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Golden Parsonage, Great Gaddesden

In the civil parish of Great Gaddesden.
In the historic county of Hertfordshire.
Modern Authority of Hertfordshire.
1974 county of Hertfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL05331242
Latitude 51.80052° Longitude -0.47388°

Golden Parsonage, Great Gaddesden has been described as a Timber Castle but is rejected as such.

There are earthwork remains.

Description

Tree-covered mound near Golden Parsonage. Variously described as a tumulus, windmill mound, 'adulterine' castle etc. Excavations in 1981 revealed it to be mid 19th century and presumably constructed as an 'eye-catcher' (Doggett and Hunn 1982) within the park. Further work to test a suggestion that it might have covered an icehouse found no trace of any structure (Doggett and Hunn 1987). It looks like a prospect mound, although the mid 19th century is late for such a feature. (Hertfordshire HER)

"A curious small artificial mound or tumulus" at Golden Parsonage. This has been opened up but was found to contain nothing. Its origin is unknown. (VCH; RCHME)
Listed by Dyer (1959) as a possible Saxon barrow, called "Golden Lowe" in the 12th century, quoting Grinsell (1952) as authority. However, Grinsell makes no connection between "Golden Lowe" and the mound at Golden Parsonage and there appears to be no justification for Dyer's assertion. "Golden Lowe" appears to have been situated in the Dunstable area (Mawer, A. and Stenton, F.M., 1926, The Place-Names of Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire (English Place-Name Society 3) p. 120).
A mound, planted with large beech tree and measuring 25.0m in diameter and 3.5m in height. Its extreme height in relation to its diameter suggests that it is not a burial mound but more likely a landscape feature or Belvedere associated with Golden Parsonage (18th century) from which it is visible. No finds have been made and the name "Golden Lowe" is not known to the landowner (F1 NKB 08-MAR-72).
TL 055125. Listed as a doubtful castle mound (Renn).
Mound excavated early September 1981, when a trench measuring 0.75m by 11.6m long was dug along the NW side. The excavation went down to below the old buried land surface and the finds made such as clay pipe stem and pieces of coal from the buried land surface beneath the mound prove conclusively that it was constructed during the mid-nineteenth century (Doggett and Hunn 1982).
TL 05341242. Further excavation in 1984 to test the hypothesis that the mound may cover an ice house disproved this idea, but confirmed the mid-C19th date for the feature (Doggett and Hunn 1982). (PastScape)

It is interesting and informative how this mound, constructed in the C19 had developed a story of great antiquity even by the early C20 (at a time when people who saw its construction might still have been alive).
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER            
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated on Saturday, March 29, 2014

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