Crowe Hall 1003

Bath, England

Brief Description

Crowe Hall has villa gardens of 3 hectares, developed on a hillside site in the 19th and 20th centuries. The gardens have occasional open days in the spring.

History

Crowe Hall was built in about 1760 for Brigadier Crowe, and a late 18th century sketch shows it set in informal parkland. The house was re-built in the early-19th century and a framework for a formal terraced garden was laid out.

Terrain

Steep site.

Detailed Description

The garden of Crowe Hall is placed on a steep site. From different parts of the garden there are views over the trees to Prior Park, Widcombe and the city of Bath.

The main entrance to the garden is from Widcombe Hill. The drive curves round to the house. To the north, the garden is bounded by a high wall running along Widcombe Hill.

The main area of the garden in the south and west consists of a series of terraces and small secluded gardens. The lower terraces are wooded. There is a vast retaining wall running north-west to south-east. A series of paths runs along the length of the terraces. In the eastern part of the garden is a large meadow.

Some features of the garden, most notably the lawns and beds nearest the house, are well-maintained. However, lack of sufficient gardening staff means that much of the garden is untended.

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

Crowe Hall has a 19th to early 20th century formal villa garden, which includes works undertaken by William Carmichael for Henry Tugwell in the mid 1870s.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Crowe Hall, an irregular hillside site of c 3ha, occupies the west-facing slope immediately above St Thomas à Becket's church and Widcombe Manor (qv) in the south-eastern outskirts of Bath. To the south-west its boundary is formed by Church Lane and to the north by Widcombe Hill. To the east the site is enclosed by fields. Crowe Hall's position on a hillside offers exceptional views across the valley to Prior Park (qv) to the south and over Bath to the west.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The site is entered off Widcombe Hill road to the north. Here a set of cast- and wrought-iron gates, hung between ashlar piers surmounted by vases topped with pineapple leaves (listed grade II), gives access to a short drive that leads to the east front of the Hall.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

Crowe Hall is a classical villa (listed grade II) built of Bath stone and is situated in the north part of the site. Since it was rebuilt in the early C19, it has been continuously remodelled, in particular under the ownership of Henry Tugwell in the early 1870s. In 1926 the west front was completely rebuilt following a fire which destroyed a large portion of the Hall including the conservatory. The orangery attached to its west end dates from the 1880s.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

Opposite the levelled area to the east front of the Hall is a bank which is set with local stone boulders to form a rock garden, with a wall-fountain in the centre. The rock garden was created by William Carmichael in the late C19 (Laurie 1989). The statue of Neptune, bought from a sale at Brownsea Island, is a later addition (late C20). The rising land to the east is informally laid out as a meadow with a hard tennis court, replacing an earlier grass court, set into the hillside.

The main garden area is entered via a gate through the screen wall which extends south from the Hall. The gate opens onto the top, stone-paved terrace. To the south steps lead down to a level lawn set with a small formal pool. The raised walk along its eastern edge replaces rockwork of the 1870s by Carmichael. The main terrace of this garden is pre 1885, but the simple layout of grass and pool dates from the late 1930s and occupies the site of the flower garden designed by Carmichael, which took the form of a series of twelve grass terraces with flower beds and a fountain (ibid).

The top terrace and formal gardens are supported by substantial retaining walls. To the south, paths wind down the steep slope, through the Victorian grotto, rockery, and water garden. Several roughly parallel paths form woodland walks along the hillside above the churchyard. The uppermost, overhung by old plantings of yew, leads to the late C18 coach house (listed grade II) c 90m to the south-east of the Hall and an area of mid C20 gardening, and to the Gothic Cottage (listed grade II), standing c 180m south-east of the Hall in the far south corner of the site, built in 1854 to house the head gardener.

KITCHEN GARDEN

Below the balustraded terrace on the west front of the Hall, a long straight walk leads to the walled and terraced kitchen garden, which occupies the north-west end of the site between Church Street and the high wall which borders Widcombe Hill. Part of the kitchen garden is occupied by a private dwelling introduced in the late C20. Some of the once extensive ranges of glasshouses remain, one of them bearing the date 1852.

