Cottage reveals its secrets

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Experts have uncovered one of the lost garden buildings of Ripon’s World Heritage Site.

National Trust archaeologists have been carrying out a dig at the Rustic Cottage site in the grounds of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

“Prior to the dig little was known about Rustic Cottage as very few images of the building survive and only a small part of one wall still stands above ground level,” said a spokesman.

“It wasn’t known how much – if any – of the cottage would still remain below the ground.”

Archaeological digs carried out over two weekends in September by National Trust archaeological consultant, Mark Newman, and his team have uncovered new information about the history and appearance of the cottage building.

Fragments of wall plaster revealed that the interior of the cottage was decorated in an eccentric colour palette over the years.

Originally painted with a midnight blue and then Pompeian red during its use as a garden building, it is suspected that the cottage was redecorated for domestic use with lighter shades of, goose grey, yellow ochres, and duck egg blues and greens.

Unexpected fireplaces, indications of well laid flagstone floors, walls of unknown rooms were also among the discoveries.

Visitors could see the work in progress and Mark Newman said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to involve the visitors in the action and to be able to tell them more about archaeology and the conservation work taking place on-site at the moment.”

Further excavation will take place.