A small manor house lying along a hill terrace with pleasure grounds and a remote kitchen garden benefited from advice from Robert Marnock has been extended to become a popular hotel. The hill behind is now owned by the Woodland Trust.
Bowden Hall was a three-storey brick built with two full height bows with first floor veranda on the south elevation that Nicholas Kingsley thought was designed by Anthony Keck. The veranda's roof was later removed and remodelled as a balcony and the building was stuccoed. In 1943 prior to it becoming an approved school another full height bow was added. Subsequent extensions for a hotel continued along the terrace towards the orangery.
Visitor FacilitiesThe woods at Nut Hill are open to the public at any time. The grounds of the hotel are only open to guests.
These description was compiled from sales particulars only the lake, scrubs and trees remain in a lawn whilst the kitchen garden wall can be found.
The house was built on a terrace of Nut Hill. On the south east side it still had a loggia in 1925 with a Magnolia trained up that side of the house. Extensions to this side of the house demolished the loggia.
There is a long terrace walk on the hall's southern side aligned to the tower of Gloucester Cathedral. This may have been one of the views that Robert Marnock that advised John Dearman Birchall in 1868 to open up.
2 Tennis Courts
The orangery is in the Queen Anne style. It brick and stone faced, had a wood block floor heated by a boiler in a shed at the back. It was sympathetically converted to a house for the owner managers in 1980.
Although John Dearman Birchall primarily bought land to prevent Gloucester suburbs being built on them he also bought Nut Hill in 1873. He had an ornamental stone built summer house erected on its summit.
In 1925 it was a rabbit warren.The summer house was superseded by air defences including a bunker that still exists to protect the Glocester Aircraft Company manufacturing plant to the north at Brockworth. It is now owned by the Woodland Trust.
Walled Kitchen Garden
Surrounded by high brick wall on which are trained many fruit trees
Soft water well
Lean-to unheated Peach House adjoining the south wall
On a south east facing wall there was a range of glass houses comprising
2-span heated Carnation House heated from a boiler outside the wall beside the public road
Small Kitchen Garden
2 off 2-span Forcing Pits
13 Forcing Frames in 3 ranges
Pleasance, Terrace, Orangery, Kitchen Garden, Ornamental Pond
- Access & Directions
Access Contact DetailsThe woods at Nut Hill are open to the public at any time. The grounds of the hotel are only open to guests.
- Upton St.
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
- Associated People
Jarvis Hotels Ltd (House and grounds)
Woodlands Trust (Nut Hill woods)Autumn Park, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL
- pages 92-99Delineations of Gloucestershire; being views of the principal seats of nobility & gentry
- Pages 84-85The Country Houses of Gloucestershire, Vol. II 1660-1830
- Pages 270-271The Country Houses of Gloucestershire, Vol. III 1830-2000
- Gloucestershire Archives and Local Studies, A Village History - of Upton St. Leonards, GRO PA347/11A Village History - of Upton St Leonards
- Gloucestershire Archives and Local Studies, Notes on History of Bowden Hall, GRO PA347/7Notes on History of Bowden Hall
Gloucestershire Gardens & Landscape Trust