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Hampton Court Proposed Music Festival Site East Front Gardens

Gill, Jonathan Hampton Court Proposed Music Festival Site East Front Gardens. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Oxford Archaeology (OA) has been commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) to undertake an archaeological desk-based assessment of the potential archaeological implications of holding an annual music festival in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace. The assessment has been based on the principal historical sources, known archaeological records, aerial photographs, investigations elsewhere at the palace (particularly the Privy Garden), a site visit and discussions with relevant experts. The music festival would be held in the gardens on the east side of Hampton Court, in an area which prior to the late 17th century largely formed part of the parkland which at that date extended right up to the east side of the Tudor palace. The area was transformed by the construction of a spectacular parterre garden by the newly crowned monarchs, William and Mary, in 1689-91 and this forms by far the greatest area of archaeological potential in the music festival site. The hugely elaborate parterre would have required a very high level of maintenance and this, together with a desire to have a more English style of garden, led to the French parterre being substantially removed in 1703-1707, less than 20 years after it was established. The HCP Gardens, Estate and Landscape Conservation Management Plan describes the Great Fountain Garden as ‘one of the most important and recognisable historic gardens in Europe’ and the Great Parterre was a key element of that. Although the parterre was short lived it was the centrepiece of the original Fountain Garden and for a short period it would have been perhaps the most spectacular element of the palace gardens. The simpler design of the Great Fountain Garden which Queen Anne laid out has survived relatively unchanged since the first decade of the 18th century, other than fluctuations in planting tastes and other minor changes.The current development site lies over the southern segment of the semi-circular Great Fountain Garden and continues south towards the Thames. The music festival will include the construction of a number of temporary structures including a stage, a tip-seat grandstand, an area with folding chairs and toilets. It is understood that none of the new buildings will require intrusive ground works such as trenching or services but the music festival will have a range of other potential impacts. These include the compression or compaction of the buried remains from the buildings, particularly the stage and grandstand.It is likely that substantial remains survive from the Great Parterre including evidence of paths, edgers, tree holes, fountain bases, and water pipes and that these may be buried at a relatively shallow depth. An aerial photograph taken during a dry summer shows distinct parchmarks which are strongly suggestive of elements of the Great Parterre, particularly one of the circular fountain bases. However the remains should be relatively robust and it is considered unlikely that the compression impacts from the proposed development would cause extensive or substantial harm to them. Both the type of geology in the area and the nature of the likely archaeological remains should limit the impact of the compaction from the development. The types of archaeological sites which would be particularly at risk from compression impacts would be those with fragile remains or voids such as a Roman villa with a mosaic or hypocaust floor or a cemetery with coffins and skeletons. In contrast the remains of the Great Parterre should be relatively compact and robust. It is known that waterlogged sites or areas with a clay geology are more likely to deform than quick-draining sites such as the gravel terrace on which Hampton Court is located. The development may cause some sub-surface movement but it should not cause significant damage to the remains. Other potential impacts may include erosion from increased foot traffic and potentially occasional vehicular traffic. A geophysical survey has been commissioned and this will help to clarify the presence and extent of buried archaeology within the area. An archaeological evaluation in the area of greatest potential compaction impact (the grandstand) would also help to confirm the depth of archaeological remains and their level of preservation.

Item Type:Client Report
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Surrey
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
ID Code:4584
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:09 Jan 2019 09:15
Last Modified:09 Jan 2019 09:15

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