Hewell Grange 1709

Redditch, England, Worcestershire, Bromsgrove

Brief Description

Hewell Grange is an 18th-century landscape park and lake laid out by Lancelot Brown and modified around 1812 by Humphry Repton. There are also the remains of an extensive late-19th-century formal garden. The site is now in institutional use.

History

The third Lord Windsor, who succeeded his father in 1558, made Hewell his main residence and greatly enlarged the deer park. About 1712 the second Earl of Plymouth replaced the existing house with a new one by Francis Smith of Warwick. This house was itself replaced by the present Hewell Grange in a building campaign which began in 1884.

Visitor Facilities

The Grange is a prison and is not open to the public. However, the lake is managed by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and is accessible to the public.

Terrain

Either side of a shallow valley running roughly north/south.

Detailed Description

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/

Summary of Garden

A landscape park developed from the mid-C18 with advice from William Shenstone and Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, redesigned in 1812 by Humphry Repton with later alterations of the late C19 and early C20.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Hewell Grange lies east of the village of Tardebigge, separated from it by the B4096 and the A496 which run parallel to each other, the latter connecting Bromsgove 4km to the north-west and Redditch 3km to the south-east. To the east the park is bounded by a minor local road, Brockhill Lane, which around the northern part of the park has been upgraded to serve the prison complex. To the south the park boundary follows field edges. The park lies to either side of a shallow valley running roughly north/south, the bottom of which is occupied by the lake. The registered area is c.160ha.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The site is entered from the north-west via a modern entrance adjoining gates and early C19 single-storey painted ashlar lodges, attributed to Thomas Cundy Senior. The lodges were left isolated in the late C20 by the construction of a new road to the north. From the entrance a drive lined with limes (planted 1906) curves before approaching the Grange's north forecourt. That drive is joined 300m north-west of the house by a drive, also lined with limes, approaching from a brick and tile-hung lodge of 1886 on the westernmost corner of the park. That lodge, on the north side of the drive, is faced by a house of c.1880 employing much timber framing, Hewell Dairy, which served as the lodge in the early 1880s. Paper Mill Lodge, of 1876 and with elaborate timber-framed decoration, lies on the south-east corner of the park, on a drive which runs along the west bank of the lake to the stables west of the C18 house. A North Lodge, 400m east of those attributed to Cundy, was demolished in the late C20.

Realignment of the drives, most notably in the vicinity of Hewell Grange itself, and a programme of lodge building took place in the later C19 around the time of construction of the new house.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

Hewell Grange (listed Grade II*) was built 1884-91 by Bodley & Garner for the first Earl of Plymouth. Of red sandstone, the three-storey house is in the Jacobean style and is said to have been inspired partly by Montacute (Somerset). The entrance front is of nine bays with projecting end bays and a central porte-cochere. On the garden front are two turrets and a centre loggia on the ground floor.

A new block was built close to, and north-west of Hewell Grange in the mid C20.

Hewell Grange replaced a square, stone, two-storey building, possibly designed by Francis Smith of Warwick. A huge portico was added in 1816 by Thomas Cundy who also infilled the house's central courtyard, both alterations being among those suggested by Repton in his Red Book of 1812. The shell of that house (listed Grade II), which suffered a major fire in 1889, remains 200m east of the later house, on low ground 100m west of the lake.

Immediately south-west of the old house, and separated from the French garden by a sunken road, are the former stables. Adjoining them to the south is a gymnasium with four Coade stone caryatids on the south-west front (listed Grade II), built as a real tennis court c.1820 and modernised in 1891.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

To the north of Hewell Grange is a semicircular forecourt within sandstone ashlar balustraded walls completed in 1903 (listed Grade II) and designed by Lord Windsor. A centrally placed gateway with arched pedestrian entrances to either side has tall, square piers surmounted by pinnacles; the gates are now missing. In the lawn with beds in the centre of the forecourt is a Coade stone statue of 1825 in the Classical style of 'the Fallen Gladiator' (listed Grade II).

