Beverstone Castle (also known as Beverston Castle)6001

Tetbury, England, Gloucestershire, Cotswold

Brief Description

The gardens around Beverstone Castle incorporate vestiges of the medieval moat. A paved terrace with exuberant planting leads from the house over the moat to lawns and herbaceous and shrub borders. There is also a walled kitchen garden. The gardens can be appreciated against the background of a ruined castle (listed Grade 1) The gardens are open occasionally under the National Gardens Scheme. For details please see: http://www.ngs.org.uk

History

The terrace was probably developed first as a garden, and was extended after 1939 by walling more of the moat. Early pictures of the ‘gazebo’ close to the Berkeley Tower might suggest this small square building was designed for fishing in the moat. Parks and Gardens recognise a ‘fishing pavilion’ as a recognised adjunct to a garden. The main garden beyond the moat seems largely to be a development of the 20th century.

Visitor Facilities

Consult National Gardens Scheme: http://www.ngs.org.uk/GardensL...

Features
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: In front of S. facing house, above surviving section of moat. Bridge leads to extensive garden sloping away from house
  • Gazebo
  • Description: Pyramidal-roofed gazebo.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Gatehouse
  • Description: The one remaining 14th-century gatehouse, now a ruin.
  • Fortified Manor House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
Herbaceous Border, Kitchen Garden, Greenhouse, Dry Moat
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Consult National Gardens Scheme: http://www.ngs.org.uk/GardensL...

Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Beverston
History

Detailed History

An Anglo-Saxon castle, probably of timber, already existed at Beverston before 1051, when the powerful Earl Godwin occupied it. It was rebuilt in 1220 on a grander Norman scale in stone and became a possession of the Berkeley family. In mid-14th century it was ‘improved’ and partly extended, and given a new gatehouse. The entrance was defended by a portcullis and drawbridge over an inner moat of which only W and S parts now exist. An outer moat has disappeared. The Berkeleys sold the castle in 1597, and in 1612 it was bought by Sir Michael Hicks, a relation of Baptist Hicks who built Chipping Campden House. The castle was twice besieged in 1644 in the civil war. Surviving portions of the castle today are the W range and N part of gatehouse, but these are substantial structures, and provide a striking and ‘gothic’ background to the garden. The present William & Mary style house adjoining the Berkeley tower, on the site of the castle’s former 13th century south hall, was probably built after a major fire in 1691. It has been used as a farmhouse and also as a gentleman’s residence.

Berkeley Castle remained in the Hicks (and Hicks Beach) family until 1842. A print from a drawing by Thomas Hearne, inscribed to Michael Hicks esq and published in 1778, suggests that the terrace in front of the house was the only garden. Below the retaining wall there was a narrow piece of land separating it from the moat. The small square building, categorized as a ‘gazebo’, was here, but there was no bridge over the moat and the land south of the moat was farmland.

In 1842 Beverston Castle was bought by Robert Holford. Holford built new cottages in Beverston for his farmers’ labourers in a similar style to those at Westonbirt, and he may have been responsible for some tree planting. The ancient walnut tree in the courtyard, and another in the lawn south of the moat, mentioned in 1975 and 1987, and some other old trees in the ground beyond the moat, had probably been planted in the years that he owned the house, if not before. Ancient yews and beech trees, and a nut walk (Sales 1980), too, probably date from this period. But a photograph of the south side of Beverston in 1899 in Trans BGAS (1899) suggests that the field on the further side of the moat from the house was then farmland. The house has changed hands several times since.

In 1939 Vice-Admiral the Hon. Arthur & Mrs Strutt bought Beverston Castle. Mrs Strutt, previously Mrs C A Ward, was a keen gardener. Much of the present garden which has been developed in the former field beyond the bridge over the moat, is owed to her. Lawns with scattered trees, shrubs and a herbaceous border have been created, and there is a walled kitchen garden and greenhouses. Major & Mrs Rook continued to develop the garden.

date

Event

1051

Castle at Beverston HQ of Earl Godwin – came into possession of Berkeley family

1220

Rebuilt by Berkeleys

Mid-14th C

Castle ‘improved’ & given new gatehouse with portcullis and drawbridge over inner moat by Thomas 3rd Lord Berkeley


W range and N part of gatehouse survive – outer moat has disappeared, only W & S part of inner moat survive

1597

Berkeley family sold castle

1612

Estate belonged to Sir Michael Hicks – owned by family until 1842. [Possibly built house in S range, later rebuilt after fire?]

1644

Castle besieged twice – taken by parliamentarians

1691

Serious fire – probably led to building of present house which occupies site of 13th C hall in the S range

18th C

Small gazebo with pyramidal roof on W end of terrace at edge of moat. Bridge over moat

1842

Estate bought by Robert Holford. Cottages rebuilt

1939

Bought by ‘Major & Mrs Strutt’ (see Glos & Avon Life May 1975) Farmhouse till then? Carried out much restoration

1959-2018

Major & Mrs Lawrence Rook owners (see Glos & Avon Life May 1975)

Period

  • Medieval (1066-1540)
References

References

  • Verey, D., {The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 1, The Cotswolds} (London: Penguin, 2nd edition 1979), pp. 205-7The Country Houses of Gloucestershire, Vol. I 1500-1660
  • Verey, D., {The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 1, The Cotswolds} (London: Penguin, 1970), pp. 104-6The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 1: The Cotswolds
  • Sales, J., {West Country Gardens} (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1980), pp. 42-3West Country gardens : the gardens of Gloucestershire, Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire
  • Bigland 1, pp178-182
  • Kingsley, 1, pp205,207
  • Rudder, pp282-4
  • Verey/Brooks pp165-7
  • Country Life vol. 95 (1944) Christopher Hussey I & II
  • Hodges, Elizabeth, Some ancient English Homes (1895) page 51 drawing of court dated 1732
  • Gloucestershire Countryside (1963 August-Sept.) page 24-7 (ref 35772) Long history. 1939 Admiral & Mrs Strutt ‘under their care 17th C house and attractive garden each side of moat’
  • Gloucestershire Countryside (1963 August-Sept.) page 24-7 (ref 35772) Long history. 1939 Admiral & Mrs Strutt ‘under their care 17th C house and attractive garden each side of moat’
  • Gloucestershire Countryside (1963 August-Sept.) page 24-7 (ref 35772) Long history. 1939 Admiral & Mrs Strutt ‘under their care 17th C house and attractive garden each side of moat’
  • Flook, Raymond (1979) 2 b/w photos: moat, bridg, gazebo; castle terrace detail
  • Gloucestershire & Avon Life May 1975 p72-75 mentions moat shaded by dark yews. Very ancient walnut amongst trees in lawn
  • Blunt, John Henry, Dursley and its neighbourhood being historical memorials of Dursley, Beverston, Cam, and Uley (1877)
  • Flook, photographs GAL/E4/8970GS* Some Ancient English Homes p51: picture dated 17321778 engraving by William Byrne of drawing by Thomas Hearne of Beverston Castle ‘To Michael Hicks Esq’ [shows cows in foreground and washing on the line beside the house; also shows ‘gazebo’ but no bridge over moat]