Parlington Hall :: The Cellar

The stairway leading down to the cellar, as it was being excavated, during the summer of 2005. Below is a short description of the discovery.

Excavations into the Cellar


Continuing the dig along the line of the existing wall in a southerly direction, another wall became apparent running at right angles to the main wall, the demolition fill was very loose and comprised mainly pieces of brick and occasional fragments of Westmoreland slate from the roof, additionally large stone masonry from the facade of the old hall was to be found. About five feet below ground level the second wall revealed a course of bricks on edge forming a semi-circular arch, I peered through into the dark void, flashing my torch to see what lay beyond.

Excitedly I dug into the fill beneath the archway opening a hole sufficiently large to get through into the void . . . I slid down a short slope and found myself in a cellar.

Arched Entrance

Entrance Archway

It was an amazing find so completely unexpected. The dank atmosphere added to the creepy feeling and I was only twelve feet or so underground.

Arched Stone Roof of Cellar

Cellar Arched Roof/Ceiling

I was standing in a large basement perhaps 24 by about 12 feet wide, the limestone walls and vaulted ceiling clearly showed the chisel indentations from the mason, as he had cut and dressed the stone, perhaps many hundreds of years before. A few short strands of vegetation hung limply from some of the joints in the arch, beneath, in the natural stone that formed the floor were shallow indentations by dripping water seeping through the ceiling.

At the far end of the basement was a square drain, it's lip was above the surface of the floor. Fortunately the long summer had been dry and there was no trace of water, only watermarks at the foot of the stone walls.

Evidence of Old Walls

Cellar Outline of Walls and Shelves

The room had originally been divided by internal walls, forming a series of small lobbies, six in all, each with two stone shelves. Only the impressions in the wall surface remain. The impact of the emptiness of the place beyond the reach of the torch was strangely claustrophobic. Old rusting enamelled steel bowls and ceramic pots lay scattered about. Lying in the fill was a piece of what looked like a fine porcelain cup, too dirty to discern its decoration, but clearly from a quality service.

Weimar Porcelain Cup

Weimar Cup

I wondered if the rest of the cup was anywhere to be found. There was no sign of any other pieces of it or anything remotely similar. [Later, the other half was found in the demolition fill, glued together as above]

View Towards South Wall

Cellar South Wall

Squeezing through the small opening, up the ladder and out of the excavation, I was again back in the bright light of a summer's day.

Looking Back Towards the Entrance

Cellar Entrance Stairway

The Cellar Location

Cellar South Wall

The cellar lies beneath a room that was called the Small Drawing Room and is shaded on the plan.

The Stone Cellar Steps

Cellar Steps

The stairs uncovered as the excavation proceeded. (Nine uncovered so far)

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Please read this in conjunction with the Pop-Up plan layout of the probable demolition sequence.
The section annotated as the Pre 1952 Demolition: Porte Chochère, Main Entrance Hall, Ancilliary single storey structures, Kitchens, Servants hall, [highlighted in maroon] were removed some years earlier than the section [Highlighted in Green] which were removed from 1952. The Demolitions sequence is a bit out of date now, as new evidence has enabled me to be more precise about when certain parts were removed, the plan will be updated soon, in the meantime the overall pricipals remain similar. For example the 1952 Demolition was not a precise date, the structure was dismantled gradually, probably into the late 1950's. The section descibed as 1965+ can be split into two the lower section beyond the Yard and main Stable Block, was removed pre 1952, possibly around the 1930's.

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