Stourhead Gardens

Stourhead House at Mere in Wiltshire is a National Trust property set in 40 acres (16 ha) of magnificent gardens. The site was bought by London banker Henry Hoare in 1718, who knocked down the existing Stourton House and began building his own. In 1741 his son, Henry, went to live with his father on the estate and spent the next forty years landscaping his surroundings. Much of the garden is classically influenced and it includes a number of temples and shrines as well as a grotto and the Pantheon. (See photo)
Summer 2005: Underwater archaeologists carried out a study of the lake in front of the Temple of Flora in a bid to find physical evidence of a water cascade that is shown in a 1753 painting of the estate.  It appears that such a cascade did once exist but it was swamped when the valley was flooded to create the lake.  The survey also found evidence for medieval fishponds. One unusual find was a stoneware ink bottle that was dredged from the lake bed during the study.
National Trust Magazine Autumn 2005.