REFERENCES

J Horticulture & Home Farmer, 53 (11 October 1906), pp 342-3

J Sales, West Country Gardens (1980), pp 143-6

Inspector's Report: Crowe Hall, (English Heritage 1984)

Inspector's Report: Crowe Hall, (English Heritage 1989)

S Harding and D Lambert, Parks and Gardens of Avon (1994), pp 87, 114

Description rewritten: September 2001

Amended: October 2001

Edited: January 2004

Features
  • Garden Building
  • Description: Log shed.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Greenhouse
  • Description: The greenhouses are in bad condition and in need of attention. One is dated 1852.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Terrace
  • Description: The upper terrace is the central garden feature. It is a neatly maintained rectangular shaped formal garden adjoining the south side of the house. Steps lead from the house down to the lawn, which has a pond in the middle. The balustrades were brought from Queen's Square.
  • Mansion House (featured building)
  • Description: Crowe Hall is a classical Bath stone mansion. It was built around 1760, re-built around 1800 and since then continuously re-modelled. After a serious fire in 1926, the west front was completely re-built. The entrance front has a giant portico. The orangery at the western end was built in the 1880s.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Orangery
  • Description: The orangery is at the west end of the house, and was built in the 1880s.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Garden Building
  • Description: This feature is the coach house. It dates to the late 18th century. It has been considerably altered and is now converted into flats.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Grotto
  • Description: Below the upper terrace are the remains of the grotto. It is now overgrown and has lost some of its stonework. It is made of tufa stone and studded with shells and ammonites.
  • Water Feature
  • Description: By the grotto are the remains of an extensive water garden. the channels no longer have water flowing through them.
  • Gate
  • Description: The entrance gates are made from cast and wrought iron. The ashlar gate piers are surmounted by vases topped with pineapple leaves.
  • Planting
  • Description: This feature is the Italian garden. It is a secluded garden in the south-east of the site. It is laid out formally with statuary.
  • Planting
  • Description: This featue is the Children's garden. It is a walled grassed area in the north-west. It may previously have been the kitchen garden.
  • Courtyard
  • Description: This feature is the mulberry courtyard. It is a secluded garden to the north-west of the house.
  • Courtyard
  • Description: This feature is the nut courtyard. It is a secluded garden to the north-west of the house.
  • Lawn
  • Description: This feature is the meadow. It is enclosed by an iron railing and let out to a local farmer.
  • Garden House
  • Description: This feature is a picturesque Gothic cottage, originally built for the chief gardener.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Lawn, Pool
Access & Directions

Directions

The gardens lie off the A3062, which can be reached from the A36 near Bath.
History

Detailed History

The original Crowe Hall was built around 1760. It was re-built around 1800 and the house and garden have been considerably re-modelled since then, particularly by an Italophile owner around 1871.

A sketch by Thomas Robins, now in the Hohler Collection at the Courtauld Institute, shows Crowe Hall standing in an 18th century landscape.

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

Crowe Hall was built in about 1760 for Brigadier Crowe, and a late 18th century sketch by Thomas Robins (Courtauld Institute) shows it set in informal parkland.

In the early 19th century the estate was bought by George Hayward Tugwell, who rebuilt the house and laid out the basic framework for a formal terraced garden.

During the 1870s, under the ownership of Henry Tugwell, both house and garden were remodelled. In 1874 Henry Tugwell appointed William Carmichael (about 1816-1904) as head gardener, who was responsible for a series of alterations to the gardens. Carmichael was trained at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, and had previously been head gardener to the Prince of Wales at Sandringham, Norfolk in the 1860s.

Crowe Hall remained the property of the Tugwell family until 1919, when it was sold. It then changed hands several times before being purchased by Sir Sydney Barratt in 1960. The latter developed the garden further, and collected various statues and ornaments for it.

The site remains (2001) in private ownership.

Period

  • Victorian (1837-1901)
Associated People

Just one person associated to Crowe Hall

Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • Myna Trustram

    1

  • Avon Gardens Trust