Horseheath Hall Garden Remains 5598

Horseheath, England, Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire

Brief Description

Features included boathouses, statuary, a ha-ha and a menagerie.

History

The site was established in the mid-17th century as a private residence.

Detailed Description

John Evelyn described the Hall in his diary as ‘standing in a park with a sweet prospect and a stately avenue', referring to the elm tree avenue which extended for over a mile. The house was surrounded by a garden comprising elaborate walled compartments, the foundations for which have recently been recorded during earth-moving work.

In the mid-18th century, John Bromley's grandson, Henry, employed William Kent to re-design the interior of the Hall and the gardens. This involved the removal of the walled gardens and their replacement by landscaped pleasure grounds which included the small Acre Pond.

In 1747 the estate comprised 352 hectares (880 acres), which slowly reduced in size to pay for Henry's gambling debts. Henry's son Thomas, 2nd Lord Montford, continued his father's improvements. An orangery was built in 1762 and contained 150 orange trees at one guinea each. This stood between the hall and Acre Pond to the north, which was well stocked with fish and had two boathouses and a punt for duck shooting.

The gardens and grounds were well stocked with statuary. South of the hall was a smaller Garden Pond adjacent to the wilderness edged by a ha-ha. Either side of the hall were cedars. There was a menagerie which housed monkeys.

Because of further gambling debts the estate was put up for sale in 1775. Items in the sale included orange, lemon and myrtle trees, exotic plants in pots, aloes, roses plus a variety of foreign birds in cages. A series of further sales were held, a stone bridge, vases, statuary and other outdoor artefacts were dispersed including three pairs of wrought iron gates which can still be found in the county; at Trinity and St. John's Colleges in Cambridge and at Glebe House, Cheveley.

No one came forward to purchase the hall, so in 1777 it was demolished. Today the site of the hall is a slightly raised grassed area with cedar trees, and ducks one more enjoy Acre Pond.

Features
  • Boat House
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  • Ha-ha
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  • Glasshouse
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  • Orangery
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  • Pond
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  • Garden Wall
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  • Ornamental Bridge
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  • Gateway
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  • Statue
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  • Avenue
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Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Horseheath
History

Detailed History

In 1663 William, 3rd Lord Alington, built a new house to designs by Roger Pratt on the hilltop east of the village and within an old deer park.

The house was on a grand scale with a 500 foot frontage, the most imposing in the country of that date. In 1700 the Hall was sold to John Bromley, a Barbados sugar importer. In 1777, the Hall was demolished.

References

Contributors

  • Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust