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Morden Hall Park Stable Block, Morden, Greater London

Underdown, Simon and Kelly, Alison and Norman, Lucy (2009) Morden Hall Park Stable Block, Morden, Greater London. Project Report. Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Oxford Archaeology (OA) were commissioned by the National Trust to undertake historic building assessment and recording of the Stable Block at Morden Hall Park in advance of possible construction of a new gardeners' building and renovation and conversion of the Stable Block as part of the 'Livinggreen' HOP project aimed at promoting and implementing sustainable practises in the renovation and subsequent use of 19th century buildings. The project has brought together physical investigation and historic and SMR sources to create an overview of the history use and significance of the building and an assessment of the archaeological potential of the site. The proposed development site also includes an earlier wall containing several features associated with historic bee-keeping and this has also been considered in the report. The Morden stables are not listed but are arguably in the curtilage of several other buildings in the park including the hall which are on the statutory list. Of all the buildings on the estate the stable block is the one which most noticeably stands out as a new building constructed at the creation of the Hatfeild estate as a status symbol for Gilliat Hatfeild playing the role of the country squire or lesser landed gentry. The building is significant for this reason and for the integrated elements of the design that were intended to cater for the comfort and well being of the horses. The most significant surviving area is the north-west corner where a proportion of the original stall and box fittings survive, including evidence for alterations which created two loose boxes out of three former stalls. The main fabric of the stables has survived largely intact and although some elements of the fixtures and fittings survive, notably the floor and drainage patterns and parts of stall and loose box divisions in the north-west part of the block, many elements have gone, including all the fittings and finishings in the former harness room. Other areas principally designed for storage of food and bedding material in the west range probably changed little as they would have had fewer fittings originally, the corn store for example retains its raised timber floor for keeping the corn dry and away from vermin. South-west of the stables is the earlier garden or orchard boundary wall which may date from the late 17th century. This wall partially divides off an area used for beehives and the eastern end of the wall, although now outside the apiary area, was historically used for bee-keeping and has a series of bee boles built into the wall. The wall was partially rebuilt in the 19th century however, the older section of wall is in a fragile state and the bee boles in particular are vulnerable. There are few surviving examples in the region with only six other records for pre 20th century bee boles in the historic county of Surrey listed on the IBRA Bee Boles Register, some of which are no longer extant.A study of the SMR entries for the site has been used to assess the likely below ground archaeological potential of the site and the probable impact of renovations and possible new build on any archaeology. This concludes that there is low potential for prehistoric Roman or Saxon archaeology to be present and moderate potential for medieval remains associated with a manor located south of the site and also moderate potential for evidence of the buildings that immediately preceded the construction of the stables although it is likely that landscaping and construction of the stables has removed any former upper archaeological deposits within the site. It is appropriate that this building is being given a new lease of life through a scheme which promotes and highlights environmentally sustainable methods and materials. The original stable complex was in some ways a self sustaining system in that hay and straw for fodder and litter and possibly grains and vegetables for feed were probably produced on the estate farms and the soiled litter would be used as manure to fertilise the ground for new crops. The water came from a well adjacent to the stables and the foul and surface water from the stables, after filtering, returned to the river system. Horses could of course reproduce themselves and gas for lighting was perhaps the only major non-sustainable element in the system.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Historic Building Assessment and Survey
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Greater London
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
ID Code:171
Deposited By: Joseph Reeves
Deposited On:24 Feb 2010 15:07
Last Modified:22 Dec 2011 14:25

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