Summary

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Brief description of site

Gatley Park is a 17th- and 18th-century park, with formal gardens of around 1900 associated with a country house.

Brief history of site

The Earl of March was licensed to make a deer park in 1301. The estate was bought in 1679 by the Dunne family, the present owners. The garden was laid out in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

Location information:

Address: Leinthall Earls, Herefordshire, HR6 9TT

Locality: Ludlow

Local Authorities:

Herefordshire, County of; Aymestrey

Historical County: Herefordshire

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 148 Grid Ref: SO449685
Latitude: 52.3118 Longitude: -2.80965

Directions:

Seven miles north-west of Leominster via the B4361 and minor roads.

Key information:

Form of site: landscape park

Purpose of site: Ornamental

Context or principal building: house

Site Style : English landscape garden

Site first created: 1301

Main period of development: 17th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 42

Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

A 17th- and 18th-century park, and formal gardens of around 1900 associated with a country house.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Gatley Park house lies 1km north-east of the village of Leinthall Earls; Wigmore lies 3km to the west and Croft Castle 3km to the south. The house lies towards the south-western end of a ridge of high ground running from Ludlow 9km to the north-east, the park occupying a strip of ground on the south side of the ridge which slopes downwards, sometimes steeply, from north to south, into a small valley. A road runs along the bottom of this from Leinthall Earls to Wylde, with the south side of the valley being formed by Dionscourt Hill, overlooked from the rear of the house. The area here registered is c 42ha.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The main approach in the C19 and C20 is from the south-west, via a drive from the village of Leinthall Earls, at the end of which are rusticated gate piers. The first third of the drive is unlined, the second third lined with mature sweet chestnut and oak trees, and parts of the last third with mature beech trees. The drive, a kilometre long, largely follows the valley side contour and its middle section, where the valley is steepest, is cut back into the hillside.

The main approach before the C19 was probably from the north-east, from Richards Castle and Ludlow. That survives as a 500m long wooded drive, at the end of which is Gatleypark Lodge, a two-storey stone cottage, perhaps C17, with a tall yew hedge to the front. Gates at the end of the drive are wooden and C20.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

Gatley Park (listed grade II*) was rebuilt in the later 1630s as a square, gabled, brick building of two storeys and an attic, with mullioned and transomed windows and elaborate brick chimneys. Additions and considerable enlargements to either side of the house were made in brick in 1894 and 1907 to the designs of C D Coleridge.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The entry court to Gatley Park, now lawn, lies on its north side; it is defined to the north and east by probably C18 walls, brick-faced on the inside and stone on the outside and stone-capped. The main gate is in the centre of the north wall, opposite the main entrance to the house. The gate piers are brick and probably C19; the elaborate iron gates of c 1900. A broad path leads straight from gate to door.

Low drystone walls of c 1900 around the east and north sides of the entry court garden revet walks c 8m wide, with beds with shrubs against the court walls. A circular lead cistern of 1637 (listed grade II) bearing the Ewer arms stands in the extreme south-east corner of the court. In the years after 1890 parallel yew hedges were planted down, and defining, the west side of the court. Those hedges stood c 3.5m high in the late C20, clipped into a crenellated form, the crenellations topped with domes.A grass path leads between the hedges, with steps leading up to a yew alley.

Further clipped yew hedges enclose a small lawn to the east of the house, with a square-ended apse looking south and a semicircular one giving views over the low ground to the east; here is a swimming pool, with tennis court adjoining to the north. Both are late C20.

South of the house the ground falls away quite steeply, and was terraced using drystone walls in the second phase of improvements to create four low terraces connected with flights of stone steps. The terraces are mainly lawned but with some flower beds. Small early C20 terracotta urns bearing Gertrude Jekyll's seal stand along the edge of the uppermost terrace, a pergola (restored in the 1990s) at the west end of the second terrace, while the west end of the third terrace ends in a circular bastion defined by a heather hedge.

West of the house further yew hedges define a small flagged yard. Immediately to the west of that is a vegetable garden, again bounded in part by clipped yew hedges.

The wholesale remodelling of the gardens around the house, essentially creating the landscape seen today, was undertaken by successive occupiers of the house in two phases, the first c 1890-1900 and the second and more important in the years immediately after 1900. Family tradition suggests that Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), a family friend, may have influenced the later improvements.

