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Hendersyde Park


This is a compact, early 19th-century parkland landscape. Despite the later replacement of the original mansion house, there remain some original architectural and design features, including the perimeter woodlands, estate buildings and large-scale structure of the walled flower-gardens, orchard and woodland shrub gardens.

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Type of Site

A compact, early 19th-century parkland landscape. Despite the later replacement of the original mansion house, there remain some original architectural and design features, including the perimeter woodlands, estate buildings and large-scale structure of the walled flower-gardens, orchard and woodland shrub gardens.

Location and Setting

Hendersyde Park is located immediately to the north east of Kelso on the north bank of the River Tweed. Clearly defined by estate walls to the north, south, east and west, the designed landscape encompasses some 97ha (240ac) of gently-undulating parks and woodlands, with the main house and Tan Law woods to the north occupying the highest ground. The wooded island of Sharpitlaw Anna in the River Tweed, which was formerly connected to the park via a tunnel and footbridge, is included within the defined boundary. The recent urban expansion of Kelso borders the perimeter woodlands of the estate to the west, while agricultural land extends to the north and east. The extent of the designed landscape was largely established in the opening years of the 19th century, with the further acquisition and development of the west park and the north drive taking place in the mid 19th century.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

The main house at Hendersyde, was constructed from polished sandstone in 1938-40 to a classical design by Thomas Greenfield and E. B. Tyler to replace its predecessor; the early 19th-century mansion built for George Wardie. The stables, mostly dating to c.1830 with some 20th century extensions, form an attractive double courtyard complex. Considered to be an important example of architect John Smith's work, they comprise a symmetrical main block with pedimented entrance built from polished sandstone with timbered belfry and clock face. Associated buildings include kennels, cart-sheds, loose boxes, an exercise area, staff accommodation and the former head gardener's house. Immediately to the north-east is a rubble sandstone early 19th century walled orchard, now used as a horse paddock, with classical stone doorways and 4-panel wooden doors on the south-west, south-east and north-east walls. A further walled flower garden and nursery area with associated stone and brick potting sheds is located to the north-west of the house where the curved, south-facing sandstone rubble wall is orientated to catch the maximum hours of sun per day. It also features a walled-up entrance surmounted by a stone plaque bearing the Waldie family crest. Other notable features situated close to the main house include an octagonal summerhouse and an ornate polished sandstone, symmetrical game larder dating to the early 19th century, but now in poor condition. Extensive rubble-built ha has serve to separate the house, former flower and production areas and woodland from the parkland. Further afield, the stone monument to Anna Maria Griffith (d.1831), with inscribed pedestal was designed and carved by William Cockburn in 1844. Erected on the formal walk of Tanlaw Avenue, it is now rather eclipsed by the surrounding rows of the tall conifer plantation. A short distance to the south-west, a 3-storey square-plan water tower, erected in the later 19th century, probably also to a design by Cockburn, is similarly surrounded by trees. Another former walk leads from the park through a stone-lined tunnel, some 25 metres in length, underneath the Coldstream Turnpike (the A698) and towards an iron footbridge to the island of Sharpitlaw Anna in the river Tweed. Constructed around the mid 19th century, the tunnel entrance from the park is now blocked with a gate. Occupying an area of higher ground in the park and overlooking this island is the mid-18th century, 3-storey, harled and limewashed Sharpitlaw House. Other houses of note on the estate include the 2-storey, Tanlaw House with associated garden walls, gates, railings and hen-house, built in the early 19th century and the nearby, picturesque late 19th to 20th-century Tanlaw Cottage with grey slate roof, ancillary buildings and small coped ashlar boundary wall. At the entrances to Hendersyde, the sandstone west lodge, by John Smith, dates to 1830, while the matching east and north lodges, with square gatepiers and cast-iron railings, were built a decade later to designs by William Cockburn.

