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Brief description of site

Prior Park is a landscaped pleasure grounds and park, laid out from 1734 on by Ralph Allen with advice from Pope to 1743. There are terraced balustraded steps by Goodridge, dating from 1834. These replaced terraces by Allen and Pope. Other features include a Palladian bridge, two gate lodges and a grotto.

Brief history of site

Prior Park originated as part of a deer park owned by the Bishop of Bath and Wells. After the Dissolution in 1534-9, the park and other priory lands were subdivided between several owners and continued in agricultural use for the next two hundred years. In 1726 Ralph Allen purchased part of an estate including the priory lands. In 1728 he purchased further lands including the Prior's park. Later that year he commissioned designs for a new house from John Wood the Elder. Between 1734 and about 1740, with advice from Alexander Pope as well as Wood, Allen developed a formal landscape north of and below the house and a rococo wilderness to the north-west.

Location information:

Address: Ralph Allen Drive, BA2 5AH

Locality: Bath

Local Authorities:

Bath and North East Somerset

Historical County: Gloucestershire

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 172 Grid Ref: ST760633
Latitude: 51.3683 Longitude: -2.34614


There is only disabled parking at the site, but there is a regular bus service from Bath.

Visitor facilities

Opening contact details:

The garden is open throughout the week except Tuesdays between March and October, but only at weekends in the winter.

Key information:

Form of site: landscape park

Purpose of site: Ornamental

Context or principal building: school

Site first created: 1726 to 1743

Main period of development: Early 18th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 22

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