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Glenfall House (also known as Gutterfall)6874

Short Description

Glenfall House has a stream garden through a glen with waterfalls. The garden has been supplemented by terraces designed by Norman Jewson.

Detailed Description

The terrace walls are very slightly inclined and have great square vertical pillars every 4.5 meters (15 feet) along their length.

From the flagged west terrace by the house, steps descend to a lawn, once used as a tennis court, and this terrace has a double flight of angled steps down a drop of 2.3 meters (7 feet, 6 inches) to the rose garden. Within the arms of the steps is an ornamental pool with shelled fountain in its back wall and an arched recess with a keystone similar in design to that of the grotto, but with a drip stone rather than a dated plaque.

Unfortunately, the rose garden lost its symmetry by the introduction of a hard tennis court in 1935 (confirmed by Lawrence Mitchell). The tennis court has a pergola of wisteria along the length of the terrace walling, with square pillars coinciding with those in the wall but smaller in cross section. The wooden beams which span the walkway are inadequate and the size of the original beams can be appreciated from the cavities on the pillars and in the wall. It is along the length of this pergola that the surprise of the grotto suddenly appears, and beyond the walkway is a quiet lawn canopied by a central cedar planted around 1872. Over the walls, at either end of the terrace, ridge and furrowed meadow, Home Ground and White Fields slope away to the Ham Brook. The ridges have probably survived because of ancient oaks and chestnuts that have handicapped modern ploughing.

Returning to the rose garden at the North end of the terrace there is a paved area which used to be capped by Laburnum - according to Lawrence Mitchell - and from a seat in this position a view of the cedar could have been reflected in water, if this had been the intention, before the tennis court was constructed.

The water garden is made secluded by great arms of yew hedging which have over grown themselves and their domed features have become more conical. They now block vistas, one from the seat looking south to the cedar and the other from the house looking west down the flights of steps. It is possible that two more domed sections were intended to completely frame the water garden where these two vistas cross.

The third terrace is only 5.5 meters (18 feet) wide. At one time it had circular beds dotted along its length but it could have been designed for more ambitious planting or possibly for archery. From this narrow terrace semi-circular steps lead down to the orchard. A pair of blue cedars grace the area (planted around 1872) and two weeping willows of comparable age are becoming wind damaged. On the north side of these is a gate leading out into the meadow and a ha-ha completely surrounds the orchard.

A balanced view of the house is seen from the orchard. Trees have matured and screen the lawns on the south side where probably the Willis family extended the garden as shown by differences in the OS map of 1882 and 1921. Two paths lead up through a belt of Holly, Holm Oak and Lime and pockets of natural rocks shelter Rhododendron, Pieris, Hepatica and Cyclamen (a surprise within the Cotswold limestone). At the level of the Western lawn a Deodar, planted about 1866, is a focal point within a slight dell, and its interesting asymmetric branch helps to encompass the dell. On the south lawn a Liriodendron and more Limes give shelter to what must have been an even more secluded area when another great cedar was alive - only its severed trunk remains.

The south lawn is seen from the morning room and the large dining room which was once a ballroom and has a sprung floor. Its central door opens onto a paved terrace of modern stone and the original Cotswold stone semi-circular steps lead up to a sloping lawn. Three island beds of herbaceous plants are backed by a great yew hedge to the east and a holly hedge to the south and casually planted ornamental trees add to the interest and informality of this sloping land.

The kitchen garden is beyond the yew hedge to the east. It is completely askew and on the same slope as the south lawn. Beds have been cut askew giving a sense of symmetry within the enclosure. The brick wall to the east has courses parallel to the gradient of the hill rather than horizontal ones that are a sign of its age.

