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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 [Client Report] (Unpublished)

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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
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

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Surrey
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Buildings
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 09:15
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2019 09:15
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/4584

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