Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Through the new green gate

Continuing the garden tour . . .

Follow the hen through the hazel arch and around the dragonfly pond and what's this?!!!

A new green gate! That wasn't there before!

Over the past few weeks Cliff has been working very hard constructing a new fence and this new gate. It's all part of our exciting new garden project which started way back in August 2008 – in fact it was a couple of days after I came home from hospital after a serious operation. Since we moved here 10 years ago, I had always dreamed of extending the end of the garden to the field boundary the other side of a small wooded area; and then one afternoon we had one of those 'we could do it now or never' opportunities – we asked if we could buy the land and the owner said yes! Hurrah! well we then had to wait for all the paperwork and legal stuff to happen, which it did (but very, very slowly – so slowly that I postponed being excited). And now we are owners of . . .


As you can see it's not very big or particularly wild – but we have plans :-)

And we now have a view from our garden, out over the fields . . .

We also have 'stuff' buried in the ground – lots and lots of broken pieces of something which was very big and curved and got very, very hot. So hot that some of the bricks melted!

One piece has part of an inscription on it . . .

I think the last part may have read STOURBRIDGE, a town which was the main source of clay for fire bricks and kilns.

So what was it? Any ideas?

We have a two possible theories . . .

• It was the brick kiln used to make all the bricks for our garden wall. But that was over 250 years ago. Does it look that old?

• It was a furnace of some kind used by the local forge which was located on the opposite bank of the brook which runs alongside the land.

Any ideas?


  1. Ooo how exciting!

    It looks like it says something 'Jun[io]r Limited 13? Stourbridge"? A company name of some kind perhaps?

    It was lovely to see you today - hope you had fun up in North Norfolk!

  2. oh I hope you save that! At least the part with the lettering. I bet it was part of the kiln. And with the other pieces having melted they were so hot, that would sure make sense. What a treasure.

  3. How lovely to have a woodland garden. The mystery object is very unlikely to have been a brick kiln, because even into the 20th century large-scale brick and tile manufacturers were still using wood-fired beehive kilns to make their bricks, so if you know that your walls are 250 yrs old, that's likely to be much too early - unless you know anything about the man who built them.

    As to the Stourbridge connection: you have to ask yourself how something from the industrial midlands ended up in Norfolk. The answer is that Stourbridge was a centuries-old iron centre which industrialised early, had a canal to ship goods out, and then became an early railway centre. So your piece of ironmongery cannot pre-date the canal (they'd never have got it to Norfolk without - roads didn't become efficient until the invention of tarmac), which I've just looked up, and it was opened in 1779. And something as valuable as that would probably not have been used to make bricks, unless there was a rich/mad/innovative landowner involved.

    The more information you can get about the company name, the more likely you are to be able to solve this intriguing mystery. I hope you'll be able to make a historical garden ornament out of the pieces


  4. Hi Sarah and Jon - hope you're having a good day today. I love the bird print - can't wait to get it framed for the kitchen.

    Hi Diane - I think Joanna has made a good point. And the lettering of the inscription and the melted bricks look 19th or early 20th rather than 18th century.

    Hi Joanna - thank you - that's given me some useful pointers. The garden wall bricks were probably made locally but not in this structure. I think it must have been a furnace for manufacturing something. More research is needed. Meanwhile we're piling up the demolished structure and making them into 'beetle hotels' adorned with ferns. I like the idea that our 'Wild Wood' is an old industrial site.


  5. congrats on expanding your land! looking forward to seeing how your unruly wood transforms into wild wood! have the undergardeners expressed surprise at the new gate?

  6. I LOVE the wild wood- it's so very beautiful! I also adore the little gate :)

    I'm glad I found your blog from "Living on the Witchy Side" :)


  7. How exciting - more land! I wonder if we could buy the paddock at the end of our garden? I know it would become an orchard if we could. However, 3 displaced horses would hate us forever!

  8. Hurrah, I'm glad you're finally in there!

  9. Gosh!How exciting, congratulations on your purchase.Putting off excitement is awful but when it all happens in the end it's wonderful.Much work to do now!
    Maybe you should get TimeTeam in for a look,Just kidding!

  10. How exciting! I look forward to reading about what you do to your new area.

  11. Sounds as if this could be a job for the "Time Team". Go on, ring them! Then Phil-with-the-feather could come and get all enthusiastic. (Yes, we have that here in Australia on TV)

  12. No ideas but it's all very exciting!

  13. Oh what exciting news! You very own wild wood. I bet that you two are going to have fun with that project.

  14. Hi Petoskystone - Head-hen Ruby has been through to gate and rummaged in the leaf mould. The others wouldn't cross the invisible barrier!

    Welcome to PPPs Eco Yogini.

    Hi Veg Heaven - it is small, calling it The Wild Wood is stretching it really, but the name has now stuck.

    Hi Dottycookie - I'm doing a little dance of excitement!

    Hi eag - I'd love to find out more about what the rubble was. But I want to plant woodland plants and make a lovely place to sit and gaze across the fields.

    Hi Toffeeapple - The Wild Wood will definitely be a new feature on PPPs.

    Hi Moreidlethoughts - Oh blimey - Phil in his shorts and sweaty hat scraping around in a trench at the end of the garden - Nooooo! But that nice chap who looks at maps and 'reads the landscape' can call round :-)

    Thank you Gina - we've lived here 10 years and it fun to add something to the plot.

    Hi CS - It's been fun already - when I get the veg all in hand I'll spend the summer in the shade making windy paths, woodland banks and wildlife zones.


    PS thanks to thoughts from a 'brick boffin' who emailed me, we now think the rubble is from a 19th century furnace (or kiln). This rules out it being the kiln where our wall bricks were fired. The two favourite opotions are:

    A: A furnace which was part of the village forge situated on the opposite bank of the brook. This was in use through the 19th and 20th centuries, closing in the 1950s.

    B: It could be a brick kiln which was mentioned in a land sale document in 1858. The location of this kiln is a mystery but was owned by The Hall which is a couple of fields away.


I love reading all the comments (except for spam and advertising which I will delete) and I'll reply here in the comments under each blog post, it may take a few days if I'm busy.
You don't need to have a blog to leave a comment, you can select the name/URL option and fill in just your name instead of a blog link.