Notice ; Archaeologist Nick Hanks will hopefully dig here again later in the year.
There is a new information board at the Melorn Village site to explain the discoveries so far. Many of the finds are also on display in the Centre.
Take a look at www.northcornwallheritage.co.uk for more information
A few years ago two quartz cobbles were exposed when repairs were being undertaken on the visitor path. Research then revealed a reference to Lady Dowager Falmouth having created a garden around the 6th century King Arthur’s Stone, next to the Camel River ‘ some years before the writer saw it’ ( 1754). In 2004 we started to look for clues. More and more cobbles were exposed and in 2005 a 2m circle was revealed in the centre of the cobbles. Within the circle a crescent of nine quartz cobbles complete the mosaic. This would have been visible from a terrace on the cliff above. Immediately behind this circle is a level area in the slight slope of the pavement. To one end of this is a small post hole, which when excavated revealed rusted nails. This suggests the location of a garden seat.
A number of fragments of 18th century bottle glass were found on the pavement surface. Most significantly in a large deposit at the southern end of the site, one had an embossed stamp saying ’N Barriball, White Hart, 1716’. (The N is reversed.). The finding of the bottle on the cobbled surface indicates that the garden may date from the earlier period of Charlotte Boscawen’s (only later Lady Dowager Falmouth) occupation of Worthyvale Manor (c.1700 – 1705 + 1734-1754).
A path lead from a ‘ folly’ on a low mound (a house now occupies the site), via winding paths, rock carved steps and the cliff terraces, one cobbled with quartz with a seat to the centre piece and the reason for the garden being here. In the deepest part of the garden lies (probably once stood) the Arthur Stone in a natural ‘grotto’ beside the River Camel. According to Dr. Tim Mowl, garden historian, the use of an Arthurian feature in this garden is very unusual as it is so early, most such features are in 19th century gardens. She died in 1754 and may not have completed her design. It was soon lost and forgotten.
We have only begun to scrape the surface ( literally) of our very own ‘Secret Garden’. We would love to share this exciting journey of discovery into the past with anyone interested in helping. There is so much to do and if you would like to have a go at digging, washing finds, earth moving etc, please join us and help us learn more about our Lady Falmouth and what inspired her to create a beautiful, romantic garden on the banks of the River Camel 300 years ago.
* Contact Joe on 01840 213947 for more details.
COME AND SEE THE GARDEN AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF ITS RESTORATION AFTER NEARLY 300 YEARS!!
The excavations are currently being carried out by North Cornwall Heritage with Dr Niall Finneran of Winchester University Niall.Finneran@winchester.ac.uk
We are open seven days a week from 10am – 5pm ( Easter to end of the October half term holiday).