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Monument record MDR7258 - Whimsey House (remains of), Margaret's Close, Ticknall

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

'Whimsey' is named on the 1st and 2nd eds 25" OS maps of the late 19th century, comprising a long building and two adjacent enclosures, one of which contains a small building. (1-2) The Whimsey House, now ruinous, comprises a former engine house and stables, later used as a cottage. To the east of the gable wall a shallow circular depression, 5m in diameter, marks the site of a filled in shaft connected with the Whimsey. Its use as a whimsey lasted for probably no more than 10-20 years, after which it was used as a cottage until the 1940s when it was destroyed by the army. (3) The whimsey house, a term normally implying a winding engine house, was examined in 1988 as part of a wider investigation of the lime yards. An inventory of 1802 refers to a 'Steam engine with pump trees, timbers and framing over the pit', implying a pumping rather than a winding function. The structure itself is stone-built and ruinous, with an east-facing gable c. 5.3m high. The other walls survive to about 2.5m high, enclosing a small room about 5m square. The east wall is a substantial one about 0.64m thick, and could have been the bob wall for a beam engine. A line of joist holes in the east wall indicates the presence of an upper floor, probably a later insert. To the west of the interior wall is a mass of fallen stones, indicating a room of similar proportions to the one still visible. Archaeological investigation took place inside the building, outside the east wall and in a small depression about 3m further east. The whole layout was found to resemble that of a stable or cowshed with a central drain. No structural evidence for the use of the building as an engine house was found and it is possible that the substantial bases necessary for a pumping or winding engine lie beneath the pile of stones in the ruined part of the building. The circular depression appeared, on excavation, to have been a small pond. Documentary evidence indicates that the building was used for domestic purposes for most of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century and its industrial use might only have lasted for a decade or so. It was destroyed by the Army in the 1940s, and there were a substantial number of carbon rods from the nearby searchlight battery in the fill of the pond. (5) Early accounts of this building suggest that it was used for pumping, whilst later map evidence refers to it as a Whimsey or winding engine. By the middle of the 19th century it had been converted into two cottages and stables. A measured sketch plan of the whimsey house was made as part of a survey of the Calke Abbey Limeyards and Brickyards in 2009. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1896-1900. OS County Series, 2nd edition (1st revision), scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
  • <3> Unpublished document: Marshall, G & Walker, J (The National Trust). 1988. The National Trust Archaeological Survey: Calke Abbey, Volume 2, Industrial Survey.
  • <4> Index: RCHME. 1995. New National Forest Survey: 923007. p 1280.
  • <5> Article in serial: Marshall, G, Palmer, M & Neaverson, P. 1992. 'The history and archaeology of the Calke Abbey lime-yards', Industrial Archaeology Review. Vol. 14, pp 145-176. pp 166-167, Fig. 8.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Watson, C (AOC Archaeology). 2009. Calke Abbey Limeyards and Brickyards, Ticknall, Derbyshire - Survey Report. Fig. 28, feature 150; Fig. 40.



Grid reference Centred SK 3593 2348 (49m by 27m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR3714
  • EDR2840
  • EDR2809

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Feb 23 2015 12:47PM

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