PARK

The park extends along the valley side north-east and south-west of the house. The first 500m of the park extending north-east from the C20 main gate was added to it at an unknown date between c 1780 and c 1880 by enclosing arable land; field boundaries are visible as earthworks in the permanent pasture. South-west of the house the park is mainly permanent grass with specimen trees, approximately ninety of them planted in the 1960s by James Russell (d c 1966). North (Barn Coppice) and east (James Fall) of the house is mainly ancient woodland.

In the Middle Ages, when Gatley was one of the estates of the Earl of March, there was a park here, licensed in 1301. It was probably disparked in the C16, although in the C17 Gatley was reputedly a stud for breeding mares. An C18 estate painting of Gatley showing a fox hunt appears to show a park pale following, at least in part, the bounds of the later park.

In the 1960s a domed, finger-like, three-storey tower was built outside the park (and the registered area), 250m south-east of Gatleypark Lodge, as a folly and dower house. It was designed by Raymond Erith; John Fowler decorated the interior.

KITCHEN GARDEN

Between the 1880s and 1903 a beech-hedged kitchen garden was laid out at the bottom of the hillside c 200m south-west of the house. A cottage was later built on the east side of the garden. The kitchen garden lies outside the registered area.

 

REFERENCES

C J Robinson, The Mansions of Herefordshire and their Memories (1872), pp 172-3

P Reid, Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses: Volume II, Herefordshire (1980), pp 29-30

L Cantor, The Medieval Parks of England: A Gazetteer (1983), p 36

Maps

Estate map, around 1780 (private collection)

OS 6" to 1 mile: Herefordshire sheet 7 NW, 1st edition 1884; sheet 7 SW, 1st edition 1885; sheet 7 NW, 2nd edition 1903

OS 25" to 1 mile: Herefordshire sheet 7.5, 2nd edition published 1903

Archival items

Estate records (F76), (Herefordshire Record Office) 

 

Description written: 1998

Edited: August 1999

Site designation(s)

The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens Grade II Reference GD1879

Principal building:

House Created Before 1644

The house was re-built by Sampson Eure in the 1600s, before his death in 1644.

Environment

Terrain: The house lies towards the south-western end of a ridge of high ground, the park occupying a strip of ground on the south side of the ridge which slopes downwards, sometimes steeply, from north to south, into a small valley.

External web site link: https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000882

History

The medieval deer park was licensed in 1301.

The site was bought by Philip Dunne  in 1679, and remains in the family.

The garden appears to have been worked on by Gertrude Jekyll around 1900.

An arboretum was designed in the 1960s by James Russell.

A lodge was added in the 1960s by Raymond Erith, with interior by John Fowler.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

 

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The Gatley estate was purchased in 1679 by Philip Dunne (died 1699) following the death in 1673 of the widow of Sir Sampson Eure (died 1644), sometime Attorney General in Wales and MP for Leominster, under whom the house had been rebuilt. The estate has descended in the Dunne family ever since.
 

People associated with this site

Architect: Raymond Charles Erith (born 07/08/1904 died 30/11/1973)

Designer: Gertrude Jekyll (born 29/11/1843 died 08/12/1932)

Designer: James Philip Cuming Russell (born 03/04/1920 died 28/04/1996)

Features

gate lodge

Feature created: 1960 to 1969

Creator: Raymond Charles Erith (born 07/08/1904 died 30/11/1973)

drive

gate

hedge

tree feature

Feature created: 1960 to 1969

Creator: James Philip Cuming Russell (born 03/04/1920 died 28/04/1996)

Arboretum

garden terrace

kitchen garden

References

Organisations associated with this site

Hereford & Worcester Gardens Trust

Historic England Role: Designating Authority

Sources of information

A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Herefordshire

Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, Vol 2: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire

Reid, P., Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, Vol. 2: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire (London: Burke?s Peerage, 1980), pp. 29-30

Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, (Swindon: English Heritage, 2008) [on CD-ROM]

The Medieval Parks of England: a gazeteer

Cantor, L. M., The Medieval Parks of England: a gazetteer ([Loughborough]: Department of Education, Loughborough University of Technology, 1983), p. 36

Images

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