Hewell Grange's main formal garden, known as the French Garden, lies south of the house, and is approached from it via a flagged and balustered terrace. A rectangular lawn c.120m north/south by c.80m east/west is divided into four main compartments by axial paths with smaller semicircular compartments at the south end. The compartments are defined by pleached beech hedges, and in the centre of each of the four main lawns is a Coade stone statue of a draped Classical female figure, all probably by William Croggan and all listed Grade II. Each statue is contained within a yew arbour, overgrown from yew columns. The centre of the garden is occupied by a large circular bed occupying an infilled fountain basin, in the middle of which is an urn raised on a block sculpted with classical figures, an arrangement contrived in the later C20.

A terraced lawn or archery ground (in 1902 called The Southern Pleasance) runs parallel with the west side of the garden with an urn at its south end. The main east/west axis across the French Garden is continued west for 300m to the park boundary by a flight of grass terraces or 'steps' with tall yew hedges to either side. On the park boundary, and closing the vista from the garden up the terraces, is a late C19 four-storey stone water tower (listed Grade II) with pyramidal roof. It was built to power hydraulic lifts in the new house. The terraces, reputedly modelled on the hedged terraces of the 1870s at Rous Lench Court, were begun in 1900 and completed in 1903. When first constructed there were eighteen terraces in all, extending past the old house to the lake.

South of the former tennis court is what remains of the Dutch Garden, laid out in the 1840s and formerly containing radial paths and ornamental flower beds. Two small bridges crossing the adjacent ha-ha survive, one with an ornamental stone arch (listed Grade II). In the later C19 other garden areas were created including rose gardens and a maze.

The rising ground west and especially south of the house, the Planted Hill, is occupied by mature ornamental woodland and specimen trees. From the south end of the French Garden an ornamental gateway gives access past an urn to walks through the woodland, a network of paths leading through the woods and giving views (albeit somewhat obscured because of the maturity of the trees) both across the lake and the formal garden itself. One path gives access to a stone bridge crossing the southern drive to the tennis court beyond. The Planted Hill was known earlier as Hazel Hill (1655) and Walnut Tree Hill (1812).

To the east of the house the ground falls away, and steps lead to a circular Quarry Garden with exposed rock faces, a stone bench and megaliths, the whole garden being enclosed with by shrubs and specimen trees. Towards the house is an entrance contrived of large stone slabs with a central doorway with pivoted stone-slab door. On the opposite side of the garden is an arched entrance in a crude Renaissance or 'Roman' style. Within the garden is a central lawn with beds, rockeries (including slag) and a path around the exterior. Other features include a crude stone bench seat.

Most of the garden features date from the C19. The Quarry Garden, the potential for creating which in an old quarry was noted by Humphry Repton in 1812, was created in the early C19 and complete by 1840, with the revolving door and Roman arch probably being added in the 1890s. In the C19 the central area was treated formally, with raised square pools, a dolphin fountain (now nearer the house) and radiating paths.

The later French Garden, originally the site of the kitchen garden, became a flower garden in 1828, and was already called the French Garden in 1843. Edward Milner (1819-84) visited Hewell in the early 1880s after the decision had been made to rebuild the house across the garden's north end and staked out the site. The subsequent planting and development of the garden was by Andrew Pettigrew, Hewell's head gardener. Photographs show that when laid out Pettigrew's highly elaborate new garden employed rose arches inset along the lime hedges around the edge of the various compartments, within which there were box arabesques and herbaceous plants. Those arrangements were simplified over the course of the C20.

PARK

There are three main areas of parkland: north of Hewell Grange, east of the lake, and south of the Planted Hill. In the later C20 large areas of the northern part of the park are enclosed within two new prisons, Brockhill and Blakenhurst. Most of the remaining ground is improved grassland, with some arable on the northern boundary of the park and sports fields north of Hewell Grange. West of Brockhill the ground rises to a low wooded (Laurel Covert) hill. At the northern end of the lake there is a cast iron bridge (listed Grade II) on stone abutments, with an adjacent weir providing visual and aural effect to those crossing the bridge. East of the lake the ground is again largely improved grassland, rising eastwards to Brockhill Lane and the park boundary. A belt of woodland around the south-eastern shore of the lake was present in the later C19, while wood covering Cladshill, the easternmost sector of the park, was developed in the C20 from shelter belts mapped in the 1880s. This sector of the park is reached via a sandstone ashlar bridge with crenellated parapet across the channel carrying water from the south end of the lake. South of the Planted Hill is mainly arable and improved grass, although permanent pasture occupies the ground rising west of the drive from Paper Mill Lodge with several mature parkland oaks towards the top of the hill.

