Continuing work in the gardens

Norman Routledge of Kings Weston house has been continuing work on the gardens throughout the winter. The new plans and landscape design received planning consent in January and since then the area of the old building site ruins on the south-east side of the mansion has been transformed. The scheme includes a re-laid lawn, new planting, trees, and a long water rill running down through the site along an old workman’s trench.

View across the new lawn and garden works towards Kings Weston house

These images show the site as it now looks including the concrete foundations of the new water feature and the recently planted beech hedge and shrubbery that will separate the gardens from the existing car park.  Some of the stone elements recovered from the ruins that once stood here have been reincorporated into a retained section of the old walls and turned into a secret garden for private use.

Plans have been amended from since we last circulated them; the proposed second drive exiting onto Kings Weston Lane from the woodland car park has been omitted following consultation.

More planting  along the south side of the water feature, alongside the new gravel path, will soon enhance the scene. Although the gardens are still incomplete it’s easy to see the handsome effect they will have when finished, returning some of the lost formality to the setting of this Grade I Listed building. Norman would like to pass on his thanks to some of KWAG’s volunteers who let a hand last month in getting the new trees and shrubs into the ground.

Looking towards the Echo with the secret garden to the left and the new water feature in development in the centre.

The Circle completed

We are again grateful for such a good turnout at January’s working party, and especially to the many new volunteers who came along to lend a hand. This ended up being one of the toughest of the laurel-clearing working parties, with a thick and tangled mass of dense greenery to fell. The scale of the challenge is perhaps not fully demonstrated in our before and after images, but the impact on the site is marked.

Looking south from the main path through the woods towards the Circle before and after work

Looking south from the main path through the woods towards the Circle before and after work

Before and after work looking through Penpole Wood towards the Circle

Before and after work looking through Penpole Wood towards the Circle

Views of veteran trees through the area, and revealed vistas to important ornamental planting have all benefited from the work, as well as the long-term health and diversity of the woodland in this key location.

Although we only narrowly achieved our target of clearing the whole of the area around the Circle, a great deal of felled timber had to be cleared and reduced over subsequent weeks. We are grateful for Jim Ellis and Norman Routledge for having undertaken this, and enhanced the finished result.
The event also saw the planting of three new trees around the edge of the Circle and within the wood. As noted last month, these will supplement the native and ornamental species already growing here.

The Circle looking towards Kings Weston House before and after work

The Circle looking towards Kings Weston House before and after work

The laurels regress between December and January

The laurels regress between December and January

Historic painting returns to Bristol

The gallery of paintings in the Saloon of Kings Weston House is one of its highlights. Whilst there are literally dozens of portraits of members of the Southwell family, who owned the house and estate for the whole of the Eighteenth Century, this is just a fraction of their original collection.

The rooms throughout the mansion were filled with many paintings, with a strong emphasis on ancestral portraits. Today the family still owns a small collection of these, but many remain lost or in private collections; However, just occasionally, one comes to light…

Most recently a painting came onto the market of Lady Elizabeth Dering, the Irish noblewoman who, in 1665, married the first of the family at Kings Weston, Sir Robert Southwell. There are already paintings of the couple in the house; a pair of beautiful and characterful works. The newly uncovered painting has a well documented history and can be tracked from its original execution to its final sale out of the family in 1834 following the death of the last of the direct line.

Elizabeth Dering, by Sir Peter Lely and "Mr Sonius"

Elizabeth Dering, by Sir Peter Lely and “Mr Sonius”

The painting itself is vast; Over seven feet in height it is almost life size. It carries the name and date of its sitter in the lower left-hand corner, and Elizabeth stares out of the canvas with almost-luminous skin, and a distant gaze. A striking red shawl wraps through the painting, but, unusually, the dress she wears is jet black and isn’t as splendid show of opulent colour as one might expect from such a bold painting.

Elizabeth Dering, by Pooley, now in Kings Weston House.

Elizabeth Dering, by Pooley, now in Kings Weston House.

Clues to the painting’s origins are given in an early inventory of goods in the house compiled in 1695. With regard to the full-length portrait of Elizabeth it explains “the head done by Sir Peter Lely in 1680, a little before his death. The drapery by Mr Sonius”. Lely was the foremost court painter of his age, and his prolific output included the majority of the Royal family and nobility of Britain. At his death in November 1680 many of of the works in his studio were incomplete and finished by assistants, the Dering portrait no doubt amongst them. Elizabeth herself lived only a few months longer, dying in January 1681. It is therefore likely that the studio were instructed to complete the painting posthumously and the dark mourning dress of black symbolised the recent loss.