The driveway up to Glenfall House from its octagonal Regency Lodge, is through an avenue of stately small leafed limes, oaks and fern leafed beech. The drive then crosses directly over the Waterfall in the Glen, between coppices both up and down stream belonging to the local farmer. A dogleg in the drive beyond hides the house from view apart from glimpses of the north face between, a line of great boundary oaks, one planted around 1662. Amongst the shrubs up the drive are several rhododendrons possibly bedded in soil washed free of its lime by continued rainfall.


29/05/1890 & 14/05/1908 Particulars Auction of Estate on 29/05/1931 with Map and 14/05/1908 without map Gloucestershire Archives in D4858/3/1/1

23/03/1931 Particulars of Auction of Glenfall Farm Gloucestershire Archives in D2299/22157


1826 View of Glenfall Cottage S Y Griffith, New Historical Description of Cheltenham Page 96

1830 View of the waterfall at Glenfall Henry Lamb, Views of Cheltenham and its Vicinity Drawn from Nature on Stone Selected Prints in Cheltenham Library basement

1844 View of the waterfall at Glenfall James Buckman, A Botanical Guide to the Environs of Cheltenham Frontspiece obtain from Local Studies Library in Cheltenham

1908 Includes photographs of waterfall, lodge, drive and house 14/05/1908 Estate Sale Particulars Gloucestershire Archives in D4858/3/1/1

April-June 1987 Photographs of Conservatory prior to Demolition In Cheltenham Borough Council's Listed Building Consent Gloucestershire Archives K/884/1/26 860/1

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):

A regency villa with Picturesque park and pleasure ground dating from the early C19 and laid out in a steep-sided valley. The terraced gardens to the west were added in the 1920s, and attributed to Sidney Barnsley and Norman Jewson.


A regency villa with Picturesque park and pleasure ground dating from the early C19 and laid out in a steep-sided valley. The terraced gardens to the west were added in the 1920s, and attributed to Sidney Barnsley and Norman Jewson.


Glenfall House occupies an elevated position to the north of Charlton Kings, and two miles to the east of Cheltenham. The site offers far-reaching views west towards Gloucester and north-west to the Malverns.


The main approach is from Glenfall Lodge (Grade II) on a sharp bend in Mill Lane, to the north-west of the house. Glenfall Lodge built in 1855 for the Molyneux family is a single-storey octagonal building with C20 additions and alterations. From the gates, also 1855 (with gate piers and walls, Grade II), the drive runs south-east through an avenue of small-leafed lime trees, oaks and fern-leafed beech to a stone bridge over the Ham Brook, with hazel coppices to either side. The drive then sweeps round to run south-west, hiding the house from view apart from glimpses of the north elevation through a line of oak tress, one planted in c1662. The evergreen shrubbery along the drive includes several rhododendrons. The drive was re-aligned in the 1810s to its present route, previously having commenced at a lodge (now demolished) by the brook, from where it led directly south to the house. This line survives as an earthwork. There was also a south drive which ran from the road to the south of the estate up to the house.


Glenfall House (Grade II), mid-C18, rebuilt in 1799-1808 for Charles Higgs in the cottage ornee style. Extended and remodelled in 1830-40. The south wing was added in 1929. The house is constructed of brick with ashlar dressings; the brick has been rendered and painted white. It is of two storeys with a raised parapet and three stacks with cornices. The entrance (north) façade is arranged as eight bays. The two bays to the left-hand end are set forward and have Doric pilasters to the corners and a pediment. The entrance is towards the right-hand end and set within a 1920s doorcase beneath an acanthus modillion cornice with a broken triangular pediment above. The garden (west) façade is arranged as six bays. The ground floor projects forward and has a central canted bay, and is surmounted by a stone balustrade to the first-floor veranda. Between the first-floor windows are Doric pilasters. The east return of the south elevation has a C19 bow window to the first floor. Two, full-height bow windows with pilaster mullions flank the three window range with a balcony to the central first-floor window. Separated from the east elevation by a courtyard, the former stables and coach house have been converted to accommodation.


