Advertiser Articles Excavations The Hall

Advertiser Mag :: 2019 #20

Excavation down to the Cellar beneath the Small Drawing Room

The majority of articles I have written on the topic of Parlington concern historical events,  references to lost heritage or details of the estate landscape and structures. However there is one event even though some fourteen years since, still affords me a moment to marvel at what occurred. The remains of Parlington Hall are essentially a chunk of the west wing, sections of the house which were for service and work. Only a small piece was part of a suite of rooms described as Col. Gascoigne’s room, basically his study I presume, on the ground floor at the north east corner. Later alterations in the nineteen eighties remodelled that end of the remaining structure to form the main elevation to what we see today.

The bulk of the principal rooms to the hall were all to the east and north of the present building, today a grassed area. During the early summer of 2005 whilst cutting the grass I happened upon a rabbit hole newly dug into the soft turf. I noticed that the hole had been excavated alongside a brick wall, the top of which was scarcely below the surface. The rabbits were obviously still in residence so I elected to leave them until they vacated the warren after the offspring had left, knowing that with the dog around, and frequent visits by badgers in the night, they were unlikely to be long term squatters!

True enough after a week or so there was no sign of the rabbits, but the wall was intriguing and prompted some human investigation. Removing the turf revealed a wall running roughly north-south comprised of very old weathered brickwork. I proceeded to dig a trench adjacent to the wall and over a number of evening sessions over the next week or so I found myself in a hole waist deep in largely demolition material. The trench became wider as my excavations deeper due to the loose nature of the rubble. Eventually another brick structure on the south end of my digging, running a right angles to the wall became apparent, and given the nature of the bricks it was obviously an arch. I pressed on, as the arch was further revealed with every spade full removed. Soon it became obvious that all the rubble had not spilled into the space beyond the arch and slowly a gap under the brickwork was forming, soon sufficient to slide through…  Conclusion of this drama next month!

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