External alcove, north elevation, Canons Ashby
MOLA archaeologists have been carrying out a detailed recording of Canons Ashby House. This sixteenth century country house in rural Northamptonshire began as a modest farm house and was gradually enlarged and altered by successive members of the Dryden family resulting in the jumbled architecture seen today. As well as traditional drawn and photographic survey techniques the archaeologists have carried out a complete laser survey of the house and photogrammetric models have been produced of several features.
This unusual and much discussed feature of the house comprises a brick-lined alcove with a stone surround and two Tudor arch entrances. The brickwork forms an unusual series of niches within the wall. Various explanations have been suggested for its use including drover’s shelter, a place for putting out food for passing travellers, or a means of smoke dissipation for the kitchen. Of particular note is the extensive number of dot pattern graffiti carved into the central stone pier.