The lake runs north/south down the centre of the park and is c.1km long and c.200m wide at its broadest, opposite the house and the northern part of the wooded walks on the Planted Hill which overlook it. One wooded island lies near the centre of the lake; a second, gained from the west bank near the ruins of the old house by an early C19 iron bridge (listed Grade II) with an adjacent Coade stone vase.

Park Cottages, on the south-west edge of the park, are a substantial pair of mid C19 yellow-brick estate cottages with mock timber framing and ornate gables and chimneys.

KITCHEN GARDEN

The kitchen garden, surrounded by tall, externally buttressed, early C19 brick walls, lies south-west of the Home Farm and 200m outside the park. The garden is c.200m north/south and c.100m east/west, with a brick gardener's house and office (with first-floor fruit store) in the south-east corner. A range of early C19 brick stores, a later C19 cast-iron vinery (by H Hope of Birmingham) and C19 framed pits survive in the narrow central compartment among glasshouses and other structures of the later C20.

The kitchen gardens were moved here in 1828, previously having occupied the area subsequently to become the French Garden. In 1799 there were two greenhouses, a hot house, sheds and a 'succession pit'.

Reasons for Designation

Hewell Grange, a landscape park laid out for the Earls of Plymouth by William Shenstone and Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the mid-C18, remodelled by Humphry Repton in the early-C19 and with further development throughout the C19, is Registered at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: a designed landscape laid out over a number of centuries and associated with two country houses, the mostly early-C18 Hewell Grange and its late-C19 replacement;

* Designers: it is associated with a number of influential landscape architects, including William Shenstone, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and Humphry Repton;

* Planting and landscape: the park uses its natural topography to great and dramatic effect, planted with mature trees, lawns and formal gardens giving distinctive character to different areas within the park;

* Group value: together with the Ruins of the Old Hewell Grange (listed Grade II), the present Hewell Grange (listed Grade I), and other listed and unlisted buildings within the park, it forms an important group.

Selected Sources

Books and journals

Carter, G, Goode, P, Laurie, K, Humphry Repton, (1982), p. 163

Elliot, B, Victorian Gardens, (1986), pp. 224-9

Nash, T, Collections for the history of Worcestershirep.403

Pevsner, N, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (2007), 625-628

Reid, P, Burke's and Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume II, (1980), pp. 209-12

Other

Country Lide (6th December 1902), pp.732-41

Gardeners' Chronicle (2nd April 1904), pp. 209-10

Hewell Grange Historic Landscape Appraisal (Parklands Consortium, 2001)

Hewell Grange: The Development of the Landscape and Pleasure Grounds, An Historical Survey (D. Whitehead, 1993)

The Quarry or Rock Garden at Hewell Grange (D. Whitehead, 1993)

Features
  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: North and South lodges at the north-west gate of the estate.
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  • Icehouse
  • Description: The icehouse is almost completely covered by ivy.
  • House (featured building)
  • Now Prison
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  • Tower
  • Description: Water tower, constructed of red sandstone with a shingled roof.
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  • Ruin
  • Description: The ruins of the old hall, which was mainly demolished in 1899.
  • Tennis Lawn
  • Description: Tennis court, now in use as the prison gym. It features a prominent Grecian balcony.
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  • Steps
  • Description: A set of stone steps.
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  • Planting
  • Description: Dutch Garden.
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: Sandstone bridge.
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  • Urn
  • Description: A large Coade stone urn.
  • Stable Block
  • Description: The stables are now in use as offices.
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  • Statue
  • Description: Four Coade stone statues depicting the Four Seasons.
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  • Statue
  • Description: 'The Fallen Gladiator'.
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  • Wall
  • Description: Red sandstone walls enclosing the forecourt.
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  • Gate Piers
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  • Structure
  • Description: Swing door and portal.
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  • Garden Seat
  • Description: Stone seat.
  • Arch
  • Description: Sandstone arch.
  • Fountain
  • Description: The remains of a Coade fountain.
  • Dovecote
  • Description: Timber dovecote.
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  • Planting
  • Description: French garden.
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  • Building
  • Description: The papermill and adjacent cottages.
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  • Kennels
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: The Gamekeepers Lodge.
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  • Game Larder
  • Description: A single storey red-brick building.
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  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: This is now the prison kitchen garden, which was laid out in 1827 and enclosed with a brick wall in 1833.
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  • Garden Building
  • Description: Head Gardener's Cottage.
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  • Garden Building
  • Description: Appple store.
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  • Glasshouse
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  • Melon Pit
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  • Root House
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  • Terrace
  • Description: A series of 18 grass terraces between the water tower and the lake.
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  • Avenue
  • Description: Lime avenues.
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  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: Iron bridge.
  • Building
  • Description: Home farmhouse (now Hewell House)
Lake, Fountain, Parterre, Gate Piers, Turfed Steps, Temple, Boat House, Ha-ha
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The Grange is a prison and is not open to the public. However, the lake is managed by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and is accessible to the public.

