Stuart Flower Power

Julian Mann observes excavations of the Stuart garden at Kirby Hall.

Sophisticated seventeenth-century flower pots are among the booty from English Heritage's recent excavations of the formal gardens at Kirby Hall, near Gretton, Northamptonshire.

The pots belong to the period of the creation of the Great Garden, which was added to the grounds of the Elizabethan Renaissance house by the owner, Sir Christopher Hatton III, in about 1640. He was a distant relative of the Elizabethan grandee and Chancellor to the queen, Sir Christopher Hatton, who owned the house short1y after it was built in the 1570s.

English Heritage say the flower pots are 'our jolliest find'. According to archaeologist Brian Dix, the pots boast an intricate drainage system consisting of a hole at the bottom with more holes 'punched into the side of the vessel just above the junction with the base'.

The excavations, being carried out as part of a long-term plan to restore the gardens to their seventeenth-century grandeur, have also uncovered the wall of a cottage belonging to the medieval village of Kirby, which had to make way for the Great Garden in the 1640s. Mr Dix believes the cottages had been vacated by this time.

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