Unexpected discoveries

The places we look after are full of hidden treasures concealed under floorboards or behind bookcases, tucked away in attics or covered up by later decoration. Even items on show can still surprise us, as this selection of unexpected discoveries reveals.

The 16th-century Gate Tower on the West Front at Coughton Court, Warwickshire

First World War diary deciphered at Coughton Court 

The illegible handwriting of a war dairy had kept many secrets for years, but now it has been deciphered, at Coughton Court, Warwickshire.

A family playing in the gardens of the Dudmaston Estate, Shropshire

19th-century life captured in photos at Dudmaston 

The photo archive at Dudmaston in Shropshire has been found to date from the 1850s, giving us a fascinating glimpse into 19th-century life.

The south front at Hinton Ampner, Hampshire

Haunted house revealed near Hinton Ampner 

The foundations of a haunted house were revealed in 2014, lying just 50 yards from Hinton Ampner in Hampshire.

The Cellarium at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Medieval Mottisfont

The Priory of the Holy Trinity was founded here in 1201 by William Briwere, right-hand man to four Plantagenet kings. Mottisfont has been transformed almost beyond recognition since its medieval beginnings. But hints of this hidden history remain, such as secret panels in the walls revealing ancient stone.

Mottisfont house, Hampshire, on a sunny day

If Mottisfont's walls could talk  

At Mottisfont, another layer of its 800-year history has been uncovered. Find out about the wallpaper that has an intriguing story to tell.

Wimpole Hall viewed from the park

Georgian amulet uncovered at Wimpole Hall  

Find out how an old shoe found at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, can protect you from evil. It's just one of our unexpected discoveries...

A view of Winchester City Mill, Hampshire, with the water which powered the wheel rushing through the sluices

Original Turner painting of Winchester City Mill unearthed 

An original painting by J.M.W Turner of Winchester City Mill has been identified by staff at the site in Hampshire, having been housed at London's Tate Gallery for more than a century.