Drives and Approaches

The principal drive enters at the west lodge and curves through the old park, gradually ascending as it approaches Hendersyde house. In contrast, the east approach, (now disused), is flanked by woodland for much of its length until it emerges into the Old Park. From here a path, partly lined by mature sycamore, curves in a wide loop towards the house and follows the former course of this approach. The north approach, also flanked by woodland for much of its length, was established in the mid 19th century and is the latest of the three drives. It is no longer used for access to Hendersdye House. Early editions of the Ordnance Survey indicate that originally, after traversing a relatively straight line through woodlands, this drive ran diagonally across the Garden Park to join the principal drive from the west lodge (1856-9 OS 6' and 1896-8 OS 6' and 25').


There are three principal areas of parkland at Hendersyde. Old Park stretches the length of the designed landscape in front of the main house and contains some very fine specimens of oak, beech, Scots pine, sycamore and horse chestnut. Garden Park, to the south-west of the flower garden and nursery area mainly contains specimens of oak. The west park was established in the mid-19th century. Now devoid of trees, this park was originally planted with numerous individual trees and circular clumps. Fine specimen trees located around the flower garden and nursery area include Monkey puzzle, fir and cedar of Lebanon.


The woodland at Hendersyde Park is mainly confined to the perimeter shelterbelts and the Tan Law woods in the north-eastern corner of the estate. The western shelterbelt comprises mainly spruce and fir, and the northern belt includes sycamore, beech, lime and oak. The south is largely open to views of the surrounding countryside, while a small belt in the southeast corner through which the old east drive travelled comprises alder, sycamore and birch. Tan Law wood in the north-east, one of the earliest components of the designed landscape, was formerly accessed by the beech-lined Tan Law Avenue and numerous paths which, during the 19th century, connected features such as the monument to Anna Maria Griffith and a small viewing tower at the eastern boundary of the designed landscape. Early OS editions refer to 'Monument Walk' and 'Iceland Walk', of which the latter can still be followed (Reynolds and Gray 2010). This woodland is now a wilder space composed of some beech, sycamore, oak and lime woodland with a large Sitka spruce plantation bordered by birch on its northern edge. A small strip of woodland between Old Park and West Park comprises some spruce, larch and sycamore. The 9 acre island of Sharpitlaw Anna, now part of the grounds of a nearby holiday home, is a thickly wooded space that provides an important wildlife habitat.

Woodland Garden

Lawn extends around the house on the south and west sides with some fine specimen limes, cypress, sycamore and sweet chestnut located to the west and north of the house. There is a small row of yews planted between the house and stables. The remains of a shrubbery and woodland garden walk occupy the area between the house and octagonal summerhouse and features cherry, Monkey puzzle, Laburnum, laurel and box. The strip of woodland beside the drive between Old Park and West Park hosts a group of Rhododendron hybrids, probably planted to provide a splash of seasonal colour on the approach to the house.

A rockery, or rock garden immediately to the south-east of Tanlaw House, possibly dating to the later 19th century or early 20th century, was purchased in the 1950s by the former owners of Tanlaw House, when it contained limestone blocks, water elements, Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Reynolds and Gray 2010). Increasingly overgrown by the late 20th century, it has since been well restored by the present owners of Tanlaw House and features a pond and small winding path bordered with different shrubs. Surrounding garden elements include an enormous Wellingtonia, lawn, borders and ornamental cast iron railings.

Walled Garden

The early 19th-century walled orchard, once densely packed with rows of trees, is currently used for pasture, although a few remnant fruit trees grow against the wall by the stables. Similarly, the flower garden and nursery area has been mostly grassed over with only a small area retained for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables within the apex of the curving, stone garden wall. Judging from a mid-19th century account (Waldie 1859) and early OS editions (1856-9 and 1896-8) this area was also furnished for the quiet enjoyment of a secluded space. In addition to a glasshouse and vinery, there were stone alcove seats, and the garden was ornamented with stone vases, a 'central gothic ornament' and sun-dial, while a conservatory, designed by Cockburn, stood to the west.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Reason for Inclusion

The rolling parklands at Hendersyde contribute to the local scenery of Kelso. The estate contains an interesting collection of architectural features, while the River Tweed at the southern boundary of the designed landscape is recognised for its outstanding nature conservation value.

