Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Reconstructing King John's Palace

In the heart of Medieval Sherwood forest lies the Royal deer park of Clipstone, and the Royal palace and hunting lodge known as King John's Palace. 

Picture: Reconstruction of King John's palace, by Andy Gaunt, 2011.

In 2011, a reconstruction of the Medieval landscape of Clipstone was undertaken  by Andy Gaunt (now Director at Mercian Archaeological Services CIC 

The reconstruction formed part of the paper entitled: Clipstone Park and the Kings Houses:Reconstructing and interpreting a medieval landscape through non-invasive techniques,

The study focused in particular on the landscape setting of the hunting lodge, and the landscape of the park and parish. 

Picture: Reconstruction of Clipstone Parish in the Medieval Period. Based on Historic Mapping Sources by Andy Gaunt at Birmingham University using ArcGIS

The project combined: Geophysics- resistance survey, historic mapping, documentary research, infra-red remote sensing data, and reconstruction using a combination of ArcGIS and ArcScene. 

The Geopysical survey revealed buried foundations and ditches associated with the hunting lodge (and was the first to cover the whole site of the palace). 

It was used alongside infra-red data, and aerial photography from a number of years which revealed cropmarks. Combined these processes helped form the basis for interpretive building reconstruction.

These combined fieldwork and desk based techniques enable Gaunt to identify the site as far larger than previously considered, identifying it as cover the 7 acres of the 'Mannorgarth' as depicted on the 1630 survey of Clipstone.

Picture: Reconstruction of the landscape setting of King John's palace (southwestern approach). Based on Historic Mapping Sources by Andy Gaunt at Birmingham University using ArcGIS and 3D Analyst

In order to create an accurate reconstruction, the paper also discussed the possible boundaries of the park in the late 13th or 14th centuries. (A paper has been submitted on the the research into the boundaries, to the Transactions of the Thoroton Society).

Andy Gaunt identified the landscape as being a designed medieval parkland romance landscape, using historic documents and historic mapping, including the William Senior Map of 1630, to reconstruct the landscape.

The paper compared it to landscapes depicted in the Gawain and Green Knight poem.

You can read the paper on Mercian's publications page

Andy's theories were later published in the Transactions of the Thoroton Society Journal.

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