Summary

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Brief description of site

Eastwood Park has late-19th-century parkland on a medieval site, created for Lord Liverpool.

Brief history of site

The house was begun around 1820 by the first Earl of Liverpool, and rebuilt and enlarged around 1865.

Location information:

Address: Falfield, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 8DA

Locality: Wotton-under-Edge

Local Authorities:

South Gloucestershire; Falfield

Historical County: Gloucestershire

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 172 Grid Ref: ST674924
Latitude: 51.6295 Longitude: -2.47237

Directions:

Eastwood Park lies west of the M5 near junction 14.

Key information:

Form of site: country estate

Purpose of site: Ornamental

Context or principal building: commercial

Site first created: After 1820

Main period of development: Late 19th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 134

Description

Eastwood Park has retained its country house ambience, despite inimical developments by the NHS training authority. A free-standing concrete lift shaft, for engineering training is the most intrusive new structure. Modern laboratories and a small staff housing development are sited to the rear of the house and do not detract much from the park's character.

Much of the estate's former lands have been sold off progressively since 1916. The drive southwards to Thornbury Lodge has been sealed off. The Lodge is now a separate property.

The graceful architecture of the house, in its 17th/18th century French style, and fine specimen trees and parkland combine to retain the original character of a country estate.

The park is well-maintained by a team of gardeners. Most of the main parkland is leased as pasture to a local farmer. The Civil Defence Training Site was removed and the parkland restored in the mid-1970s.

Specimen trees are generally post-mature, with no replacement planting. The acreage of Eastwood Park has been progressively reduced in auctions of 1916, 1930 and by consecutive owners. What remains is fairly discrete, though certain houses within the estate are now separate properties. For example, the Bothy, Home Farm House and a house within the walled kitchen garden are now in divided ownership.

The buildings are maintained to a high standard externally. The interior has suffered some unsympathetic modernisation, though original doors, fanlights and other features survive beneath the panelling.

The woodlands have suffered wind damage and are in need of more positive management.

The barrack buildings adjacent to the brickyard plantation are empty and disused.

Owner: Eastwood Park Limited

Falfield

Occupier: Eastwood Park Limited

Site designation(s)

English Heritage Listed Building Grade II Reference Eastwood Park

Principal building:

Mansion house Created 1820 to 1865 by Samuel Whitfield Daukes

Eastwood Park Mansion House was begun around 1820 for the Earl of Liverpool. It was substantially rebuilt and enlarged around 1865, probably by S.W. Daukes of Gloucestershire. It is in a French 17th or 18th century style, with intricate roof geometry, dormers and a three-storey tower over a parte-cochere with a truncated pyramidal roof (formerly with turret). An annexe was built in the 1930s in mock timber-frame style.

Designation status: English Heritage Listed Building Grade II

External web site link: http://www.eastwoodpark.co.uk/

History

Eastwood Park was a very large estate in Morton tithing, in the parish of Thornbury, formerly a park. The estate came to the crown by the attainder of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, and was granted to Thomas Tyndale by Queen Elizabeth I in 1565. The estate passed from the Tyndale family to Sir Edward Rogers, a Bristol grocer, in about 1628.

At the time that Rudder wrote his ‘New History of Gloucestershire (1779), Eastwood is described as follows: ‘It is situated on a fine eminence, on the east side of the town (Thornbury), and has a large mansion house belonging to it, now converted to a farm house'. Sir Richard Rogers died in 1635 and ‘It afterwards passed to Sir Richard Ashfield, in right of Mary his wife, eldest daughter, and one of the co-heiresses of Sir Richard Rogers; and is at present the estate of Sir Banks Jenkinson, of Oxfordshire, baronet, whose arms are given under Hawkesbury'.

The pedigree of the Jenkinsons starts with Anthony Jenkinson of Bristol, the companion of Sebastain Cabot (1474-1557). The former home of the Jenkinson family was the Manor House of Hawkesbury, acquired by Sir Robert Jenkinson, baronet, in the early part of the 17th century. The house was abandoned and pulled down around 200 years ago.

The Eastwood Estate was bought in the 18th century by Sir Charles Jenkinson, seventh baronet, first baron of Hawkesbury and first Earl of Liverpool. His son, the second Earl, was Prime Minister of England from 1812 to 1827. The peerage became extinct on the death of the third Earl in 1851.