The gardens lie to the west and south of Glenfall House and make full use of the views, particularly those out to the west. The C19 gardens were simple, divided from the park by a fence. Towards the end of the C19 they were extended westwards, then, in the 1920s, during Arthur Mitchell's ownership, the garden area was again reworked and extended to create the terraced gardens.

A decorative iron gate, known as the Tulip Gate and attributed to the Arts and Crafts architect Norman Jewson, is set in a yew hedge and provides access to the garden from the forecourt to the north of the house. At the north and south end of the upper flagstone terrace, paths lead down to the main terrace through rockeries, whilst to the centre is a flight of stone steps. The main terrace is lawned and approximately picks up the line of the western limit of the original garden. It is supported by a dry stone wall built of Cotswold stone quarried on the estate and these walls, which are slightly inclined, have square pillars along their length. From the centre point of the wall a double flight of steps lead down to the rose garden, and within the arms of the steps on the terrace beneath is an ornamental, semi-circular pool which is fed by a scallop shell fountain on the back wall, which is set with an arched recess with keystone. To the south of this is an alcove or summerhouse set into an arched recess in the wall. Above the keystone is a datestone, inscribed ‘AM 1922'. To the south again, runs the wisteria walk, with a line of dry stone square pillars. The levelled ground is set out with yew hedging and a rose garden, the southern part in front of the wisteria walk having been used as a hard tennis court in the 1930s. To the centre of this terrace, to the west of the central rose garden, a flight of stone steps leads down to the broad walk, a grass walk separated from the orchard beyond by a low dry-stone wall built in the 1920s. The orchard was built out into the park, also in the 1920s, and bounded by a stone-faced ha-ha. Its laying out required re-routing the south drive to loop round the western end of the new enclosure. The pair of blue cedars, planted around 1872 have been felled, but the two weeping willows of comparable age survive.

Mitchell was responsible too for reworking and moving the boundary eastwards to create the south garden to complement the addition of the south wing. A central door from the south wing opens onto a paved terrace with Cotswold stone semi-circular steps leading up to the sloping south lawn, which includes three herbaceous beds, lime trees and a cedar planted in 1872, the other cedar has been felled. The lawn is screened from the ground to the east by a yew hedge, to the north end of which is a decorative iron gate, known as the Rose Gate. A holly hedge runs along the top of the retaining wall which forms the boundary between the south lawn and the field beyond.

During the early years of the C19 Edward Iggulden laid out a path through the hazel coppice which lined the steep-sided valley of the Ham Brook which runs east to west, approximately 100m to the north of the house. Treating these steep-sided valleys as a pleasure ground, he laid out a path through the Upper and Lower Glens, with views capitalising on the extensive horizons. Where the north drive bisects the valley, it crosses via a bridge over a waterfall. The waterfall became popular as a particularly romantic spot in the early C19, and was painted and described by visitors, despite a reduction in the volume of water over the fall from 1824 onwards as a result of extraction from the wells above by the Cheltenham Water Works Company. The form of the falls was presumably altered with the building of the bridge in the 1920s. The bridge which is constructed of Brownstone was severely damaged in 2007, and in 2008 the east side was rebuilt, as well as the top layers of the west side. A flight of steps to the west of the bridge leads down to the Lower Glen.

Further along the drive, on the sharp bend, a second set of stone steps leads down to a wooden bridge across the brook. This bridge, which is supported on the original stone pillars, replaces the 1920s timber bridge which was destroyed in 1994. Further upstream is a stone bridge carrying a date stone, ‘AM 1923'.


Home Ground, the field to the north and west of the house, between the drive and the gardens, and the Ham Brook, was planted up by Iggulden to provide a small park, with a scattering of limes, oaks and horse chestnuts. There are also a number of grafted standard pear trees in this area. Gutter Herne and Mill Piece, to the west between the brook and Mill Lane, were acquired by Iggulden in 1819.


