Berry Hill 393

Taplow, England, Buckinghamshire, South Bucks

Brief Description

Berry Hill had mid-19th-century pleasure grounds and a park of about 11 hectares, originally laid out by Robert Marnock between 1856 and 1860 around a small country house. There was extensive artificial rockwork by James Pulham. The extent of survival of these features is unknown. The house has been demolished and a block of flats stands in its place.

History

Robert Marnock was called in to design a layout for the gardens after 1855. By 1860 over seven hectares had been planted with transplanted standard specimen trees and with shrubs and flowers.

Terrain

The estate occupies a long, narrow, rectangular site which runs from north to south down the south-facing Taplow Hill.

Detailed Description

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 The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

Mid-19th century pleasure grounds and a small park laid out by Robert Marnock between 1856 and 1860 around a modest country house (now gone), with extensive artificial rockwork by James Pulham.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Berry Hill estate lies at the southern edge of the village of Taplow, c 3km north-east of the centre of Maidenhead. The 11ha estate occupies a long, narrow, rectangular site which runs from north to south down the south-facing Taplow Hill. It is bounded to the north by Mill Lane and beyond this the Taplow Court estate, to the south by Bath Road, to the east by Berry Hill lane, and to the west by fields which run down to the nearby River Thames. The setting is agricultural to the west and east, with the village of Taplow to the north and Maidenhead prominent in the views down to the west and south-west. The adjacent designed landscape of Taplow Court (qv) lies to the north, at the southern end of a line of contiguous designed landscapes including Cliveden (qv) and Hedsor House (qv).

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The main entrance to the house lies directly off Berry Hill. A lodge stands at the south-east corner of the site but there was never an approach drive from it, neither does the estate cottage standing at the north-east corner of the site appear to have been associated with an entrance.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

Berry Hill house, now demolished, stood half-way down the site on the eastern boundary, immediately to the south of the stables. A block of modern flats now occupies its site. A patterned brick wall borders the public road to the north of the house site.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The main focus is a c 2ha lake with gently curving banks, which lies along the western boundary of the southern part of the site. At its northern end is a small circular island, and near to this, on the western bank, is a mid C19 wooden boathouse, now derelict.

To the north of the boathouse is an extensive area of artificial rockwork which in parts stands over 4m high. Created by James Pulham, who started work on its construction in 1859 and continued during the 1860s, it was originally planted with small shrubs and rock plants. The artificial cliff raised to hide the view of a gasworks, and the cave associated with it, survive, but the waterfalls which cascaded over the rocks, and the jet which spouted some 7m into the air, have ceased to function. A stream which feeds the lake emerges from the rockwork having been piped underground across the fields beyond.

A path, from which there were views out over pasture to the west towards the river, led north from the house to the kitchen garden. The layout of this section of the site has been altered as a result of modern development. The path continued to a woodland walk along the northern boundary where a band of ornamental planting remains. This existed before Noble bought the site but, along with other plantings on the estate, was planted up as part of his landscape improvements. Marnock's work included the levelling of a platform in the north-west corner of the site to support a small reservoir presumably associated with the water system for the rockwork.

PARK

The open parkland is laid out in the form of two large paddocks lying to the north-west and south-west of the site of the house. It is planted with a variety of ornamental specimen trees. Some of Marnock's family groupings of tree species still exist although the shorter-lived shrubberies and floral embellishments which were a particular feature of the site have gone. Tree plantings, particularly of evergreens, form screens around the perimeter of the plot.

KITCHEN GARDEN

Behind the house was the kitchen garden, a hedged area laid out by Edward Kemp (1817-91) c 1855 on the site of an earlier kitchen garden. The extensive range of glasshouses has gone and the original design, intended for decorative effect, has been lost.

A range of estate buildings, to which several modern houses have been added, stand beyond, to the north of the kitchen garden.

REFERENCES

The Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, (1860), p 815; (1866), pp 759-60

The Garden, (16 December 1871), pp 80-1; (6 January 1872), pp 143-5

B Elliott, Victorian Gardens (1986), p 169

N Pevsner and E Williamson, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (1994), p 692

Maps

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1875

OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1875

Archival items

Sale particulars, 1852 (Buckinghamshire Record Office)

Sale particulars, 1855 (Buckinghamshire Record Office)

Description written: February 1999 Amended: April 1999

Register Inspector: SR

Edited: June 1999

Features
Rockery, Pulhamite
Access & Directions

Directions

East of Maidenhead, north of the A4
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Taplow
History

Detailed History

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 The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

John Noble bought Berry Hill in 1855; he had moved out by 1871. On his arrival, the gardens, comprising shrubberies and pleasure grounds, covered an area of little more than 1.5 hectares. Robert Marnock (1800-1889) was immediately called in to design a layout which William Robinson was to praise as a fine example of the English or natural style (The Garden 1872). By 1860 over 7 hectares had been planted with transplanted standard specimen trees and with shrubs and flowers. The house has been demolished and a block of flats stands in its place (1992).

Period

  • Victorian (1837-1901)
Associated People
Contact
References

References