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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

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Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby Iain » June 8th, 2017, 2:53 pm

Hi All…
I’m trying to add to my understanding of the formal garden and orchard.
Such a quest might seem a little frivolous but as the thread progresses; you’ll understand it will influence the movements of the day.

Despite there being some excellent models and sketches out there, there are indications that our knowledge about the garden and orchard can be updated thanks to a little logic and images like the ones below.
One of the most precise drawings I’ve seen so far is the one in Mark Adkin’s book ‘The Waterloo Companion’ and when placing it over the radar image, (image N°2) he should be congratulated.
It even looks as if he traced over the image in order to position the flowerbeds and the trees…, which was impossible because the radar image was taken after the publication. (Google Earth perhaps…, with his publication and GE having the same date; 2001)
Anyway, there are features on the radar image that needs looking at…, and this is the principal ‘agricultural’ reason for this post. I’ll ask other tactical points later…, but one thing at a time !

Firstly, all indications in white are original to the image. Yellow and black are mine !

My first question is relative to image N°3 - ‘?2.’
With the image showing aspects that are invisible to the naked eye, what could that round (oval - horseshoe) feature be ?
With Antoine Dumonceau’s wife having been quite committed to ‘keeping up with the Jones’s,’ (installing a new kitchen cooker before the battle which disappeared during her absence) she’d certainly have insisted on a garden fit for princes.
As such, is it possible that ‘?2’ is the foundations of a pavilion ? A structure to protect herself and friends from the sun and the occasional light summer shower !
It is conveniently situated near a central path !
Please don’t forget that glacières in those days were very common ! (subterranean ice sheds)
Our nearby chateau has one dating from the early 1800’s !
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glaci%C3%A8res_de_Paris
Thoughts please…, and more in relation to the radar circle ?

The following is a cautious note concerning my indications on that image: I must mention that I invented the ‘cherry tree’ orchard strip. It seems terribly obvious that this was a strip of trees used for varied fruit and more especially, cherries for their Lambic Beer !
But…
As Mcdonnell reprimanded a few Coldstreamers for eating cherries in the garden during the battle, (probably along the eastern gate wall for a morning-to-evening period of sunshine) these espalier trees could have been enough to produce their beer.
Nonetheless, they would also have needed other fruit such as plums, pears and nuts for jam making, cakes and alcoholic aperitifs.

As such, that leads me to my second question.
The farm was nearly self-sufficient in as much as it had two kitchen gardens, (south and west) an apple orchard to the east and the strip of diverse fruit-trees separating the sunken lane and the northern wall.
The only things missing are gooseberry, raspberry and red current bushes etc.
Could that strip of land ‘?1’ be just that ?
Just imagine…, aristocratic strolls around the garden with the children; while helping oneself to the occasional berry !

Kind Regards…, Iain.

PS : A quote:
“Though the trunks were filled with balls and the branches broken and destroyed, their verdure still remained. Wild flowers were still blooming and wild raspberries ripening beneath their shade; while huge offensive piles of human ashes were all that now remained of the heroes who fought and fell upon this fatal spot.
The chateau, upon which the attack was first made by the French, is immediately behind the wood by the road leading to Nivelles. It was the country-seat of a Belgic gentleman and was set on fire by shells during the battle, which completed the destruction occasioned by the cannonade. In the garden behind the house, the orange-trees, roses and geraniums in full flower presented a sticking contrast to the mouldering piles of the ruined house; and the surrounding scene of desolation.
Our poet-laureate, who visited the field of battle in the autumn of 1815, has thus described the garden of Hougoumont.”

Probably Victor Hugo ! (?)
Question: What is an “orange-tree”? (surely not oranges in Belgium !)
Attachments
1 Original radar image.jpg
1 Original radar image.jpg (110.56 KiB) Viewed 219 times
2 Adkin on radar image.jpg
2 Adkin on radar image.jpg (124.92 KiB) Viewed 219 times
3 Garden and orchard questions.jpg
3 Garden and orchard questions.jpg (136.07 KiB) Viewed 219 times
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Re: Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby jf42 » June 9th, 2017, 12:58 am

Iain wrote:Hi All…
I’m trying to add to my understanding of the formal garden and orchard.

The following is a cautious note concerning my indications on that image: I must mention that I invented the ‘cherry tree’ orchard strip. It seems terribly obvious that this was a strip of trees used for varied fruit and more especially, cherries for their Lambic Beer !
But…
As Mcdonnell reprimanded a few Coldstreamers for eating cherries in the garden during the battle, (probably along the eastern gate wall for a morning-to-evening period of sunshine) these espalier trees could have been enough to produce their beer.
Nonetheless, they would also have needed other fruit such as plums, pears and nuts for jam making, cakes and alcoholic aperitifs.

As such, that leads me to my second question.
The farm was nearly self-sufficient in as much as it had two kitchen gardens, (south and west) an apple orchard to the east and the strip of diverse fruit-trees separating the sunken lane and the northern wall.
The only things missing are gooseberry, raspberry and red current bushes etc.
Could that strip of land ‘?1’ be just that ?
Just imagine…, aristocratic strolls around the garden with the children; while helping oneself to the occasional berry !

Kind Regards…, Iain.

Question: What is an “orange-tree”? (surely not oranges in Belgium !)


