The site was a mid-18th-century gentleman's residence. A country park, including a deer park, was laid out on the site in the late-19th-century. Features included a walled kitchen garden, orchard, rose garden, greenhouses and a stable block.
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Bradford Education Committee
The National TrustHeelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, SN2 2NA
The house was bought in 1831 as part of the dispersal of the Duke of Devonshire's Upper Wharfedale estate by Sir John Charles Ramsden.Sir John Charles died in 1855 when his widow, Isabella, ran the estate for her son, Sir John William Ramsden. In 1856 the Ramsden's agent reported that the ground at the north end of the Deer Park had been enclosed and was ready to be planted up. In 1858 he wrote that coniferous trees were being planted there. In 1859 the Head Keeper reported that there were 40 Fallow and 3 Red Deer in the Deer Park. A wire fence was used to keep the deer out of the woods, nevertheless, in 1860 some had managed to get through. This presumably was the reason for the purchase in 1862 of additional wire fencing for both the Deer Park and the Plantation. Despite this, in 1863 deer were said to be causing considerable damage to the Low Woods and that those that had got in were to be shot.
Some trees were raised in the Nursery, a field opposite the entrance to Redmire Farm. In 1865 Sir John was sent a list of 44,800 trees now ready for planting out, which included: 9 Austrian Pine, 1000 Scotch Fir, 4000 Elm, 1200 Beech, 500 Silver Fir, 200 Norway Spruce, 9000 Larch, 7000 Ash, 4500 Birch, 3400 Norway Maple, 500 Sycamore, 3000 Mahonia and 1500 Yews.
The Nursery seems to have been run as a commercial venture as, in 1871, it was reported to Sir John William that 1000 Norway Maples had been sold and that new seedlings were needed to replenish supplies for home use. The woods and Deer Park involved considerable expenses in buying trees, protecting them against deer and other fencing. Other costs included thinning trees, mowing walks and gravelling drives. The dowager Lady Ramsden used to drive her guests through the woods in a pony chaise. It seems that by 1871 her son was beginning to tire of the estate, as in an August letter she writes 'Your plantations have grown beautifully, considering how you have left your mark on this valley in ornamental planting, it is sad to think that you are not likely to care about it again.' Eight years later the estate was sold.
The sale particulars describe the gardens around the house and the woods and plantations in the following terms:
'The Residence, although situate close to the village, is secluded within admirably arranged Pleasure Grounds (in which is a choice Rosary), and has full view of, and is conveniently near to, the magnificent Wood and Plantations which adorn the slopes on the opposite side of the Wharfe. The Woods and Plantations about 210 acres in extent, form a special feature in the Estate, as they are largely stocked with ornamental trees and shrubs, obtained and imported at great cost.'
The 1879 sale particulars described the woods thus: 'There about eight miles of grass and gravel drives and walks on this part of the estate, made at great expense and at various elevations through picturesque portions of the woods, so as to afford the most attractive views of an extensive landscape, and render easy of access two romantic ravines in which are the fine waterfalls known as Step Gill and Water Gill. Above Birks Wood is the Deer Park affording a run for a considerable number of deer and having good winter feeding sheds and other accommodation in connection. The present herd of deer will be included in the sale'.
The estate was bought by Colonel Compton Stansfield on whose death in 1888 it was left equally to his three daughters. One daughter, Elizabeth Alexandra Compton Stansfield became the sole owner of the Buckden Estate in 1904, when her two sisters both surrendered their shares of it to her. Elizabeth Compton Stansfield lived at Buckden House and ran the estate until her death in 1938. Her particular care was given to Redmire Woods and the Deer Park. She also made major alterations to the house.
In September 1945 the Buckden Estate, comprising 2,452 acres, was sold by Mr. C. Crompton, Miss Compton Stansfield's heir. The sale particulars for this sale describe the gardens around Buckden House as follows:
'The gardens are most attractive, being enclosed by a stone wall and are very private. A feature is the fine yew hedge, which encircles the large lawn in front of the house, several very fine trees, entrance drive with two gateways, rose garden and stone bridge over Buckden Beck. The walled kitchen garden, which is approximately three quarters of an acre in area, is fertile and well stocked, and contains fruit trees and bushes, long fruit walls, two heated greenhouses, two cold greenhouses with two peach trees and a fig trees, eight garden frames, six excellent zinc cisterns for water storage, also a tool house and potting shed'.
Tommy Metcalf of Starbotton was an invaluable source of information on Redmire Wood and the Deer Park under Miss Stansfield's ownership. She took particular care of the deer which were fed beside Wayman's Barn with turnips and mangolds. She had the Deer Shed by the Iron Gate extended to give the animals further protection in winter. Mr. Metcalf can remember his grandfather feeding 67 Fallow Deer. Unfortunately after her death in 1938 the deer were not fed. Some died and the rest of the herd were shot. Tommy Metcalf recalled the kitchen garden as having four to five greenhouses, an espaliered Victoria Plum, a vine house and a peach house.
The woods were well-maintained, the paths gravelled, loose timber removed and specimen trees protected with iron guards. There were seats in the wood, some of stone and others in iron. Dwarf daffodils were planted along Sir John's Walk which ran beside one of the principal carriage drives through the wood. At the end of this walk was a summer house. Miss Stansfield did not permit open access to the woods and many ‘Trespasser will be Prosecuted' notices were posted. Those wishing to visit had to obtain a permit in advance from Buckden House. The gamekeeper was instructed to stop all persons and ask to see their permits. The tenants of Redmire Farm were not allowed into the woods or Deer Park. Miss Stansfield herself would drive through the woods in her Baby Austin car. Outside the wood close to Wayman's Field was an orchard, about 800 yards square, fenced off against rabbits. Plums, apples, cherries and pears were grown there. However, by the end of the 1930s most of these fruit trees had died.
- Features & Designations
The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens
- Reference: 6/46
- Grade: II
- Description: The drive of Buckden House sweeps in a half moon shape.
- Stable Block
- Description: The fine yew hedge mentioned in the 1945 sale particulars to the south of the house has degenerated into several large yew trees.
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- Description: Yew walk.
- Specimen Tree
- Description: In the yew walk are two giant weeping beeches whilst on the garden boundary beside the road are limes, a wellingtonia and a variegated sycamore.
- House (featured building)
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- Key Information
Part: standing remains
Yorkshire Gardens Trust