The C19 kitchen garden lies to the east of the south garden. Its west wall was demolished in the early C20 to accommodate the extended south garden which is now separated from the remaining kitchen garden by the yew hedge. The kitchen garden is still bounded by walls to three of its sides. To the north of the kitchen garden are the C19 stables which have been converted to accommodation.

Reasons for Designation

The early-C19 Picturesque park and pleasure grounds and the early-C20 terraced gardens at Glenfall House, are included in the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as a good, representative example of both a Picturesque landscape and an Arts and Crafts garden;

* Intactness: they retain their layouts and reflect their original design and character;

* Architectural interest: the early-C20 terraced gardens are attributed to two of the most accomplished and prolific designers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Sidney Barnsley and Norman Jewson, whose works are well-represented on the List;

* Group value: for their strong group value with Glenfall House (Grade II), Glenfall Lodge (Grade I), the Gate Piers, Gates and Walls to Glenfall House (Grade II).

Selected Sources

Books and journals

Greensted, M, Gimson and the Barnsleys, (1977), 197

Griffith, SY, Cheltenham, (1826), 97

Johnson, GP, Pictorial Cheltenham & Gloucestershire Guide, (1845), 77

Verey, D, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 2 The Vale and the Forest of Dean, (2002), 222


Parks and Gardens UK, accessed 14 April 2015 from


A Bryant, Map of the County of Gloucestershire from actual survey (1823-4)

Debois Landscape Survey Group, Glenfall House: A Survey of the landscape (1994)

Glenfall House Trust, Glenfall House: The growth of a garden over 200 years (2012)

I Taylor, Map of Gloucestershire (1777)

Norman Jewson Architect 1884-1975 (1987) exhibition catalogue

The Glenfall Estate (1890) plan accompanying sales particulars

The Glenfall Estate near Cheltenham (1908) from sales particulars


Plant Environment

  • Environment
  • Bog Garden


  • Arts And Crafts
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: Double flight of angled steps down a drop of 2.3 meters to the rose garden with pergola and alcove.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Steps
  • Description: Double flight of angled steps down a drop of 2.3 meters to the rose garden. Within the arms of the steps is an ornamental pool with shelled fountain in its back wall.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: East of the yew hedge.
  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: Octogonal regency lodge.
  • Dingle
  • Description: Ham Brook in woodland north of Glenfall House. Had significant waterflow prior to the capping of the springs and the diversion of the water to reservoirs in 1820.
  • Alcove
  • Description: Built into a higher terrace. The alcove functions as a shelter for bench seating.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Pergola
  • Description: On the rose garden terrace. Wood replaced with smaller cross section.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Waterfall
  • Description: Under the drive's bridge. Was a tourist attraction prior to the capping of the springs.
  • Brook
  • Description: Ham Brook to north of Glenfall House. Insignificant flows now due to capping of springs.
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house is constructed of brick with ashlar dressings; the brick has been rendered and painted white. It is of two storeys with a raised parapet and three stacks with cornices.
Stable Block, Sculpture

Civil Parish

  • Charlton Kings


Between 1819 and 1826, Edward Iggulden began the first modest landscaping adjacent to the house. Paths were constructed and small bridges across the Ham Brook to create a romantic walk along the glen both above and below a large waterfall.In the 1920s Arthur Mitchell employed Sidney Barnsley and Norman Jewson to design terraces retained by stone walls, steps, arbours, water features and decorative ironwork in the gardens.

Detailed History

Much of the charm of Glenfall is due to its setting. Although only one and a half miles from the centre of Cheltenham, it is completely rural. In 1826 Griffiths described it as "a most romantic spot" and added. "Though not on an extensive scale, this truly fascinating retreat combines within its precincts the local charms of hill, vale, wood and water. Nature seems to reign here in her primeval simplicity and beauty and the soft sound of the waters from the miniature cataract, formed by rude rocks, breaking upon the stillness of the solitude, has the most imposing and soothing effect. The views from the lawn in front of the tasteful cottage residence, are luxuriant beyond description."

