‘Reconciled to modern Taste?’: the mysterious disappearance of William Blathwayt’s grand cascade at Dyrham Park’

Outside of their contemporary depictions, few of the Baroque gardens that were typical of the seventeenth century survive today. The Georgians preferred a more naturalistic style, and so the anachronistic gardens of the Stuart era faded away into the past. Such is the case with William Blathwayt’s spectacular gardens at Durham Park; but these gardens were home to an impressive piece of engineering which has long been puzzling historians. The jewel of the gardens was an ostentatious water feature which, from an engineering perspective, was ahead of its time. The mechanics that powered the feature remain a mystery. Based on a report by Hyla Holden, Steve Poole addresses the question of how the cascade was powered, and whether changing fashion was the sole cause for such a spectacle to fall into disuse.

Re-interrogating the Idyll: Slavery and Country Houses in Gloucestershire

The country house, centrepiece of the heritage industry, is something which is sold to us as being quintessentially British. In the South-West and throughout England, these sites have welcomed visitors for decades to come and enjoy the elegance and grandeur of this heritage. In this article, Madge Dresser highlights the sanitisation of the histories that are presented by these stately homes. Drawing our attention to the complex web of links between aristocratic wealth and the Atlantic slave economy, Dresser seeks to persuade readers that unearthing these links is a worthwhile historical enterprise.