Elizabeth's memorial in Henbury Church

Elizabeth’s memorial in Henbury Church

The painting originally hung in the Southwell’s house in Spring Gardens, London, but quickly found its way to Kings Weston by the time the house was remodelled by Vanbrugh in 1712. All subsequent descriptions of the house mention it in the Breakfast Parlour overlooking the Severn; This space has since been opened out into what’s better known today as the Vanbrugh Room. When the last of the direct line of the family, Edward Southwell VI, Baron de Clifford, died in 1832 almost the entire contents of the house were auctioned in a lavish series of events in London. It appears that the Dering portrait was sold with one other of a similar size for the princely sum of £7!

The history of the painting since that auction remains uncertain. A number of auction stamps, and collection marks, on the timber stretcher hint at a long chain of subsequent ownership. No doubt in the future we may be able to find out who was interested enough in the sitter, or the portrait to own it, and who the mysterious painter, Mr Sonius was! The intention is that the painting will now return to Bristol. Plans are yet to develop for how public access and enjoyment of it can be arranged. At some point it would be wonderful to see it return to kings Weston in some form.

A love no longer evergreen

As with our work last year, this winter’s work in clearing the laurels has caused a little concern with regular park users. However it is key to understand how the problem has arisen in the first place.

Whilst much of the Kings Weston estate feels very wild it was not always the case. The whole of Penpole Wood and the Home Park were once carefully managed pleasure grounds and were carefully managed and embellished for well over four centuries. Penpole Wood, although partially ancient woodland, was set-out and maintained as part of the gardens to Kings Weston house.

Continuing clearance of invasive cherry laurel from Penpole Wood.

Throughout the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries the Southwell family who owned the estate sought to enhance the promenades and avenues. They sought not only to demonstrate their mastery over nature, and impress visitors with the latest imported trees and shrubs. To enliven the walks in the winter months they sought to introduce verdant colour through the planting of evergreen shrubs as an understorey. As with the selection of exotic tree species they planted both native and imported varieties, and the legacy of what they placed in the ground is very much with us today. Although the laurel now dominates this is the perfect time of year to identify more of the evergreen species that lend colour to the winter landscape and help us understand the design and layout of earlier ornamental planting schemes.

Below: A path at Newton St Loe where laurel and box are maintained to their originally intended C18th appearance. note also the use of yew trees picturesquely interspersed.

The Cherry Laurel we’re currently removing originally comes from Eastern Europe and Asia. It was used extensively at Kings Weston, and, when planted in the Eighteenth Century, would have been carefully cut and was intended to be maintained at a uniform height and scale. Many historic parklands retain this species, but only very few have the resources and patience to ensure they are trimmed as originally intended. A good example of the effect they would once have had can be gleaned from Newton St Loe, near Bath. Here Bath Spa University continues to manage the Capability Brown designed landscape in the traditional manner. When dealing with the monstrously large cherry laurels at Kings Weston it is difficult to imagine that they grew from such well-mannered shrubberies!

Also surviving within Penpole Wood are a number of Portuguese laurel. They too are an introduced species and would have been inter-planted to give variety of colour and texture with the cherry laurel. These are less invasive, and tend to be more compact, forming small trees with smaller, darker leaves.

Throughout the Georgian and Victorian period native species remained popular for understorey planting. Familiar hedging plants like box and privet can still be found, now growing wild, and interspersed through Penpole Wood, and behind the Echo. They’ve survived less well where out-competed by cherry laurel. Many of the English Yew within Penpole Wood are part of deliberate but long-forgotten planting schemes and have grown into maturing trees rather than the manicured bushes they were intended to form.

The native Butcher’s Broom was also a sought-after evergreen for ornamental planting. An unusual and distinctive plant with sharp spiny leaves and stiff branches it grows to about 2-3 feet in height in dense and well-defined patches. There are several remaining plants along the South Walk between the Echo and The Circle, but it survives less well in other parts of the estate where there has been greater competition for light.