Since then both the house and gardens have been considerably extended. The major change took place in the early 1920s when Arthur Mitchell engaged the architect Sidney Barnsley. He, with his brother Ernest, and Ernest Gimson had lived in the Cotswolds from the turn of the century and had workshops at the Daneway near Sapperton. William Morris, who had had a tremendous influence on this younger generation of architects by his writings, lectures and practical work, was the father figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The craftsmanship that emerged from the Daneway workshop became renowned, and served to encourage the important role of nature in design and the revival of traditional crafts and vernacular building.

Much of Glenfall's garden is architectural, with a classical series of terraces to the west. A keystone to an arched alcove has the date 1922 confirming the period of building; and as Sidney Barnsley was engaged at that time for work on the house, it is logical to suppose that he also designed the garden terraces. However, the younger architect Norman Jewson, also working at the Daneway Workshops, is known to have designed the ironwork for the Glenfall Lodge and gateways and certainly was responsible for several garden designs in the Cotswolds. Unfortunately we have no written proof for Glenfall and we are left in a dilemma as to whether Sidney Barnsley or Norman Jewson is responsible in this instance. Comparing Glenfall's terraces and the shape of its rose beds with, say the terraced gardens and pool at Cotswold Farm, Duntisbourne Abbots, we find similar shapes in each. Norman Jewson is known to have designed the garden at Cotswold Farm around 1926, so it might be deemed reasonable to suppose it was he who designed Glenfall's in 1920. This is borne out more confidently when one finds he and Sidney Barnsley often worked together, Norman Jewson on the leadwork and gardens and Sidney Barnsley on the house alterations and plasterwork, for example, at both Painswick Lodge and Cotswold Farm.

Other gardens recorded as Norman Jewson's design are at Rendcomb Aycote House 1930, Chipping Campden Gainsborough 1929-34, and close to Glenfall itself, Battledown Manor in 1900. It is likely that here at Glenfall we have another of Norman Jewson's gardens, executed in the early 1920s. Indeed after Sidney Barnsley died unexpectedly in 1926 much of his unfinished work was completed by Norman Jewson.

The garden we see today is only marginally altered. The coppices in the Glen, the caged fruit garden and paddock to the south east relinquished to the local farmer and a hard tennis court has been introduced into the lower terrace, breaking the symmetry of the rose garden.

The pastures which bound the property on either side speak of its earlier history as ridges and furrows have not been disturbed by later ploughing. They lie in a coombe which is rich in springs and wells and, an unusual feature for the Cotswolds, is the substantial waterfall in the glen. The survey of 1617 mentions 'Le Guther' and later The Gutter and the Gutterfall are called the Ham Brook and Glenfall respectively. Names for meadows such as The Hearne, Little Hearne, and Gutter Hearne suggests the presence of herons amongst the damp pastures still familiar.

By 1827 some of the springs that fed the Ham Brook were capped and piped to the covered reservoirs at Hewletts. By ensuring that the water is always uncontaminated there is no need for any water treatment before supply. In compensation Glenfall was entitled to 120 gallons per day of water free of charge from the first connection on the pipe to the reservoir. This affects the amount of water in the Ham Brook so the waterfalls are not so spectacular now.

The first mention of a house, probably simple timber framed, is in 1765, and the first mention of a garden is in 1808, by which time a new brick house had been built by Charles Higgs. In 1819 the property was surrendered to Edward Iggulden of Deal and the first use of the new name Glenfall appears. Iggulden was the owner for about nine years and his improvements are described by Griffiths in 1826 as "pleasing attractions of a place which even in its less cultivated state was extremely beautiful". Today it is still possible to descend by crumbling steps, from the side of a bridge of natural stone rather than the wooden palings shown in earlier pictures.

