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Aldby Park


Aldby Park is a landscape park with pleasure grounds which surround a country house.


The park is on gently rolling land which slopes down to the River Derwent.

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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Gardens laid out by Thomas Knowlton in about 1746 incorporating the remains of a medieval motte, and a park probably laid out at the same time and enlarged in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Aldby Park lies immediately north of the village of Buttercrambe in a rural and agricultural area. The c 36 ha park is on gently rolling land which slopes down to the River Derwent. The river and a mill-race running from it form the eastern boundary, the road between Buttercrambe and Bossall forms the western boundary, the main street through the village the southern boundary, and fencing divides the northern boundary from agricultural land.

Entrances and Approaches

The main entrance to the site is from Buttercrambe where there is an early C18 lodge (listed grade II) and gates from which a drive runs north-west to the house. Another entrance on the north-west side of the site is from the Buttercrambe to Bossall road and the drive, planted partially as an avenue as shown on the 1913 OS map, is on the line of a track shown on the 1663 map.

Principal Building

Aldby Park (listed grade II*) was built in 1726 replacing a more modest house shown in Samuel Buck's Yorkshire Sketchbook of c 1720. It is a compact three-storey building of red brick dressed with stone, and the west front has a portico, probably of the early C19, and elaborate pedimented feature above. The east (garden) front has a similar central pedimented feature surmounted by a bust of George I. The house was altered and extended in the C19 by Henry Wyatt and early C20 photographs show that wings were added to each side of the building. The house was requisitioned by the army in the Second World War and subsequently fell into disrepair. The C19 wings were removed and the house was finally restored during the 1960s. It is in use as a private residence (1998).

Some 100m south-west of the house there is an early C18 stable block (listed grade II) on a U-shaped plan.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

On the west side of the house there are lawns and a gravel turning circle, and the north side is planted with trees and shrubs. On the south side there is a lawn enclosed by clipped yews. A lawn, which is terraced down to the east in three stages, lies immediately before the east front and gives views to the east over the Wolds. At the eastern edge of the lawn a terraced walk runs north/south overlooking and running parallel to the mill-race, which is an arm of the Derwent feeding a late C17 mill (listed grade II and outside the registered area) shown on a survey of 1663. Beneath the terraced walk, which stretches for the full width of the garden, there is a series of grassed terraces down to the edge of the water. Some 100 m south-east of the house the earthwork remains of a motte, shown on the 1663 map, have been incorporated into the garden, and walks lead along the edge of ditches and around the earthwork mound which is planted with shrubs and trees, to join with the terrace overlooking the mill-race. The south-east side of the garden is planted with trees and shrubs and the garden is divided from parkland by fencing.

The garden layout is shown on an undated early to mid C18 map, probably by Thomas Knowlton (1691-1781), which shows the terraces down to the river lined with trees or shrubs and the earthworks incorporated into the system of paths around the garden which was wooded apart from the east lawn. A map of 1746 shows the garden layout in similar form. The fact that a kitchen garden shown on the undated map does not appear on that of 1746, though one is shown on the 1829 map, suggests that the undated map is a proposal plan and the map of 1746 probably shows what was executed or decided upon. The two are in fact very similar, except that the 1746 map shows a fence or wall around the garden whereas the other has the garden integrated into a wider system of radiating rides cut through woodland.

Knowlton's bill to Brewster Darley for 'attendance, inspection and direction in making, levelling and forming his gardens and planting the same' survives and is dated 8 September 1746. The works itemised include planting 1000 beech, 500 hornbeams and 2000 birch trees, supplying 'elmses [and] privetts' and works of levelling and setting out slopes and lawns.

Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden lies c 200 m south-west of the house. It is a walled enclosure built of red brick, with a dividing wall running east/west across it which has glasshouses on the south side. The entrance is from the main street in Buttercrambe and the 1913 OS map shows that it was reached from a track from the stables at that time. It is on the site of a kitchen garden shown on the undated C18 plan, and was built after the 1746 survey but appears on the 1829 map. The garden is in use as nurseries and a garden centre (1998).


The park surrounds the house on all but the east side. A poplar avenue is aligned with the west front of the house which was planted late C20 to replace an elm avenue on the same line. An avenue in this position is shown on the 1746 survey and it appears to be on the line of one of the main village streets as shown on the 1663 map. South of the house there is woodland which is shown in 1746 with a ride cut through it as part of a geometrical scheme of radiating rides which centred on the house. The angled north and south-west garden boundaries preserve the line of the rides to some extent, but they are not shown on the 1829 map.

The park on the north and north-west of the house is open grassland with scattered trees and clumps. Ridge and furrow is prominent in the northern part of the park and an area with earthwork banks and depressions north and north-west of the house was the site of part of Buttercrambe village, as shown on the 1663 map, which must have been cleared to form the park probably in the early C18 when the new house was built.

The 1746 map shows scattered trees and woodland stretching along the edge of the Derwent, with a ride cut through it which was part of the geometrical scheme into which the garden was integrated. The 1829 map does not show the woodland alongside the river, but it shows regularly disposed clumps within the park and includes an area marked Deer Park at the northern end of the site shown as enclosed fields in 1746. This may have been imparked in 1777 when accounts mention fencing for the Deer Park. The undated plan, possibly by Knowlton, shows an extended avenue leading north to Buttercrambe Wood (outside the registered area), c 1.5 km to the north-west and beyond the confines of the park as shown in 1829. The avenue was to be planted in platoons using a total of 404 trees using the species beech, elm, birch and oak. Trees within the park and some beyond it to the north could be the survivors of this scheme.


[reproduced in Ray 1993]

  • Map of Buttercrambe, 1663
  • Undated C18 map showing a design for the landscape around the house at Aldby Undated C18 map of the park, fields to the north and Buttercrambe Wood, with proposals for an avenue
  • Map of Buttercrambe and Aldby, 1746
  • R Bewdlay, A Plan of the Estate of Henry Darley Esq..., 1829
  • OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1913
  • OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1891

Description written: September 1998

Register Inspector: CEH

Edited: October 1999

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Aldby Park house was built in 1726 although the estate dates back to the 16th century. The site is believed to be the site of King Edwin's castle during the early medieval period.

Thomas Knowlton remodelled the park and gardens between 1743 and 1746. Work included the creation of the terraces and the paths that wind round the twin mounds.

During World War 2 the army took possession of the house and park which were left in a poor condition after the war. In the mid-1960s the current owners began a programme of restoration on the house and grounds.

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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

13th - 16th Century

The manor was held by the de Stutevills in the 13th century and sold to William Darley in 1557. T

17th Century

he estate passed through the female line to the Brewster family who adopted the Darley name in 1743. A series of pre-Ordnance Survey maps show Buttercrambe and Aldby Park. A plan of 1663 is the earliest, there are two undated 18th-century maps, a map of 1746 by Robert Bewdlay and a plan of 1829.

20th Century

In the 20th century the estate passed to the Winns, cousins of the Darleys and it has remained in the family since that time. The estate is privately owned (1998).

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD2057
  • Grade: II*


  • Moat
  • Description: A dry moat.
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  • Earthwork
  • Description: One of two mounds believed to date back to the early-medieval period.
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  • Earthwork
  • Description: One of two mounds believed to date back to the early-medieval period.
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  • Terrace
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  • House (featured building)
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Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Open to the public


Civil Parish

Buttercrambe with




  • Louise Wickham