Note also should be made of one other plant which still forms a notable and attractive component of the designed woodland areas: Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius). Although not evergreen it deserves mention here as a survival of Georgian and later planting schemes. A native of Southern Europe it is now naturalised in Penpole Wood and formerly flowered in sunny areas with richly scented white blooms. Our recent laurel clearance efforts also focussed attention on pruning a number of these plants along the main path through the woods. These should naturally regenerate into attractive and dense bushes. With the sunlight now able to penetrate into the woods these shrubs should again flower in coming years.

Below: A typical outcrop of Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus)

Evergreens will remain an important component of the Kings Weston landscape, though the problems with introduced species, and the decades-long neglect in maintaining them as originally planned, have distorted our perceptions of the woodland. Cherry laurel will continue to grow across the park, but the planters of the once-fashionable shrubs cannot have contemplated the damage they would cause to the landscape in the modern era. Now the dominant plant in many areas of the estate our love-affair with laurel has soured. It is our hope that, in reducing the coverage now, we will enable other species to take their place on the forest floor.

 

Need a niche new hobby for 2017?

We’ve been asked on more than one occasion what small square

One of the concrete markers with a bronze pin and reference letters

concrete tiles scattered around the estate were for. Until recently we were unable to offer a definite answer. The guesses ranged from drain markers or boundary stones, to something related to the Second World War camps; but the fact is much more curious.

Immediately after the war the Ordnance Survey undertook the large-scale re-surveying of the whole of England. Rather than use more modern methods such as aerial photography, they chose to undertake the survey work by hand. Teams of surveyors were set up around the country and each task with verifying, or correcting, each and every house, fence-line, wall, railway road footpath, and a huge multitude of geographic features on every map on the national grid.

The surveying equipment relied on direct sight-lines between one fixed point and the next. Urban areas offered many building corners, and hard edges in which to fix the small metal surveying point, but in the forest, like in Penpole Wood, the survey teams had to make other arrangements.The local team of surveyors chose to mark these “Revision Points” by setting uniquely referenced concrete blocks set into the ground. At the centre of each was the metal pin representing the centre-point from which all their measurements were taken, and a reference number was marked in the surrounding concrete when still wet.

Looking closely at post-war maps of Bristol on the city’s Know Your Place website (The map layer described as “1947-1965 OS National Grid – limited coverage”) you can start picking out the huge number of Revision Points scattered across the estate and marked “r.p.”. So, before the hipsters jump on “Revision Point spotting” as a quirky new hobby why not track them down for yourselves, or just keep your eyes open for one of these odd little historic artefacts underfoot next time you’re walking around the estate.

Revision Points marked throughout Penpole Wood on the post-war ordnance Survey maps.

A Delve into the Museum Stores

A recent visit to the back rooms of Bristol Museum and Art gallery has uncovered some interesting new finds. The museum holds an extensive collection of material on Kings Weston including paintings, prints, drawings, and artefacts. This particular visit was focussed on uncovering, and recording, some of the less well known images of the historic estate.

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Above: The view from Kingsweston Hill, a watercolour from the late C18th by Samuel Jackson (BMAG K181). Below-right: Sunset from Kingsweston Hill, circa 1790,Nicholas Pocock (BMAG Mb1996)

pococke-sunsetThere are a number of memorable paintings in the collection, just a small number of which we share here. Most are from the estate at the height of its fame in the late Eighteenth century, with many by notable artists of the “Bristol School” such as Francis Danby, Samuel Jackson, and Nicholas Pocock.
Of special interest was a large portfolio of art etchings by the eminent artist Robert Charles Goff (1837-1922). Most of the dozens of etchings are little to do with Bristol, but are significant for their connection with the last members of the Miles family. The collection was gifted to the museum in 1936 by  Mrs Sybil Napier Miles, the wife of Philip Napier Miles the last private owner of the estate, and her sisters. Goff was their brother-in law, having married Sybil’s sister, Clarissa, in 1899.

Below: The Sentinels, Kings Weston, Robert Goff, 1907(BMAG Mb2555)
goff-1907-sentinels
The Goff’s and the Miles’s were close and Robert and Clarissa were frequent visitors to both Kings Weston, and Napier Miles’s villa at Alassio in Italy. On Robert’s death in 1922 Clarissa came to live permanently with her sister and brother-in-law at Kings Weston, and presumably brought the artist’s portfolio of work with her.