The house was begun around 1820 by the first Earl, and rebuilt and enlarged around 1865, probably by S.W. Daukes of Gloucester for Sir George Samuel Jenkinson, on his succession. He improved the property generally and was responsible for most of the present house. He first pulled down a portion of the existing house, which was started by the second Earl and never completed.

Sir G. S. Jenkinson died in 1892 and was buried in the vault  at the west end of Falfield church, which he had helped to finance. In 1915, Sir Anthony Banks Jenkinson, thirteenth baronet, succeeded to the title. The estate was put up for auction by the trustees of the family in 1916 and was bought by Mr. Charles Tucker, a farmer from Frome. It was then bought in 1919 by Edgar Watts of Bristol, a colliery and shipping owner. The estate was offered at auction as a whole, or in seven lots. The auction took place at the Grand Hotel in Bristol in 1930. The estate was bought and  divided by Harry Collett Bolt. The Commissioners of His Majesty's Works and Public Buildings purchased the house and 80 hectares in 1935.

The Civilian Anti Gas School was set up at Eastwood in 1936, and the Annexe was built the following year. During World War 2 the establishment became the Ministry of Home Security Air Raid Precaution School. During this period, the Civil Defence Training Site was built as a copy of a village straddling a street. In 1945, the School was loaned to the South Western Police as a training centre.

The Home Office resumed possession in 1949 to run courses on civil defence in the event of nuclear war. The war-zone was re-modelled to emulate a settlement progressively damaged by a nuclear explosion, with varying degrees of damage according to distance from the blast. The courses continued until 1968, when ‘Civil Defence was put on a care and maintenance basis', or abandoned as unrealistic. The Home Office relinquished ownership.

The estate was purchased in 1969 by the DHSS, who established the Hospital Engineering Centre for the training of NHS engineering employees.

When it first came up for auction in 1916, the Eastwood Park Estate comprised the mansion and its 120 hectare park, ten dairy farms, small holdings and other agricultural land, a pair of modern villas, cottages, a licensed inn, The ‘Huntsman's House', a smithy, post office and woodlands. This all extended to 640 hectares in total.

At that time there were three tree-lined carriage drives to the house, each protected by wrought iron gates and lodge houses. The whole property was supplied by gas produced at the gas house (see features), with a gasometer ‘a convenient distance from the mansion'. The 0.8 hectare walled kitchen garden contained ‘horizontal trained bush and standard fruit trees of pears, apples, plum, peaches, nectarines and apricots'. There were also ‘two vineries and store house, peach house, heated spar greenhouse, two cucumber and melon pits, range of violet forcing pits'.

The auction sale catalogue of 1930 describes ‘The Delightfully Timbered Gardens and Grounds' as ‘a beautiful feature of the property. They contain some magnificent forest and ornamental trees, and the paths treated with red brick dust are particularly attractive. On the Eastern side of the House are gravelled and grass terraces leading down to the park, which is separated by a Ha Ha. On the southern side is the ROSE GARDEN laid out in beds and arches, and leading to the Long Walk, bordered alternately by roses and peonies. Nearby is an iris garden with a central walk. On one side the Long Walk is flanked by some beautiful cedars, and on the other is a fine expanse of lawn with TWO TENNIS COURTS. Beyond are delightful woodland walks and the lovely wilderness garden. By the Entrance Front are some Beautiful Old Lawns and Ornamental Woodland.

There are some beautiful herbaceous borders and clumps of rhododendrons and laurels. At a convenient distance from the House is the EXCELLENT WALLED KITCHEN GARDEN of over one-and-a-half acres, well stocked with many varieties of bush and wall fruit trees. In this garden is a fine Peach House, 135 feet in length, Potting Shed, Bothy, Fruit Room, Mushroom House, Stone Shed, W.C., 3-division Vinery, Gardener's Office, 14 light Frames, 2 10-light Frames, Tomato House, 11 light Frames, 7 light Frames.'

By this time the parkland acreage had been reduced to 134 hectares (Lot 1), and the estate acreage was 191.4 hectares (473 acres, Lots 2-7).

The parkland core of 134 hectares is what remains of the Estate today.

Site timeline

1865: Sir George Samuel Jenkinson succeeded to the estate.

1865: The house was designed by S.W. Daukes in 1865.

1916: The estate was sold to Mr. Charles Tucker.

1935: The mansion house and 80 hectares of the estate was bought by The Commissioners of His Majesty's Works and Public Buildings.

1936: The Home Office opened the Civilian Anti Gas School, which was later re-named The Ministry of Home Security Air Raid Precautions School.

1945: The school became the No. 7 District Police Training Centre.