Iain, any soft fruit such as gooseberries, rasberries and redcurrrants would probably be grown in the kitchen gardens and covered with nets to protect them from the birds.

Do you have any reference for any fruit in Hougomont gardens other than apples and cherries- or oranges? Is the rest speculation? You seem already to be treating your invented strip of cherry trees as fact.

Perhaps orange trees were grown for ornamental purposes, unless there was a green house where edible fruit could be produced.
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Re: Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby Iain » June 9th, 2017, 6:12 am

Hi JF…

Pure speculation !
Unlike a book where the Author can leave the mise-en-scene to the imagination of the reader, a screenplay needs to please not only the eye but also the brain. Especially the brains of the traditional ‘nitpickers’ on the sideline of serious research.
(Amazon for example)
As such…, ;)

I’m not only doing an autopsy on the image N°1 while perhaps providing food for thought for Waterloo Uncovered this month, but it’s a prelude to something more ‘serious’ later on in the thread.
In the meantime, that central strip of land parallel to the garden needs a ‘raison d’être’ and I can see no other use for it other than fruit bushes…, or…
Guillaume van Cutsem was apparently a strawberry fanatic…, could that have been his strawberry patch ? (distanced and secure from wandering thieves the other side of the wall)

“Reference to any fruit”: Independent of van Coutsem’s strawberries… Although Victor Hugo was totally wrong about apples in the orchard on the day (today is the 9th of June and our apples are less than 5 millimetres in diameter) he does talk about it in the text above. If…, it’s Hugo who wrote the text !

Thanks…, Iain.

PS That ‘orange tree’ aspect brings to mind ‘Les Gilles de Binche.’
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles Note the oranges they’re holding in readiness to throw at the public. This tradition in relation to Spain dates well before Waterloo !
PPS I think I’ll have to reread Alasdair White’s ‘Hedges, Myths and Memories.’
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Re: Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby MarkW » June 11th, 2017, 2:21 am

looks like there is another horseshoe shaped indentation to the nw of the one marked...and the garden looks like, as we know a path north and south in the garden but it also looks divided evenly into smaller squares...the ditch in the orchard may have had water at one time early in the day (is this where Clay fell upto his neck in water, Iain?) but there is no mention of it by the French as a barrier protecting the Coldstreamers for their flanking fire thru the day, is this a testimony to how quick the ground really dried?

the corn was higher than today, could the apples have been the same?
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Re: Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby Iain » June 11th, 2017, 6:39 am

Thanks Mark…

Yes, it was that second marking that made me think of an ice-house…, then again, as JF mentioned, it could have been a green house.
Then again, if there was a pavilion, I suppose an ice-house could have been dug in its cellar.

I remember watching a BBC-TV program recently with ‘The Hairy Bikers,’ two excellent cooks providing some interesting recipes. One such program was an interview with an ice-cream specialist and he showed the equipment use in those days to make the ice-cream.
Amazing…, and the results were much prettier than what we see on any table today. (and you can rest assured the chateau knew all about it)
http://www.idfa.org/news-views/media-ki ... -ice-cream

My mother-in-law died in 2013 at the age of 94 and the stories she could tell about her grandparents were quite interesting. But what’s more important in relation to this post was her excellent cooking and how the family got on without electricity and refrigeration…, and hers was only a very small farm. (where I am today)
This obviously means that Hougoumont must have been industrial in comparison, meaning that they would have used every square inch to be as self-sufficient as possible.
And ‘regimentality’ would have been a sign of their professionalism (as seen by the layout of their formal garden) …, the reason why I believe the orchard strip was probably not apple.

All I do know is that these people knew what work was…, and the gentry also knew what a good lifestyle was; especially the ladies. So a pavilion would have been used to admire the flowers, look after the children, read, paint, sow and generally relax.
Who knows ?

“Corn and apples”! Lol…, as Wellington said; “I know absolutely nothing about agriculture”!
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Re: Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby Josh&Historyland » June 11th, 2017, 10:14 am

This is likely to be of no help to you. :roll: so my apologies.

The photos you show being satellite images, almost comparable to geophysics surveys undertaken on archeological digs, popularly known from Time Team are excellent, but only to a point.
From what I know about Archeology, it would be the height of irresponsibility to offer anything but an educated guess as to the purpose of either strips or curious horseshoes :)
Usually once a guess is made the digging begins and the truth is revealed, but as we cannot dig and even if we did I doubt we'd discover what trees were growing in 1815, (your source seems to be most suggestive anyway , so long as the visitor is writing no less than a year after the battle).
So what I'm saying is that while we might be free to guess, guessing might be as far as we're going to get without excavation.

Sorry to come in on a negative.
Josh.
Adventures In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
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Re: Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby Iain » June 12th, 2017, 7:26 am

Totally agree Josh…
And as I said earlier concerning the layout of the garden, it’s pure speculation.
Nonetheless, as the Waterloo Uncovered team are already on-site and instead of tossing a coin to chose the place for the next hole…, it seems only logical to choose that spot.
In the meantime and like the well, if it was an icehouse and lost from sight for 200 years…, the imagination boggles as to the contents. ;)

Somewhere else I’d love to see ‘uncovered’ is the entry via the north gate.

On the other hand, a future post here relative to the orchard will be more interesting.

Regards…, Iain.
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Re: Hougoumont’s formal garden and orchard:

Postby Iain » July 2nd, 2017, 4:54 pm

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