Sadly for Sybil, both her husband and sister died in 1935 within weeks of each other, leaving her with a huge estate and the contents of the house to manage alone. Evidently she sought to ensure that Goff’s artworks were kept together as a single archive and, in memory of her sister, donated then to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery the following year. In this way the provenance of the works can be directly connected back to the artist’s ownership.

Amongst Goff’s works in Bristol museum are two etchings of Kings Weston. One, of 1907 we have discovered before and our Tree Trail guide sports a low resolution version of it, and the other completely new to us. This second view is taken from the Shirehampton Park side of the estate, where the parkland drops steeply down to Horseshoe Bend of the River Avon. It is a particularly pleasing composition with the once-famous pine trees framing glimpsed views back upstream to the Avon Gorge. This scene has sadly succumbed to the ravages of time and the Portway Road now passes through this very area.

In due course copies of all the artworks recorded will be uploaded to KWAG’s website to accompany the galleries of historic views.

Below: The Avon below Kings Weston, Robert Goff, drypoint etching. (BMAG Mb2552)

goff-shirehampton-park

4th Annual Big Bulb Plant! Coming soon!

Coming soon! Our next event will be our annual Big Bulb Plant. Now in its fourth year it offers a great family opportunity to make your own contribution to the park. This year we’ll be planting long the avenue close to the house and around the Shirehamoton Road car park. COME ALONG AND LEND A HAND!

Begun in 2012 as part of our Heritage Lottery Fund project Big Bulb Plant has continued as one of our big public events. This year our focus will be in two areas, along the recently cleared avenue into Penpole Woods, and nearby close to the Shirehampton Road car park. Native bluebells, fritillary, and daffodils have been bought already and will be with us ahead of the day on Saturday 15th October beginning at 10:30am at the Shirehampton Road public car park.
This is an ideal family event and a great way to get involved if our usual working party efforts are beyond your ability. Please see the poster below and download and print a copy for display if you have somewhere, or pass the message on to anyone who you think might be interested in joining us!

 

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Feedback required on developing plans

Over the last twelve months plans have been in development for the gardens and car park immediately around Kings Weston house. Proposals are now sufficiently developed to go out for public comment ahead of planning applications being lodged for the works. If you are a regular reader of our newsletters you will be aware of the on-going felling of trees and the removal of the ruins of QEH school. These works have been informed by the gradually developing plans that Norman Routledge at Kings Weston house and his architect and landscape designer have been working on. Through our regular steering group meetings with Kings Weston house and Bristol City Council, and with input from Avon Gardens Trust, the proposals have evolved and are presented here for your feedback and comments.
In summary there are two drawings here for consideration; The coloured drawing shows the masterplan for the area and has been drawn-up by Quentin Alder architects, and the second plan is a detailed proposal for the first phase of works including planting and detailed layout drawn up by Al Smart landscapes.

One of the key premises of the proposals is to maintain public enjoyment of the area around the house and we have wholeheartedly supported that aspiration by Norman. The other consideration needs to be ensuring the continued viable use of the house and grounds to secure the long-term future of the historic property. Proposals include for enhanced car parking in the current area with a small extension into the land formerly lost to the ruins.

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A new single-lane exit track is proposed to pass from the existing car park onto Kings Weston Lane to provide a safer vehicle exit from the grounds than is currently possible at the blind junction opposite Napier Miles Road. This would travel through the woodland area, towards the Echo, but be distinct from the main axial path, or the historic pleasure walk that passes close to the park wall. An existing opening in the wall would be re-used without further damage to the boundary. Proposals for the coffee shop terrace balustrade, the Great Court area, and improving the drainage and hard surfaces close to the house are also part of the wider scheme.

The detailed proposals relate to the first phase of works which relate mainly to the proposed landscaping and planting scheme. This currently does not include the expansion of the car park into the woodland area, or the new exit route. Many trees will be retained, and these will be complemented with more ornamental species. The car park will be linked to the main lawn by new paths crossing the current trench through the site and pleached lime trees and lower planting will create a buffer, concealing the car park from the gardens.
KWH - Layout plan (stage 1)
It is intended that a design competition be launched that will invite ideas for how the Great Court at the main front of the house could be recreated in some fashion. This idea is being developed with the support  of Bristol City Council and Norman Routledge and we will keep you abreast of how this develops.
We would very much like to hear your thoughts on the proposals. If you could get in touch with us by email or other means we’d like to collate them into a coordinated response from KWAG. If you are keen for your comments to be included we would be extremely grateful if you could get them to us by Monday 12th September. The proposed drawings can be seen here, or downloaded as two PDF documents here, and here.