Edward Iggulden's only child, Mary Elizabeth, married John Molyneux. Thus the estate passed to the Molyneux family whom were the owners from 1828 to about 1868. They were followed by the Willis family until 1920. Many of the fine estate trees date from this period as they are 100 - 130 years old, but the Ordnance Survey maps of 1882 and 1921 show only minor changes in the garden boundary and the natural embankment in the sloping land. From this we can conclude that up until 1920 the garden design was of a landscape style. This is the date when Arthur Mitchell bought the property and both Sidney Barnsley and Norman Jewson were engaged. The date 1922 in the keystone of the alcove arch on the lower terrace points, to the fact that the building of the stonework terraces was nearing completion. A stone bridge a quarter mile upstream has a keystone with the date 1923. The terrace walls are of Cotswold stone, the work of one man, possibly Tom Denley of Brockhampton, as he was renowned locally for his workmanship. The stone came from Arthur Mitchell's own land - a fact confirmed by his son Lawrence born in 1921 in the house and still living nearby in Puckham.


Charlton Kings Local History Society Bulletin xii, 1984, pages 10-17

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):


There is evidence of the pre-enclosure landscape in the parkland of Glenfall House and the surrounding fields, with ridge and furrow, old pollarded trees and the ridges of abandoned field systems. The field system which largely survives today was created in the C18; hedgerow oaks and ash survive from this time, as well as field oaks planted on the underlying ridge and furrow.

There is known to have been a farmhouse, named ‘The Gutterfall', on the site since the mid-C18. By 1808 this had been rebuilt in brick for the then owner Charles Higgs, and by 1817 the house had been renamed ‘Glenfall'. In 1819, the house and the surrounding farmland were purchased by Edward Iggulden, a wealthy brewer from Deal, Kent and agent with the East India Shipping Company. Iggulden improved the grounds and created a Picturesque landscape, which included pleasure grounds within the coppices either side of the valley. It was during his ownership from 1819 to 1828 that tourists were able to visit these pleasure grounds to view ‘The Glen' and its waterfall. In 1826, S Y Griffiths described it as ‘a most romantic spot' and added, ‘[t]hough not on an extensive scale, this truly fascinating retreat combines within its precincts the local charms of hill, vale, wood and water. Nature seems to reign here in her primeval simplicity and beauty and the soft sound of the waters from the miniature cataract, formed by rude rocks, breaking upon the stillness of the solitude, has the most imposing and soothing effect. The views from the lawn in front of the tasteful cottage residence are luxuriant beyond description'. By 1827 some of the springs on the estate which fed Ham Brook were capped and piped to the covered reservoirs at Hewletts, reducing the amount of water and affecting the impressiveness of the waterfalls. In 1828, the estate passed to Iggulden's daughter, Mary, and her husband Lieutenant General John Molyneux who remodelled and extended the house in 1830-40. In 1890 the estate was sold to the Willis family and it is thought that many of the surviving estate trees date from this period. In 1920 the estate was purchased by the brewer Arthur Mitchell of Birmingham's Mitchell and Butler. Mitchell was an admirer of the Arts and Crafts Movement and he employed Sidney Barnsley, Norman Jewson and Peter Waals to extend and furnish the house, and to create the terraced gardens to the west of the house, with the orchard beyond. The decorative iron gates are attributed to Norman Jewson. In 1929 the south wing was added to the house by Healing & Overbury (Sidney Barnsley having died in 1926) and the adjacent paddock was included in the garden as a sloping lawn with vegetable garden beyond. Mitchell owned the house until his death in 1965, after which the house was sold to a Martin Crabbe, who sold much of the Arts and Crafts furniture, and removed the top storey of the house and remodelled the hall and staircase. In 1980 the house and part of the grounds were bought by the Community of St Peter and St Paul, and in 1991 the community gifted the estate to the Diocese of Gloucester. The house and the gardens were subsequently restored by the Glenfall House Trust. The house was opened as a conference centre in 1992.

Associated People



  • Yvonne Young