Main Phases of Landscape Development


Site History

In its present form, Hendersyde Park owes much of its essential structure to the landscape design projects carried out by George Waldie towards the end of the 18th century and the start of the 19th century. Previous owners of the lands had been the Edmonestones of Ednam up until 1715, and then the Ormstons of Hendersyde until the later 18th century. Roy's Military Survey map of 1747-55 suggests that there were no landscape design features present during this time, and the only known contribution of the Ormston family to the present design was the original planting of part of the Tan Law woods as a beech-lined avenue in the north-east, possibly as the first stage in preparing a suitable setting for a new mansion house (Jeffrey 1864: 116).

George Waldie came to acquire the estate at Hendersyde following the marriage of his father to the eldest daughter and eventual heiress of Charles Ormston during the 18th century. Having gained important business interests in the collieries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne through his own marriage to another member of the wider Ormston family, George Waldie set about transforming the estate of Hendersyde into a pleasant country seat with parkland landscape. By the end of the 18th century, he had extended the Tan Law woods. In the opening years of the 19th century, he commissioned the first mansion house (1802-3), established the perimeter woodlands, the orchard, the parkland clumps and trees, and laid out of the numerous estate walks.

In the decades following this initial work, the plantations of the new designed landscape matured, and prints by Townsend c.1846 depict a mature rolling parkland landscape. By this time, the estate had passed from George Waldie (d.1826), to his son John Waldie (1781-1862) and eldest daughter Maria Jane (1785-1865). The former is better known today as a 'wandering dilettante', theatre critic, and prolific writer (73 volumes of his personal journals still survive), although he may have been regarded locally as 'less of a virtuoso, and more of a 'character'' (Burwick 2008:1). Nonetheless, Hendersyde was not forgotten. John's son Richard was a friend of Sir Walter Scott, and Scott is reputed to have made use of the extensive Hendersyde Library. Significant projects to develop the estate continued during the earlier to mid-19th century and included the construction of the stable complex c.1830 and an extension to the house c.1840. John Waldie's own 1859 catalogue of the possessions of Hendersyde provides a good description of the pleasure grounds and describes some of the newer features, such as a recently established north approach, lined with shrubberies and plantations, a number of new estate buildings, many built by local architect, William Cockburn, and a new tunnel under the road which led to the bridge to Sharpitlaw Anna. During this period, the total area of the designed landscape was expanded to include the West Park, which was laid out with evenly spaced circular clumps of parkland trees.

John Waldie died a bachelor and over the course of the later 19th century and early 20th century, the estate passed to the descendents of his sister Maria Jane and her husband, Richard Griffith. These were Sir George Richard Waldie-Griffith (1820-1889) and subsequently the third and final heir of the family, Sir Richard John Waldie-Griffith (1850-1933). The earlier editions of the OS maps reveal little major change to the designed landscape during this period.

The most significant change in the first half of the 20th century was the demolition of the George Waldie's original mansion-house in the late 1930s and the construction of the present house on the same site for the Lancashire heiress, Eleanor, Dowager Countess Peel. Hendersyde had long been long known for the quality of its fishing beats, and the Countess commissioned the construction of a wooden fishing lodge on the opposite bank of the Tweed, where she apparently stayed on occasion during the construction of Hendersyde house (Reynolds and Gray 2010). The house was requistioned during the Second World War, and although Countess Peel moved back in 1946, she died shortly afterwards. As with many estates, the mid-later 20th century was a time of contraction and decline, with the former productive orchard and kitchen garden areas falling into disuse and former estate buildings and residences sold as private houses. Having changed hands over the course of the mid to later 20th century, the main house and parks at Hendersyde are currently owned and managed by the Agnew family with much of the estate used for equestrian activities. With many fine specimen trees, the parks remain in good condition and are an important scenic element in the Tweed valley landscape.

Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland

Key Information











  • Historic Scotland