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Steve Edwards

The Man who Drowned the Meadows: Rowland Vaughan, 1558-1627

Hay Festival 2016, 

The story of Rowland Vaughan and his waterworks provides an insight both into an eager and imaginative but rather litigious family man and into his understanding of the benefits of irrigating farmland and managing floodwater. Such thinking was very new at the end of the Elizabethan era. The extensive field work carried out by the Golden Valley Study Group shows in great detail the traces of Vaughan’s meticulous design for his water management system in the Golden Valley in Herefordshire, still clearly discernible in the landscape today – the very gradual gradients, the gentle curves of the spreader channels, the capacity to set water flowing either up or down the main channel (the Trench Royal) as required, and the groundworks in the meadows themselves.