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HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Harleyford Manor House was the seat of the Manor of Great Marlow and Harleyford from at least the C16. Sir William Clayton Bt, of Marden, Surrey, bought the estate in 1728, continuing to use Marden, and keeping Harleyford as his summer residence. The house was surrounded by gardens, orchards, groves and walks, and also 'the Greens, Oranges, Bayes, Yews, Lawrell and all other Trees Shrubs Plants and Flowers' (Harleyford deeds, 1717 & 1728). John Rocque's 1761 Map of Berkshire shows a formal garden arrangement east and west of the old house. Sir William died in 1744, succeeded by his younger son, also William, who used Harleyford as his main residence and, finding the old house inconvenient, built a new house, a villa designed by Sir Robert Taylor and completed by 1755. During the remainder of the C18 the landscape was laid out, possibly by Lancelot Brown (1716-83), although there seems to be no documentary record of this. The open situation of the house, however, overlooking the river, the winding approach drive, and variation between woodland and open parkland might well be attributed to Brown. The major elements of the designed landscape are shown on a map of 1806 (BRO). The Claytons continued adding plants during the C19, creating the formal setting immediately around the house, and flower gardens in the walled gardens in the early C20, eventually selling the estate in 1950. In the late C20 various features have been added, including log cabins in the woods, a static caravan park in and around the walled garden and a golf course in the northern parkland; the house has become offices. Parts of the landscape were restored in the 1990s.

People associated with this site

Designer: Lancelot Brown (born 1716 died 06/02/1783)

Builder: Sir Robert Taylor (born 1714 died 1788)

Features

lawn

drive

Winding approach drive.

river

The estate is situated on the northern bank of the River Thames.