The JESSOP Consultancy (TJC Heritage Ltd)

Lichfield + Sheffield + Oxford

Tackley Water Gardens,

Tackley, Oxfordshire

Grade II* registered Historic Park and Garden (NHLE: 1001109); Scheduled Monument (SM: 1007716); Conservation Area

Earthwork Survey, Project Management to restore 17thC Gardens

OASIS: thejesso1-172365

The Grade II* registered gardens at Tackley have undergone a programme of vegetation removal, clearance, silt clearance and restoration of the culverts, being funded by a Higher Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England. The site is a Scheduled Monument and The JESSOP Consultancy were commissioned prior to undertake a hydrology study and structural survey of each component of the water system.

The gardens were part of the estate of John Harborne (1582-1651), who in c.1615 built a new manor house (now demolished) west of the village green. He created a detached formal water garden 250m east of the green between 1620 and 1623 to a unique design comprising a series of square and triangular ponds, with central islands connected to surrounding walks via narrow causeways, or isthmus. The water garden was never completed, lacking a fourth major pond. The gardens, as built, were a prominent feature of the village until the 19th century, when they became neglected and gradually fell into decline.

This archaeological analysis was based upon a detailed earthwork survey by the former Royal Commission of Historic Monuments of England in 1991, but the individual elements of the water infrastructure were found to be relatively intact.

Water was supplied via two header ponds that allowed a constant flow to be maintained between each pond, with external ditches provide a means of regulating the flow controlled via vertical sluice gates and underground culverts.

Scope of work: archive research, earthwork survey, consultancy and advice, hydrological assessment, archaeological watching brief during ground-works