New book charts rich past of Chatsworth landscape

This is an archived press release

Friday 1 July 2005

1 July 2005

New book charts rich past of Chatsworth landscape

A new book revealing the hidden richness of the Chatsworth landscape from 4,000 years ago to the present day is published this month (July 12).

Centuries before the Dukes of Devonshire designed their grand estate which grew to world renown, people were farming, planting trees and burying their dead in the Derwent Valley around Chatsworth.

Now Peak District National Park senior archaeologist John Barnatt and Tom Williamson, lecturer in landscape archaeology at the University of East Anglia, have charted the hidden historical and archaeological clues in their lavishly-illustrated book, "Chatsworth - a landscape history" (Windgather Press).

They were commissioned to do the surveys and write the book by the Chatsworth trustees, with great encouragement from the late Duke of Devonshire and the Dowager Duchess, and funding from English Heritage and the Countryside Commission.

The book grew out of several years' work by two teams - an archaeological survey by John Barnatt and his colleague Nicola Bannister, and a designed landscape survey by Tom Williamson and the Historic Landscape Management Consultancy.

John Barnatt said: "This is an incredibly rich archaeological and historical landscape in the heart of the Peak District National Park. People are very familiar with Chatsworth house, the gardens and the estate, but what this book reveals is that Chatsworth is much richer even than that - the whole park is covered in earthworks and ancient trees which tell important stories about how the landscape has been used and changed through time."

The co-authors reveal three prehistoric burial mounds that were previously unknown, they trace the outlines of medieval ridge-and-furrow fields and analyse the lives of trees which have stood for more than 500 years. These, and many more discoveries, combined with analysis of voluminous historical records, give a vivid picture of this remarkable landscape.

Simon Seligman, Promotions Manager for the Chatsworth Estate said: "We are delighted that the history of this immensely important landscape, enjoyed by more than a million people every year, will be made much more accessible thanks to the research and scholarship used in this beautiful new book."

"Chatsworth - a landscape history" is published by Windgather Press at £19.99 and will be launched with a press photo call with the Duke of Devonshire and the authors, and then a lecture by the authors at 6pm, at Chatsworth on July 12.

This is an archived press release

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