Works at Sanctuary Gardens, Church Road, Bristol

BaRAS are involved in excavation and watching brief prior to and during construction groundworks for 11 detached dwellings at Sanctuary Gardens.

The present Lias rubble, red brick and limestone walls and apsidal exedra or gazebo near Church Road are Grade II listed buildings in the Byzantine style and thought to date from c1868 (not c1880, as the English Heritage listing states). These structures, awaiting restoration, originally lay within a large formal garden belonging to Sneyd Park House on Goodeve Road and have been recorded by BaRAS. The house was built in the late 1860s for Mr James Derham of Derham Brothers boot & shoe manufactory, which had a factory in Barton Street, St James, Bristol.

The property was bought c1925 by Capt. E. G. Mardon, RNVR, a son of Mr Heber Mardon of Mardon, Son & Hall, the printing firm (now Lawson Mardon Packaging, of Warmley). On his death in 1943 the property was sold and in 1947 it was converted into flats, while the northern half of the gardens was acquired by Bristol City Council and several prefabricated bungalows were built, now demolished.

archaeological excavation work at sanctuary gardens in bristol

Stone foundations forming part of the c.1868 glass house or palm house (foreground), with gazebo and octagonal brick columns in the background

The current monitoring commenced in May 2011 and initially involved recording the demolition of a late 19th-century stone retaining wall associated with a large Victorian greenhouse or palmhouse that formerly stood south of the former kitchen garden. This fieldwork was followed by the excavation of a single 30 x 5m trench on the site of the greenhouse, during which a contemporary subterranean brick- and stone-built water cistern and other structural remains were recorded.

The watching brief continues.

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