Summary

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Brief description of site

Warleigh Manor is an early-19th-century terraced garden, park and ornamental woods.

Brief history of site

Warleigh Manor was built in 1814-15 by John Webb of Staffordshire for Henry Skrine. The grounds were laid out, presumably around 1815, in an interesting juxtaposition of styles. The manor was owned by the Skrine family until the early 1960s. It was sold, and has since been used as a school, under several different ownerships.

Location information:

Address: Warleigh Lane, Bathford, BA1 8EE

Locality: Bath

Local Authorities:

Bath and North East Somerset; Bathford

Historical County: Somerset

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 172 Grid Ref: ST792648
Latitude: 51.3819 Longitude: -2.30026

Key information:

Form of site: terraced garden

Purpose of site: ornamental garden

Context or principal building: school

Site first created: 1814 to 1815

Main period of development: Early 19th century

Survival: Part: standing remains

Site Size (Hectares): 8.1

Description

Warleigh Manor is approached by a drive leading from the north-west of the site. The grounds of the manor extend for 20 acres, and are bordered on the south-west by the River Avon and on the north-east by Warleigh Lane. During the 1980s, the owner purchased an additional 48 acres of woodland on the eastern side of Warleigh Lane, and also the old Manor Farm with its outbuildings. This lies to the south-east of Warleigh Manor itself.

A long strip of mixed ornamental woodland runs along the eastern edge of the estate to the west of Warleigh Lane. There is a small area of formal garden to the south-west of the manor itself, with a series of terraces overlooking the River Avon. To the south of the manor there is an area of open land, now used for playing fields.

At the northern end of the terraces there is a small rockery with a pond which was built by the children of the school in the 1980s.An unusual castellated orangery stands to the east of the manor.

The grounds of Warleigh Manor have been allowed to deteriorate for a long time. It was only in the mid-1980s that serious restoration work was undertaken. This was under the direction of the then owner, Mr. Alderman. At the time of the last survey (1984) eight people were employed to work on the estate. They were involved in a considerable programme of restoration and conversion, much of which centred on the alteration of various outbuildings. This was to make them suitable for use as classrooms and dormitories. The last surveyor of the site considered that this was being done with great respect for the character of the old buildings, with original materials being used wherever possible.

Much of the estate has been adapted for different uses. Playing fields have been marked out on the parkland. The ornamental woodlands bordering the drive approaching Warleigh Manor are used as an adventure play area. Some of the larger trees are used for abseiling and rope climbing. The outhouses are being converted to serve as school buildings, and the manor house itself has been adapted to institutional use.

Work has also been carried out on the formal garden. In 1984, when the site was last surveyed, the two main terraces had been cleared up and a lawn to the east of the house was in good condition. At this time, there were plans to restore and renovate the derelict buildings of Manor Court Farm, and a management scheme for the estate's neglected woodland was being proposed.

Site designation(s)

The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building Grade II* Reference Warleigh Manor

Principal building:

Manor house Created 1814 to 1815

Warleigh Manor was built in 1814-15 and extended in 1907.

Designation status: The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building Grade II*

Environment

Terrain: Sloping riverside site

History

Warleigh Manor was built in 1814-15 by John Webb of Staffordshire for Henry Skrine. His family owned most of the land on both sides of the River Avon at this point. The picturesque Tudor Gothic style of the main building was extended to all of the outbuildings, creating a curious architectural group.

The grounds were laid out, presumably around 1815, in an interesting juxtaposition of styles. Formal terraces and lawns close to the house were surrounded by informal parkland and mixed woodland. There is rumoured to be a grotto in the hillside to the east of the manor, but it has not been located recently.

The manor was owned by the Skrine family until the early 1960s. It was sold, and has since been used as a school, under several different ownerships. It is now a treatment centre for emotionally disturbed children.

People associated with this site

Designer: John Webb (1) (born 1754 died 1828)

Features

rockery

Feature created: 1983 to 1986

This feature is the rockery. In the mid-1980s the children at Warleigh Manor constructed a small rockery in a secluded spot at the north-east end of the formal terraces. The rockery was carefully planted out, and a small pond has been formed at the bottom of it.

pond

This feature is the pond, which lies at the bottom of the rockery.

terrace

This feature refers to the terraces with retaining walls. To the south-east of Warleigh Manor there are several formal terraces breaking up the slope down to the River Avon. Three of these terraces are supported by stone retaining walls. The largest of these is embellished with two large bastions and two small stone lions. These walls probably date to soon after the construction of the house, and are now in need of repair.

orangery

Feature created: 1814 to 1815

The orangery stands about 100 yards to the east of Warleigh Manor. This building probably dates to the same time as the Manor House (1814-15) and is built in matching style, with attractive crenellations. In 1983, the orangery was converted for several children to live in, but the last surveyor considered that this had been accomplished without destroying the original character of the building. The glass roof of the orangery was moved in one piece to serve as a small greenhouse. It now stands in a field about 500 yards to the south-east of the manor house.

Designation status: The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building Designation Grade II

Plantings

There is virtually no formal planting at Warleigh Manor, but there are many mature trees of note. There is a very large acacia, a gingko and several sequoias. New planting is hindered by the presence of deer. Efforts are being made to tidy up the woodland around the manor, and to clear some of the very dense undergrowth

References

Organisations associated with this site

Avon Gardens Trust

Historic England Role: Designating Authority

Sources of information

A walk around the manor of Forde

Skrine, Henry Duncan A walk around the manor of Forde (1882)

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

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

Contributor or Recorder Avon Gardens Trust

Images

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