Fredville Park, Nonington 1370

Dover, England, Kent, Dover

Brief Description

Fredville Park has wood and parkland of 100 hectares (247 acres), featuring many 'ancient' trees including a Majesty Oak listed in the Guinness Book of records as the largest maiden Oak tree in the United Kingdom. The site also includes a 2 acre 18th century walled garden, although the associated house was demolished in 1945. The walled garden is now used for Pheasant rearing.

History

The original farmhouse called 'Fredville' was enlarged into a comfortable Adam style two storey house in 1750 by the Plumptre family.

Visitor Facilities

Some areas are open to the public.

Detailed Description

There is a 2 acre walled garden that could date from the 18th century with 2-3 metre high brick walls, now in an abandoned state and used for pheasant rearing.

There are some attractive thatched ‘Ferme Ornée' style cottages in the remote village of Frogham nearby.

Two areas of very ancient and very massive old trees are of great importance:

1) The oaks near the house. A ring fence instead of a ha-ha, (no landfall) enclosed the 18th century house, and within this, among later laurel scrub and evergreens, can be found several quite unique oaks of great age and size, records of which are known for at least 200 years. Four of these veterans have existed for so long that they have acquired local names:

a) ‘Majesty': It is the largest surviving maiden oak in the UK (even outclassing the Sherwood Forest Major). It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records, and is at least 400-450 years of age. It is huge, spreading, and in reasonable condition, but branches lost in 1930 are accelerating decay on the east side.

b) The other three gnarled, massive trees are ‘Beauty', ‘Staghorn' and ‘Stately'. These are not quite the size of Majesty, but £100 was offered for Stately in 1890. Survey is needed.

2) The Spanish chestnut avenue. This runs south-east across the park well away from the site of the old house, and it must date from the 17th century. It has no focal feature at its south-east end. Some trees have died and others are well past healthy maturity. This is a unique feature.

The October 1987 storm caused considerable damage to the woodland belts and beech woods to the south-east. Holm oaks were also damaged. However the famous and ancient oaks named above are all undamaged. The sweet chestnut avenue is also reasonably intact.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The mansion was developed from a farmhouse in 1750, enlarged in 1880 and demolished in 1945.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: `Majesty': It is the largest surviving maiden oak in the UK (even outclassing the Sherwood Forest Major). It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records, and is at least 400-450 years of age. It is huge, spreading, and in reasonable condition, but branches lost in 1930 are accelerating decay on the east side.
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: The other three gnarled, massive trees are `Beauty', `Staghorn' and `Stately'. These are not quite the size of Majesty, but £100 was offered for Stately in 1890. Survey is needed.
  • Tree Avenue
  • Description: The Spanish chestnut avenue. This runs south-east across the park well away from the site of the old house, and it must date from the 17th century. It has no focal feature at its south-east end. Some trees have died and others are well past healthy maturity. This is a unique feature.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Some areas are open to the public.

Directions

The site lies one mile east of Snowdown Colliery.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Nonington
History

Detailed History

The name ‘Fredville' is ancient and its origin is unknown. The present main features are the woodland and parkland, with a number of magnificent, ancient trees, but no mansion or garden to match (the house was demolished in 1945). The estate continues to the high quality landscape in this area of east Kent, which is otherwise rather bleak and intensively farmed. The surrounding area is affected by collieries, and some village housing development.

The original farmhouse called ‘Fredville' was enlarged into a comfortable Adam style two storey house in 1750 by the Plumptre family. In 1880 a massive nursery wing was added to house a Plumptre family of 12 children (This was done by the present owner's great grandfather).

In 1918 the succeeding Plumptre considered reducing the size of the house, but instead, in 1921 built a small, unpretentious house to the north, the mansion being abandoned. There was service occupation between 1939 and 1945. A serious fire that burnt down the best part led to the late J. H. Plumptre's decision to demolish the rest in 1945, only leaving the stable blocks and some outbuildings.

References

References

  • Kent County Council Planning Department {The Kent Gardens Compendium} (Canterbury: Kent County Council, 1996) 56The Kent Gardens Compendium

Contributors

  • Kent Gardens Trust