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When John Dearman Birchall, a Yorkshire woollen merchant and manufacturer, bought Bowden Hall in 1868 he took landscaping advise from Robert Marnock. He recommended removal of trees to create clumps and the planting of Scotch and Austrian firs on the far side of Handgrove, the field immediately to the south of Bowden Hall, to enclose the view in 1868.

Birchall bought a beautiful collection of conifers, shrubs and a fruiting Aucuba from Lucombe and Pinces of Alphage Road in London for £20. During the next year he visited Veitch of Chelsea and bought a pair of pea fowl, Brent and Barnacle geese, Carolina and call ducks from Bakers pheasantry.

In 1875 had gesnerias, amantophyllum, begenia fuchsoides, hyacinths, tulips, camillias, cinerarias, primulas, brooms, roses, azallias, tropeolium, cyclamen, daffodils and geraniums in the conservatory whilst the spring bedding included white arabis, violets, primroses, single and double pansies, tulips, hyacinths, myosotis and scillas.

After Robert Marnock visited in 1875 Birchall discussed with his head gardener making several changes. These included taking the roses away from the front and replacing them with clematis and smaller round beds. The roses were to be replanted along the wall. Also creating a plantation at the corner of the pleasure ground. The Cedar Atlantica would be nourished with new soil.

Next year Sam Bowly recommended "stone rocking a terrace walk". This is probably the suggestion of creating a rock garden at the south east end of the terrace walk, of which only vestiges remain.

John Dearman Birchall also had a Weiganda.


1769 Estate owned by Sir John Guise Baronet whom lived at Bounden (corruption of Bondend) Hall

1770 Creed's Place built by Robert Campbell a retired London Grocer

1792 Estate of 220 acres

1798-1800 Owned by Mr Philemon Pownell a East India Planter

1800 Bow fronts added and stucco

20/12/1800 Bought by Thomas Jeffreys, a London goldsmith, whom mortgaged the property back to Mr Pownell

Rented to Madame Rudder whom built a school: later replaced with a coachman's cottage

Subsequently it was rented to Miss Westcar from Hartpury who kept various animals including buffaloes and giraffes in the grounds whom commissioned Thomas Fulljames to design an aviary

About 1821-1837 Owned by James H Byles whom died in 1837 leaving the renamed Bowden Hall to wife Judith

1837-1840 Owned by Vansittrant

1840 Estate now 109 acres

1841 Wisteria was planted in 2 places

1841-1868 Owned by C Brooke Hunt whom subsequently moved to nearby Prinknash Park

Latterly rented by Louisa Maria the Dowager Countess Downe until her death in 1867

1868 John Dearman Birchall a Yorkshire woollen merchant and manufacturer bought property

1868-1869 Architect brother Edward Birchall of Leeds remodelled interior with decoration by Aldam Heaton

30/3/1870 Employs Thomas Bevan as a 25 year old gardener a pupil of the Royal Horticultural Society and the Jardines de la Ville de Paris who used to work for Lord Lyttleton but soon discovers he cannot manage others so replaced him with R Tothill

1871 Built an additional grape house backed by a raising house with heating for both houses

1872 Replaced boiler in hot house

1873 Bought Nut Hill. Seeks planting advice of Robert Marnock whom recommended removal of trees to create clumps and the planting of Scotch and Austrian firs on the far side of Handgrove, the field immediately to the south of Bowden Hall, to enclose the view.

1873 R Tothill went to Mr Craven. Engaged William Keen as head gardener - he stayed about 50 years

29/9/1875 Robert Marnock advised Dearman Birchall about planting in the garden and on Nut Hill

1876 R Tothill returns as general factotum

1885 R Tothill finally left

5/9/1894 Engaged Webber as a gardener

1897 John Dearman Birchall died and passed to son of the same name then Major Jack Birchall

1924 Estate 512 acres

1/6/1924 Owned by Magdalen Colville, the wife of Hugh Ker Colville of Calne

1941 Bought by County Council

1942 Used as an Air Raid Precaution Centre

1943 Extended by adding a third bay

1944- Girls' Approved School

1976-1979 Hotel jointed owned by Molly & Derrick Badger and Mollie & Derrick Umney

1979 Hotel solely owned by Molly & Derrick Badger

1979 Sold Nut Hill to Woodland Trust

1980 Listed Orangery was completely derelict - transformed into a 3 bedroom garden house for hoteliers

1987-1989 County House Hotels

1989-1994 Resort Hotels

1998- Jarvis Hotels Ltd


GRO D4858/2/4/1925/1 Brochure for auction of estate on 13/6/1925 including a plan

GRO D4858/213/1936/1 Brochure for auction of estate on 16/7/1936 including a plan

GRO CMS22/ (1980) Bondend and Creed Place by J V Ruffell published in Gloucestershire Historical Studies 1980 pages 82-89

GRO PA347/7 Notes on History of Bowden Hall by Maureen Anderson and James Turtle

GRO PA347/11 A Village History - of Upton St Leonards

The Diary of a Victorian Squire edited by D Verey published by Alan Sutton 1982

Creed Place by M Marriott

The Country Houses of Gloucestershire: Volume 2 1660-1830 by Nicholas Kingsley published in Chichester in 1992 on pages 84-85 - includes photograph as a girl's approved school. ISBN: 1 86077 124 6

The Country Houses of Gloucestershire: Volume 3 1830-2000 by Nicholas Kingsley and Michael Hill published by Phillimore in 2001 on pages 270-271. ISBN: 1 86077 120 3


GRO D3725/14253 1887 Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Coloured

1885 Ordnance Survey Sheet 33/12 1:2500

From Sale Particulars


F Peake's Wash Drawing - shows canopied first floor balcony

Delineations of Goucestershire; being views of the principal seats of nobility & gentry... by James Norris Brewer published about 1825 in London by Sherwood, Jones & Co - no canopy on first floor balcony, shows orangery


GRO D3549/33/2/4 in Arthur Barwick Lloyd-Baker Collection

Views at Hardwicke & Birchalls Boys in Boat - 1922 Bowden Hall in background

Peter Birchall and Richard Cripps on Fives Court

2 off of People in landscape

Aug-Sept 1924 Home, Bowden 2 off in Bowden Gardens

Historical use of site

1770 to 1940: pleasure ground

People associated with this site

Architect: Mr Thomas Fulljames (born 1808 died 1874)

Architect: Anthony Keck (born 1726 died 04/10/1797)

Advisor: Robert Marnock (born 12/03/1800 died 15/11/1889)





kitchen garden

ornamental pond