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Daylesford House


Daylesford House is a late-18th-century landscape park of around 120 hectares. John Davenport designed the garden buildings and formed a lake for Warren Hastings. His orangery was completed in 1790. There is also mid-19th-century planting and gardens of 10 hectares around the late-18th-century mansion.

There is a mid-19th-century terrace designed by Edward Kemp on the south side of the house.

The 20th/21st-century Millennium Garden contains a shell grotto with a flight of steps leading down to a hexagonal pool surrounded by statuary and parterre beds.

The walled kitchen garden has an orchid and peach house (1990s), topiary elephants, a rose garden and potagers (ornamental plantings of vegetables and flowers).

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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Gardens and landscape park of late 1780s associated with a country house designed by John Davenport and Daylesford's owner, Warren Hastings.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Daylesford House stands within its park 6km east of Stow-on-the-Wold, on the south side of the A436. The hamlet of Daylesford, rebuilt by Harman Grisewood in the third quarter of the C19, is at the south-west edge of the park, beyond the registered area. In the churchyard of St Peter's church is the grave of Warren Hastings, marked by a neo-Greek Coade stone monument. An unclassified road off the A436 to Cornwell bounds the park to the north, and one to Kingham forms the south-west boundary. The long south-east boundary follows lanes to Hill Farm, Daylesford's home farm, which includes H-plan stables block (listed grade II); this stands outside the registered area, 300m north-east of the House. The north-west edge of the park follows Baywell Wood. The area here registered is c 120ha.

Entrances and Approaches

There are three approaches to the House. The main formal approach is from Daylesford village to the south-west, where there are gates and a lodge, probably of the 1850s. From here the drive curves gently uphill through the centre of the park, passing west of the House and presenting one of the best views of Daylesford, before curving to make the final approach to the gravelled east forecourt of the House via the woodland to its north-west. The other two approaches are off the A436. One is from the north-west, via an entrance at Norton Gap where there are gates and a stone lodge of 1873, with later extension. This drive, gently curving and lined with trees planted in the 1990s, joins that from Daylesford village in the woodland north-west of the House. The third drive enters the park at its north-east corner, where there is the later C19, stone West Lodge. From here the drive, lined with mature lime trees, runs down the east border of the park, passing west of Hill Farm before arriving at the service court on the north side of the House.

Until the alterations of the 1850s the main drive swept south past the west front of the House to the main entrance on the south front.

Principal Building

Daylesford House (listed grade I) was designed by S P Cockerell (d 1827) for Warren Hastings, and construction began in 1787. Cockerell was architect to the East India Company, but here (unlike at Sezincote, qv) there is nothing Indian except the top of the dome, derived from Muslim architecture, and a fireplace showing a Hindu sacrifice. It is an ashlar limestone building, H-plan, in a Neoclassical style with French detailing. The main front is to the west, at the centre of which is a boldly projecting semicircular bay capped by a shallow dome. The south front has a rusticated basement and represents a remodelling of the 1850s of the original entrance front. The east, entrance front has a three-storey central block with Tuscan porch of the 1850s flanked by two-storey blocks projecting to either side. Curving west from the north wall is a C19 stable block (included in grade I listing), now (1999) used as offices.

Warren Hastings' new house represented an adaptation of a house begun by the Knights c 1720 but never completed. In the years after 1853 Robert Trollope made substantial alterations both to the interior and to the exterior of the House.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

West of the House, retained by a stone-walled ha-ha, is an apron-like lawn from which there are views west across the park. Steps lead up to the 50m wide and 20m deep balustraded South Terrace, lawn with at each corner a box parterre of Indian fabric design laid out in 1989. East of the House is another terrace, with a projecting central bow from which there is a view to the Orangery c 50m to the east. This is a seven-bay ashlar structure (listed grade I), with a row of deeply set pointed windows which continue round the bows at either end. A central pediment, battlements, and pinnacles adorn the parapet. It was constructed in the winter of 1789-90, and was almost certainly designed by John Davenport. To either side of the Orangery flanking walls curve to turrets which contain store rooms, and in 1999 a walled garden was under construction behind (north of) these and the Orangery. On the lawns around the House are many mature trees dating from Hastings' time, with others of the 1850s.

The Orangery and House look south, down a shallow wooded valley with pools, walks, and planting. There are two main pools: c 40m south-east of the South Terrace is Top Lake, c 50m in diameter, while Bottom Lake, 150m to the south-west, has a sinuous Y-plan and is c 250m long. Near the north-east end of Bottom Lake is an island, on which, until 1973, there was a C19 iron temple. At the south-west end of this Lake is a semi-ruinous C19 icehouse (listed grade II). A network of paths runs around and between the pools, and on the stream which connects them are waterfalls. This area, The Dell, contains a wide range of specimen planting, while the rising ground along the south side of Bottom Lake is mixed mature woodland. From the east side of Top Lake a path, planted up in 1997 by Lady Bamford and Rupert Golby as the Scented Walk, curves south-east. It runs to the Rose Garden, which extends along the outside of the north wall of the walled garden. This is a C19 compartment with balustrading at its east end, replanted in the late C20.

North of the walled garden and east of the House is The Warren, mixed mature woodland and shrubs. From the path which loops through this there is a good view west and downhill to the House and Orangery.

