Created By: West Berkshire Archaeology Service
The part of the garden to your right is called the Great Lawn. The Speen Manor map shows us that in the 18th century most of it was divided into parterres, but about a third of it was a bowling green! In the middle of parterres it was fashionable to have sculptures, water features or fountains. In front of the House was a basin for carp and at the northern end of the Great Lawn was a fountain. The fountain may have been fed by water from a 16th century brick water tower to the east of the House that was knocked down in the 1960s. Some of the historic divisions and pathways in the gardens could still be seen in 1998 when a geophysical survey of the grounds was carried out!
During the Second World War and before it was used as a school in 1943, Shaw House was requisitioned. This means that it was taken over by the Government for use by the army. The rectangle of brick and concrete that you can see here, to the left of the path, is what remains of a small toilet block from either the Second World War or from the house’s time as a school. You can see the walls of the cubicles outlined in brickwork and if you look very carefully the outline of some of the toilets themselves too!
All of the temporary school buildings that were built in the gardens of the House have been removed, apart from the two areas of tarmac on the Great Lawn. These are what remains of two sets of tennis courts.
Continue north along the path and follow it to the left around the corner of Shaw House. Go past the Reception on the House’s north side and go towards the wall in front of which there is a line of black tables and benches. Be careful on the crazy paving. It is uneven.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Shaw House and St Mary's Church Conservation Area