1949: The Home Office took over the estate again and used the site to run courses on civil defence.

1969: A hospital engineering centre was set up on the site by the Department of Health and Social Security.

1985: The centre became part of the NHS training authority.

1992: The centre was re-named Eastwood Park NHS Training & Conference Centre, after management was taken over by the Avon College of Health.

People associated with this site

Architect: Samuel Whitfield Daukes (born 1811 died 1880)

Features

building

Feature created: 1960 to 1969

These are NHS Estate houses. They are 1960s-style semi-detached houses for NHS staff and their families.

outdoor swimming pool

Feature created: 1820

This is the plunge pool. It is a stone-built pool, formed by damming the stream which forms the present western boundary of the property. Popular with Victorian huntsmen, it probably dates from the time of the 1820 house, or before. The stonework of the bridges and pools has recently been repaired.

structure

Feature created: 1945 to 1968

This is a Civil Defence Training Site, which is shown on the map but has been removed. It comprised a street of houses with varying degrees of war damage. We were told there was a house with an unexploded missile protruding from the side, and burnt-out buses and other vehicles. The site became disused in 1968 and was removed in the 1980s.

ornamental bridge

The woodland walks, bridge, pool and waterfall are ornamental features on the parkland perimeter.

pool

The woodland walks, bridge, pool and waterfall are ornamental features on the parkland perimeter.

waterfall

The woodland walks, bridge, pool and waterfall are ornamental features on the parkland perimeter.

tree feature

The woodland walks, bridge, pool and waterfall are ornamental features on the parkland perimeter. The woods are now overgrown, but are otherwise intact.

specimen tree

In the field to the west of the woods are two very ancient oaks. The largest is said to be 1000 years old, a remnant from the forest of the Vale of Berkeley. Its size and appearance support the claim of immense age. It has had no surgery work. It is entirely hollow, and with the large branches it supports it looks in danger of splitting apart.

planting

This is the parkland. It is now not so well-timbered as the sale catalogues suggest, and seems to have an indefinite management strategy. Part is let as pasture, part is now arable. Modern fencing has impacted on the park's appearance, though it remains a pleasant sloping landscape below the house. The main specimens are oak and sequoia.

earthwork

This is the site of the formal garden, now turfed over. The shapes of the formal rose beds arranged around a fountain can clearly be discerned. The westward half of the rose garden is now the site of several portable buildings. The formal garden is separated from the terrace by aclipped conifer hedge.

ha-ha

The ha-ha runs north-south along the entire west face of the house, formal garden and tennis court sites. It is stone-built and retains the bank of the lower terrace. Between the upper and lower terraces is a grass bank of around 1.2 metres. This is interrupted at the mid-point of the eastern front of the house by a flight of stone steps.

wilderness

This feature was described by the head gardener as an arboretum, but appears in the sale catalogue as a wilderness garden. It is a wooded dell around a stream with winding walls and rustic timber footbridges. The principal trees are cherries, cedars, spruce, oak and ash.

kitchen garden

This feature is the walled kitchen garden, which has been sold off with the gardener's cottage as a separate property.

garden building

This feature relates to the Home Farm buildings. The house is occupied, and the remainder are in use as storage sheds.

well house

This feature is the reservoir, water tank and well house. The reservoir is beneath a mound and contains a vast store of water. There is an electric pumping engine to raise the water to the railway-style iron tank above. The head gardener thought it was a wartime feature but it is referred to in the 1930 auction sale catalogue. The well still exists, though the house now takes mains drinking water.

bothy

This feature is the Bothy. The house is occupied, but the pig sties and cattle stalls are redundant.

garden building

This feature was an army barracks. There are wooden army camp buildings, now disused. This was probably part of a Civil Defence School.

References

Organisations associated with this site

Avon Gardens Trust

English Heritage Role: Designating Authority

Sources of information

A New History of Gloucestershire

Rudder, Samuel A New History of Gloucestershire (Cirencester: S. Rudder, 1779)

Eastwood Park Estate, Auction Sale Catalogue (1916)

Eastwood Park Estate, Auction Sale Catalogue (1916) (1916)

Eastwood Park Estate, Auction Sale Catalogue (1930)

Eastwood Park Estate, Auction Sale Catalogue (1930) (1930)

List of Buildings of Architectural and Historical Interest, County of Avon

Short History of Eastwood Park

Hospital Estate Management and Engineering Centre Short History of Eastwood Park

Contributor or Recorder Avon Gardens Trust

Images

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