Within a month of purchasing the estate in 1788 Hastings noted in his diary (quoted in Ginger 1989) 'made my own plan for Kitchen Garden, shrubbery and other improvements'. John Davenport (fl 1774) of Wem, in Shropshire, was engaged as landscape gardener, and visited Daylesford to discuss Hastings' plans with him. Davenport's role was important, but in 1790 his disobedient manner and profligacy with Hastings' money led to his dismissal. Hastings' diaries show the progress of the work, and in addition to features which survive, mention a 'bath', presumably a cold bath, constructed in 1791. Work on the gardens was substantially complete by 1793, although it continued on the lake, stew ponds, and the stream through the gardens until 1795. In 1795 the garden was in full bloom, while in the Orangery were grenadillas, lychees, custard apples, alligator pears, and mangoes.

The construction of the South Terrace formed part of Robert Trollope's alterations at Daylesford in the years after 1853. At the same time the drive was removed from the west front, and additional plantings made of ornamental shrubs supplied by Edward Kemp (1817-91), landscape architect of Birkenhead.


Daylesford House stands midway down the east side of a roughly oval park, almost 2km long from north-east to south-west and up to 1km wide. It slopes downhill from north-east to south-west. Plantation belts, Baywell Wood and Green Plantation, run along the north-west and north boundaries, while north and south of the House, up to the east edge of the park, are shrubberies and woodland.

The central and southern parts of the park are open grass parkland with specimen and parkland trees. Springs feed several pools, and on a stream in the south-westernmost section of the park are several small waterfalls. A square moat on the north side of Daylesford village, at the south-west corner of the park, may represent the site of the medieval manor house.

As with the garden, Warren Hastings began to plan his park as soon as he gained possession of Daylesford, liaising with Davenport on its perimeters and drives. Some road realignments were undertaken around Daylesford village. Within the park hedgerow trees were retained, and field patterns remained strongly defined by trees as shown on the OS map of a century later (OS 1884). Warren Hastings kept a yak in the park; this appears in a painting by George Stubbs kept at the House.

Kitchen Garden

Walled kitchen gardens, again apparently designed in 1788 by John Davenport on Warren Hastings' instructions, stand 250m south-east of the House. The main garden, surrounded by a 3-4m high brick wall, has the plan of a rounded triangle, c 100m across. A series of pleasure gardens (Lady Bamford and Lady Mary Keen, from 1989), an orchid house (Philip Jebb 1990), and a peach house were constructed within the north half of the garden in the late C20, and an orchard planted in the south part. The exterior face of the wall is supported by angle buttresses, which serve to divide the outer garden area into bays. This, mainly planted with fruit trees, extends east and south of the main garden as far as the stone wall around the edge of the property. North of the garden is a row of late C18 or early C19 stone sheds, while c 50m east of the north-east corner of the garden is a stone gardener's house of c 1870. West of this, outside the north-east corner of the walled garden, are three late C20 glasshouses.


  • OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1883-4, published 1884

Archival items

  • Warren Hastings, Diaries 1788-99 (BM Add MS 39889) [typescript extracts at Daylesford]
Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

Private House.


The gardens are 5 miles west of Chipping Norton off the A436.


Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford (2002)


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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

12th - 18th Century

The Hastings family owned Daylesford from the time of Henry II until 1715 when financial ruin led Penyston Hastings to sell. The purchaser, Jacob Knight, began to rebuild the house there.

In 1788, his son Thomas sold the incomplete house and the 243 hectare estate to Penyston Hastings' great-grandson Warren Hastings, governor-general of British India from 1773 until his resignation in 1784. Almost immediately Hastings embarked on an ambitious scheme to complete the house and to lay out new gardens and a park around it, employing John Davenport to develop his own ideas.

19th - 20th Century

After Hastings' death in 1818 his wife Marian lived on at Daylesford until her death in 1837. Her son (Hastings' stepson), General Sir Charles Imhoff lived here until he died in 1853, when the estate, house, and its contents were auctioned. The estate was bought by Harman Grisewood, a stockbroker, who remodelled the interior of the house and made some changes to its surroundings. He sold it in 1874, and it subsequently passed through several hands before its purchase by Lord Rothermere in 1946.

House and landscape were extensively restored, the work continuing under subsequent owners. Daylesford remains in private ownership, and new gardens were in the making in the late 1990s.


  • 18th Century
  • Late 18th Century
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1753
  • Grade: II*


  • Orangery
  • Description: Dates back to the early and late 19th century. It was probably designed by S P Cockerell for Warren Hastings. It has ashlar in the construction and is leaded with slate roofing.
  • Lake
  • Shell Grotto
  • Description: The grotto in the Millennium Secret Garden has a star-patterned ceiling and a semi-circular seat. It is covered in grey and black mussel shells, yellow cockleshells, mother-of-pearl, jet, slate, coral, spiral shells and others, together with a mirror mosaic.
  • Icehouse
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Parterre
  • Description: Parterre beds consisting of formal compartments of box, lavender and hornbeam among others.
  • Statue
  • Description: Statues of Hercules and Pan with satyrs surround the pool at the foot of steps leading down from the shell grotto.
  • Ornamental Pond
  • Description: Hexagonal pool surrounded by statues in the Millennium Secret Garden.
  • Glasshouse
  • Description: Orchid house and peach house in the kitchen garden.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The kitchen garden contains topiary elephants, potagers and a rose garden.
  • Rose Garden
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house is built of golden ashlar from Edge Hill and a grey Cotswold stone.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


18th Century





Civil Parish





  • Gloucestershire Gardens & Landscape Trust