Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ancient limestone aqueduct coming to Salvo Fair 2007

Knebworth, Hertfordshire UK - AN ANCIENT STONE AQUEDUCT, nearly 200 tonnes and 60 yards long, will be displayed for sale at this year’s Salvo Fair. The carved limestone aqueduct was discovered buried in the grass at a reclamation yard in the Dijon area of France last year by Peter Watson of Cox’s Yard in Gloucestershire. It is at least 300 years old, possibly even Roman. It would have been used to carry water from a spring to a village cistern for drinking and an overflow to a washing area. It will be for sale at the Salvo Fair and could be incorporated into a water feature or used to divert a watercourse.

The cistern was found by Peter Watson towards the end of last year when he was sourcing oak from reclamation yards in the Dijon Macon area of France. Peter said, “It was actually in a timber yard lying in the grass and had been there 10 years or so since removal from a local village. I had to have it! It took 3 artic trailers to bring to England due to weight."

He managed to get some 12" wide pine cheese factory boards onto the last truck to make up the load. The aqueduct served the village's water supply needs in Eastern France probably bringing water from a spring to the village cistern for drinking water and then an overflow into a wash house. A communal meeting place for all the old "scrubbers" of the village!

This area of France is full of limestone buildings, statues and urns, similar in many ways to the Gloucestershire Cotswolds or the Stamford area of Lincolnshire. The aqueduct, or rill as it could be called in England, is 200 ft long (60 metres), 39ins wide and 16ins deep. It comprises 39 sections, each of which has a carved step or rebate at each end enabling a fairly tight and waterproof joint. The total weight is about 45 tonnes.

Each of the 39 sections has a slightly different profile allowing for the fall. Those at the start are carved more shallowly than those at the end. There is not much in it but they are definitely graded, said Mr Watson. There are markings, a small plus or a minus or an H being carved into one or other of the sides of each piece.

"I haven't determined the age yet," said Peter. "It is at least 300 years old and could possibly be Roman. The part of France it came from is full of Roman ruins. More research is needed and ongoing. Who could use it? Obviously landscape gardeners and designers could wish to incorporate a water feature into a large site or diverting a watercourse. It could be built into several layers cascading downhill.”

More than fifty dealers will be exhibiting at this year's fair from all over the Uk bringing 500 tonnes of architectural salvage, garden antiques and reclaimed building materials exhibited for sale. The disposal and recycling of bricks and timber continues reduce the amount of materials available for reuse. Support reclamation and visit the Salvo Fair!

Ruby Kay, Fair Director
Salvo Fair, Knebworth House, Knebworth, Hertfordshire SG1 2AX
Saturday 30th June - Sunday 1st July 2007
11am - 5.30pm
Admission £7
General enquiries: 01225 422300
Advanced tickets sales: 08700 115 007

(Salvo Fair Trade Day is on Friday 29th June, and costs £10 on the gate. No advance tickets.)


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