A new Italian perspective

A new description of Kings Weston has come to light with some fascinating new detail about the estate dating from the height of its fame. The description comes from an Italian author, Luigi Angiolini, who was drawn to Kings Weston in 1788 by its international reputation. Two features in particular stand out in a translation of his 1790 book “Letters from England, Scotland and the Netherlands”, and are unique insights.

Kings Weston Echo statue

The statue in the Echo, 1927 (Country Life)

Describing his visit to the grounds Angiolini describes the long-lost statue in the Echo as being a “good ancient Roman” figure. This is the earliest mention of the statue we’ve so far found and adds considerable weight to our belief that it was a classical era state collected on the continent by one of the Southwell family and transported to the estate. Our identification of the pose as conforming to a standard classical portrait model, retrospectively categorised as “small Herculaneum Woman”, always implied that it was not a bespoke commission for the Echo. Had it been we might expect it to have represented a more recognisable deity.

We might hope that Angiolini’s assessment of the statue is based on a knowledge of ancient examples which, as he notes, survived in far greater numbers in his homeland; his countrymen lacking the same reverence or value that Gentlemen travelers from Britain attributed to them.

Sadly it’s likely that the only confirmation of the statue’s origins might come if it can be located, perhaps still, where anecdotal evidence suggests, tipped of off the terrace wall and into the ash pile close to the house.

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Detail of Isaac Taylor’s estate plan of 1772(Bristol Record Office)

Angiolini also treats us to another revelation about the landscaped grounds; He mentions an “artificial cave”, made of wood, and hidden in a grove of evergreens. Five years ago we identified an unusual feature in a 1772 map of Penpole Wood which may correspond to Angiolini’s cave, and, at the time, we tentatively attributed it to the landscape designer Thomas Wright. Since then we have proven Wright’s involvement in the design of the Kings Weston grounds and the description of a rustic wooden cave, intertwined with ivy, compares favorably with other known examples of then-fashionable grottoes and seats in Arcadian settings.  Such examples of “grotesque architecture” were perishable by nature, an intentional contrast to the permanence of classical garden temples, and so often decayed unrecorded, but a quarried area adjacent to one of the paths through the woods corresponds to the map location.

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An example of one of Thomas Wright’s designs from his book “Universal Architecture”

We are left to imagine what the structure looked like, but the closest example is the root house at Blaise Castle Estate. This was recorded by the artist Samuel Hieronymous Grimm the year after Angiolini’s visit to Kings Weston. Angiolini doesn’t mention visiting Blaise in his writings, and travels quickly on to Aust and the ferry to Wales. We trust that in describing the example at Kings Weston he was not conflating it with a similar rustic seat on the adjacent Blaise estate.

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The root house at Blaise Castle depicted by S H Grimm in 1789 (British Library)

A full translation of Angiolini’s description of Kings Weston follows:

“It was a total satisfaction to visit the palazzo of the Lord; It is not big, but is tasteful, with portico supported by columns in Palladian style, which I liked. I will not speak at length about the different parts that compose it; the paintings are mostly Italian, few originals, many copies, including some very good. I was occupied with the pleasure gardens, even those said orchards, namely gardens of fruits and green vegetables. I will not dwell on the way they are maintained; It would be easier to perform than to describe what I observed. The park, which is well cut with many majestic evergreen trees, obliges one to take a path which is long but not tiring, because one is amused by many diversions of variety and innovation. If ever you came into these parts, do not neglect to educate yourself of a point half a mile from the palazzo, from which you can discover all the Bristol Channel at once, the outlet of ‘Avon into Severn, the Counties of Somerset, Gloucester and Wilts, and a large tract of country of Wales. In the Gardens there is a good ancient Roman statue for which a temple has been built, if not very large, very elegant and dignified. In England, perhaps for the rarity, you have a respect and a reverence for old things that we, too abundant of them, do not. In the midst of an evergreen grove, there is a pleasant surprise, a kind of hidden cave, made of timber and artificially covered in ivy that appears alive. Englishmen are unique in their knowledge of how to contrive art from nature. “

Old Stone: New discovery

As well as uncovering the historic glasshouse wall KWAG’s recent clearance efforts uncovered a fascinating new fragment of the estates history. The discovery of a decorative cut stone fragment, still built into the wall, raises questions about where it came from.

