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Walled Garden’s ‘Fruitful’ Past

30 August 2016

The hidden secrets of Auckland Castle are now being uncovered.

A specialist team, made up of staff from Durham University’s Archaeological Services department, as well as more than 70 volunteers from Auckland Castle Trust, has already unearthed a host of fascinating finds at the Walled Garden, originally commissioned by Bishop John Cosin in the 17th Century.

Among the most exciting findings are the footings of Bishop Richard Trevor’s pioneering 1750s Pinery-Vineries, fuelled by the plentiful coal supplies of County Durham, which allowed the Georgian Bishops to enjoy exotic fruits, particularly pineapples.

The remnants of an elaborate system of flues and furnaces that would have been used to heat Bishop Richard Barrington’s Peach House in the 1790s, allowing for the growth of vines, figs and other soft fruits, have been also found.

An interpretation of these findings, uncovered over the past four months, will be displayed as part of a reimagining of the Walled Garden, which gets underway later this year.

The archaeological team are now moving on to explore the historic curtain walls of the Castle, as well as its Scotland Wing, which will soon be extended to house the UK’s first museum exploring a history of faith in the British Isles.


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