016 a wall had subsided in the side garden following a prolonged period of heavy rain and a structural engineer was invited to assess this wall as well as the other listed structures here that border the scheduled ancient monument.
In March 2016, the National Trust archaeologist for Devon and Cornwall submitted a proposal to Historic England for repairs to garden walls at Godolphin to include the collapsed wall in the side garden and parts of those that surround the King’s Garden as they had been identified as becoming increasingly fragile and in danger of collapse.
The fifty-nine page proposal to Historic England detailed the urgency of work required to both walls which comprised reconstruction of the collapsed section of side garden wall and sections of the King’s Garden wall adjacent to areas of public access to match the original design, re-using as much of the original fabric as possible. Permission was received from Historic England at the end of May 2016 to proceed with repairs to the increasingly fragile walls around the King’s Garden.
Using traditional methods and materials
A local heritage building firm were appointed to carry out the work which was estimated to take twelve weeks. The repair to the walls involved taking down the fragile sections and infilling with lime as well as copying the pattern of lime pointing on the external faces that was present before. It was also important that the characteristic pattern of raised and recessed pointing was retained. Each square metre section was photographed on a grid system, before being worked on, so that the stones went back in the same location as they were before. Helical bars were also inserted into sections of the wall to tie in parts that weren’t being rebuilt with the segments that were being worked on.
It became apparent during the initial work that the damage was more extensive than previously thought and that further sections of the walls would need rebuilding, following further permissions being sought from Historic England. The project finished in October 2016, having taken twenty weeks to conserve and ensure the stability of these walls for the future.
The careful work that has taken place on these walls here is part of a much larger programme of conservation at Godolphin with the retaining walls around the bowling green to the south-east of the house next on the project team’s schedule of wall conservation.
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