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The stone fragment in-situ in the glasshouse wall

The stone is not in its original location; it’s built into the wall at about eight feet off ground level and with its carved mouldings formerly hidden within the fabric of the wall. This carved surface has now been revealed through the gradual collapse of the wall to the north of it. It measures approximately 7” x 7” x 4” and the stone is not from any of the quarries of the Kings Weston Estate. Instead it’s of the much finer oolitic limestone from quarries at Dundry or perhaps Bath. This finer grade of stone was frequently used for its easily worked qualities on ornamental work.

There are only two faces visible in the present location. The most diagnostic face has ovolo mouldings along its narrowest edge and is clearly set on its side so that its plainer face would have formed a flat surface within the glasshouse, with the ornamental parts deliberately obscured within the wall fabric.

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The stone mullion in-situ

By 1712, when the rebuilding of Kings Weston house and estate buildings were begun, mullion windows would have been anachronistic and ovolo mouldings replaced by new classical details. The mullion is likely to date from a period between the late-Sixteenth to the late-Seventeenth Century, but to be more precise is difficult. It is undoubted that the stone forms part of a window mullion, but from where, and under what circumstances did it end up in its current location?

Reconstruction of the stone fragment in the sort of context it was originally designed for.

Reconstruction of the stone fragment in the sort of context it was originally designed for.

From estate plans we can date the wall in which it presently resides to about 1770. This was towards the end of a period of major upheaval on the estate, when Edward Southwell III was, once again, remodelling and renewing Kings Weston house and its gardens and service buildings to a grand and new coordinated plan. The stables and walled gardens around the glasshouse are the most substantial evidence of that programme of development.

Southwell sought to lay out the new walled complex to accommodate all the services and kitchen gardens he was removing from their original locations. Originally densely massed around the rear of the house many structures would have pre-dated the mansion designed by Sir John Vanbrugh. Early engravings and estate plans show a series of low-rise structures arrayed around yards, no doubt swept away to expand the ornamental parkland setting.

The service buildings behind Kings Weston house in about 1710

The service buildings behind Kings Weston house in about 1710

So with this level of upheaval could the stone have come from one of these out-buildings on the other side of Kings Weston Lane? It is certainly a possibility that the rubble was salvaged and reused in new structures. It would be logical that the glasshouse, an ornamental building built for leisure rather than utility, would have followed the more important kitchen gardens and service blocks which needed to be complete before the old buildings across the lane could be decommissioned. It could then have been erected at a time when the old buildings were being dismantled and material transported the short distance across the lane for reuse.

However, there remain a couple of other possibilities. Although the late Tudor mansion that preceded the current house was demolished sixty years previously it is not inconceivable that material from it was still scattered about and scavenged for new building work, but perhaps the strongest argument can be made for it having been salvaged from buildings closer at hand.

Close to the site of the glasshouse we know that there were at least three properties in existence in 1720 each within its own plot(marked 1-3 on the plan). From a closely contemporary engraving we get a sense that these were good sized buildings, each of two storeys. Building 3 lay almost exactly on the site of the glasshouse, and all of these structures had been erased by the time the walled gardens were begun. There is a strong possibility that fabric could have been reutilised in the new works.

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Above: The 1720 estate plan and a near-contemporary engraving showing the buildings demolished for the walled gardens and stables

It is interesting to note the east-west alignment of building 2 on the plan and there is speculation that this structure may have incorporated the medieval chapel of St Thomas that was associated with the earlier manor. Sadly there’s been no recent identification of any medieval material at Kings Weston and the fragment of mullion post-dater the reformation when it was, most likely, abandoned.

The quarter of the walled gardens to the west of the stables, incorporating the remains of the glasshouse wall, may hold significant archaeological interest. Perhaps, in the future, we might be able to identify more of this cluster of earlier buildings, swept away in the Eighteenth Century race for modernity.