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The Castle, St Helens


Gardens associated with a mid-19th century private house, originally occupying about 4.4 hectares. The site is now in divided private ownership.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Castle House is situated at the east edge of St Helens village, with views over Brading Harbour.

The grounds of Castle House are now divided between various owners but the main surviving garden area remains with the original house, now renamed 'The Castle'.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

The grounds retain original features including the rose garden, two greenhouses, part of the kitchen garden (now laid out as an ornamental garden), two summerhouses, steps, site of fernery and the garden wall. There are mature trees and more recent plantings of trees and shrubs.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

19th Century

Castle House was originally built in 1842 by Samuel William Ridley, a floor cloth manufacturer. Extra land appears to have been acquired in the 1860s (some of it leased) after the surveying of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey (OS) 25" map of about 1862. Castle House was occupied by Sir Harry Baldwin, Dentist to Queen Victoria, from 1896 and purchased by him in 1902.

A sale catalogue of 1899 describes the ground as having been 'laid out by a skilled Landscape Gardener about the year 1866". The catalogue mentions fine oak, elm and other forest trees, flower gardens, tennis and other lawns, ornamental trees and shrubs, orchards and kitchen garden and peach house.

In 1899 the Castle House estate comprised more than 16 acres (65. hectares). A detailed plan of the grounds is attached to catalogue.

20th Century

A second sale catalogue of 1902 states that the property comprised 11 acres (4.5ha). Some land had been sold off at the death of Samuel William Ridley in 1899 and the final freehold purchase of some portions of the estate which had previously been leased took place at this date. A detailed plan attached to the 1902 sale catalogue shows garden layout and features: a kitchen garden to the west of the house, a circular Rose garden to to the north, lawned terraces, a tennis lawn and a fernery. There were numerous trees and shrubs, a paddock, a conservatory, a peach house, greenhouse and summer houses.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Features & Designations


  • Flower gardens
  • Description: The rose garden.
  • Greenhouse
  • Description: Two greenhouses.
  • Kitchen Garden, Ornamental garden
  • Description: Part of the kitchen garden (now laid out as an ornamental garden).
  • Summerhouse
  • Description: Two summerhouses.
  • Garden Wall
  • Description: Garden wall.
  • Trees
  • Description: There are mature trees.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Victorian (1837-1901)



Open to the public


Civil Parish

St Helens