Directions

Two miles east of Bromsgrove via the A448.
History

Detailed History

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/

History

The land at Hewell had been a grange of nearby Bordesley Abbey in the Middle Ages, before passing after the Dissolution to the Windsor family, who made it their principal residence, creating a house and deer park. The family were created Earls of Plymouth in 1682, and in 1712 the second Earl had the house at Hewell Grange rebuilt, possibly by Francis Smith of Warwick. In the 1730s, the third Earl married the heiress of Thomas Lewis of St Fagan's Castle in Glamorgan, bringing vast Welsh estates and income into the family's ownership. From the mid-C18 onwards the park around the house was gradually created, with advice from the poet and landscape theorist William Shenstone in the 1750s, and Lancelot 'Capability' Brown from 1761. Brown is thought to have been responsible for the remodelling of the lake and earthwork dam, and tree planting in the park. Additional land to the east of the lake was added to the park in 1768, at which time the road through the park was diverted to the north, and Brown advised on further tree planting.

When the 6th Earl achieved his majority in 1810, he engaged the services of Humphry Repton, who produced a Red Book for the estate in 1812, making recommendations for improvements to both the house and the park, including tree planting and the creation of the second island in the lake. Repton was critical of the existing park, saying the site of the house was too low and its view too restricted; the lake lacked interest; the park comprised naked lawns and had inappropriate tall, conic trees. Many of his ideas for improving the Hewell landscape, which included altering the house, removing the sunk fences close to it, the addition of islands to the lake and changes to planting in the park appear to have been carried out in the following years.

The Earl employed Thomas Cundy Sr as his architect, and it was he who added the portico to the house and is responsible for a number of buildings in the park. A significant amount of Coade stone statuary was purchased for the park at around this time, which also saw the building of the real tennis court, the entrance lodges at the north-west corner of the park and various bridges.

The earldom became extinct upon the death without issue of the eighth Earl in 1843, and Hewell Grange passed to Harriet Clive, a sister of the sixth Earl who in 1819 had married Robert Henry Clive. The barony of Windsor was revived in 1855, and Harriet assumed the additional surname of Windsor. Harriet was succeeded in 1869 by her grandson, Robert George Windsor-Clive, who came of age in 1878. Lord Robert and his wife, Lady Alberta, were members of the intellectual group known as the Souls, and from the early 1880s onwards there was a great programme of building at Hewell. The architects Bodley and Garner were commissioned to build a great new house on higher ground to the west of the existing house, with accompanying alterations to the approaches, and a water tower at the top of a series of 18 grass terraces and other alterations to the park. Lord Windsor was created the first Earl of Plymouth of the third creation in 1905.

The second Earl, Ivo, succeeded his father in 1924 and held the estate until it passed on his death to the third Earl, Other, in 1943. The house and grounds were used by the Royal Ordnance Corps throughout the Second World War, and in 1946 death duties meant that the estate had to be sold, and the majority of it passed into the possession of HM Prison Service, becoming a borstal training centre, with some land on the edge of the park being sold separately. In the later C20 two new prisons, Brockhill and Blakenhurst, were built in the north-east corner of the park.

Associated People
Contact
References

References