An Underground Surprise


Not a nice surprise at that.

On attempting to get our mini orchard off to a flying start by planting some of the fruit trees recently purchased, (including our rather lovely Scrumptious apple) we hit something hard with our spades, lurking just below the lawn. “Oh, it’s just a large stone” I said in hope. Surely it couldn’t be anymore loose bricks and rubble? We have already dug up enough of those from the vegetable garden plot to build a small house. OK maybe a slight exaggeration, but there are rather a lot of them.

On attempting to dig a little to the left, then a little to the right of the offending hard mass, we still hit it. We kept trying by going a lot further from the area but it was no good. “More bricks here then Rich, better get these out”.

Easier said than done. On further investigation which generally involved lots of probing and prodding with our forks whilst pulling very miserable looking faces, frowning and generally looking fed up, we had no choice but to keep trying to dig around the area until we found a way down and into the soil to lift the bricks out. At last we managed to find some soft ground and started to dig down, only to find the hidden foundations of a previous outbuilding. Oh no!

Looks like an earthquake

It all started to make sense. Whoever pulled down this building obviously buried all the bricks into what is now our vegetable garden, then chose to leave the foundations, fill them in, turf and forget about it. The foundations go down at least four bricks deep, on top of a thick layer of cement in a trench. We have removed the first two layers of bricks but we have to remove it all. Trouble is it gets more difficult the further down you go. Starting to see why they were buried and forgotten. Grrrrrr.

At least our kids had fun sitting on the foundations!  So, we soldier on with this setback and hope to get the trees planted very soon.

J & J playing on foundations as kids do

Bring back bramble roots, all is forgiven!!

8 thoughts on “An Underground Surprise

  1. Oh no! That is a surprise – maybe you should call in Time Team. When we moved into our house we had a raised bed at the top of the garden, when we finally set to work this was on the hit list, when hubby and my dad started demolishing it they discovered someone had buried a greenhouse in it – glass and all. Luckily we’d hired a skip as we were pulling up the old path, but adding a greenhouse to it made it a lot fuller than we imagined. I’m still picking up pieces of glass everywhere.


  2. Now, I must confess, as a former archaeologist, I would be pretty pleased to find the foundations of an old house in my garden but I can see how it would be a pain in the bum when it comes to gardening!!! Good luck with your excavation!


  3. Oh dear! That will make the job harder. Mind your backs etc in your eagerness to plant your trees. Still, at least you won’t need to join the gym or any keep fit class by the time you’ve finished. You make me feel like a right wimp as I can’t do very much digging at once, but I can do a lot more than I could a few years ago, and more this year than last.

    I hope this foundation won’t stop the orchard from going ahead. You have such wonderful plans for your garden, it would be a shame if they were set back too badly.

    Btw, I like the new look picture gallery at the top of your blog, – They are new, aren’t they. I haven’t just not noticed them?


  4. WPT – A buried greenhouse?!! And I thought our find was unusual!

    Rebecca – We did make jokes actually, saying maybe it was a Roman ruin or something. Its just your bog standard bricks, nothing special but a royal pain in the botty.

    Karin – It is going to slow us down, to be honest we are struggling to remove it all. Heavy duty tools and extra muscle power is needed. I have already dropped big hints to my brother, so perhaps this weekend he will lend a hand :)

    I dont know how I manage all the digging to be honest, I have a weakness in my back due to childbirth (our daughter, an epidural that went VERY wrong) but I find that I am able to do more as I get older.

    Thank you for the comments about the new look, its all new and im glad you like it :)


  5. Being raised on a farm where we planted everything from corn and soybeans to tomatoes and sweet corn your recent findings doesn’t surprise me. Growing up my father would till different parts of the farm and we were always digging up old foundations from farmsteads of yester year. It was always kind of fun to imagine who tilled the land and how the place looked 50 – 75 years ago.


  6. When we were putting a vegetable patch in at the back of our two-up, two-down in London, we found the foundations for a medieval tithe barn. It had been pulled down in the 1830s to make way for our row of “model cottages”, which the church built to show how workers could be housed. The local conservation officer was well chuffed to be able to map the location accurately.

    Our croft’s site has an even older history, going back to the Neolithic, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we came across post holes to go with the stone circle just across the road. We have found stone hand tools and previous owners found bronze arrow heads.

    I like the sense of continuity you get from living in a place like this.


  7. Oh, that does make things more difficult. I am sure that is a challenge in places with so much history. It would be interesting to solve the mystery of what it used to be, but I know when you are trying to use the land its not too interesting….. just in the way. Sorry!


  8. I have a feeling that I’m pulling apart an old wall or something in my veggie patch. The stones look too neat and regular, both in the size and shape and the way they are positioned next to one another in a neat seam, but there’s no record on old maps (of which there are many) to suggest what it is. I’m hoping for buried treasure. The OH hopes it’s a coffin so we can call in CSI bods…


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