Old Melorn

Location of trenchesA number of trenches have been dug here. The most revealing have been Trenches 1 and 3 on Building 3. A corner of this building was buried below the square enclosure E1. This was the first trench dug on the site, and began as part of the Time Team Big Dig in 2003. It has revealed two ends of the building. The west end has two rooms, a granite pillar, fireplace and the base of a spiral stair. The east end (Trench 3) has two rooms, a doorway and several different floor levels indicating changes of use or abandonment (but the sequence was not clear due to robbing of the building), flagstones of different quality, and a furnace cinder floor suggesting metal working in the final stage of the buildings use. Roof slates, window glass and lead, a musket ball, some redeposited worked flint, a curious tin disc and domestic pottery from the 13th to 18th centuries was found in the west end (Trench 1). A surprising find was a 15th century spur from the fill around the base of the granite pillar. The east end had a small quantity of similar pottery, but little else except the remains of the metal work belonging to the door.

15th century spur

Trench 2, on Building 1, revealed much less than expected. This was due to the soil being so stable the clear lines in the turf that were thought to be walls turned out to be robber trenches. So only a few of the stones of the foundation of the walls were shown to still be in place, and floor surface, such as flag stones, seems to have been robbed. However, a half cellar which was added to this building which left no trace on the surface has survived to a depth of 0.5m, but also without a clear floor surface. This area was virtually free of finds except for some roof slates, some still with their nails in situ.

Lady Falmouth's Garden

Lady Falmouth's gardenThe main feature revealed during excavation in the garden is a mosiac pavement made of quartz cobbles. At the centre is a 2m circle of the cobbles with the initials CF (Charlotte Falmouth). And within it a crescent of nine quartz cobbles (the largest in the pavement). This would have been visible from the terrace and the cliff above. Immediately behind this circle is a level area (1.25m long, 0.75m) in the slight slope of the pavement. This suggests the location of a garden seat. To one end of this is a small post hole, or dent, (c.0.2m diameter, c.0.05m depth) in the pavement, in which were found some nails. However, there was no corresponding feature at the other end of the level area. At the north end of the mosaic is a rectangle free of cobbles which would have been the bas for a structure, possibly wooden steps to the terrace above.

A number of fragments of 18th century bottle glass were found on the pavement surface. Most significantly in a large deposit at the southern end of the site, one had an embossed stamp saying ’N Barriball, White Hart, 1716’. (The N is reversed.) The White Hart is a local Inn not far from the Slaughterbridge. This suggests a possible date for the start of the garden of shortly after 1716, but Charlotte's husband did not become Viscount Falmouth until 1720 and by that time she was no longer living at Worthyvale. So the garden could also date from her later residencey between 1735 and 1754.

bottle fragmentAbove this terrace is another to the north, which is similarly without trees, and has the remains of a parapet wall. This had partly collapsed on to the pavement below. There is access between these two levels is by a short flight of steps cut into the bedrock at the far north end of this terrace. These steps are now incorporated into the current visitor path. Other rock cut steps, now partly destroyed by undermining by the River Camel lead down to the Arthur Stone.

Other excavation work is being done to trace the line of paths leading towards the mosiac pavement, and to plan the cascades which are submerged in the river. The level of the River Camel was lower in the 18th century, when at least one mill diverted a significant amount of the flow of the river past this point.


Work has only just begun on the first trench on the Battlefield, but a few finds below the surface including some possible prehistoric worked quartz.