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Lygrove House (also known as Lyegrove House)


Lygrove House has a garden on a 17th-century site, laid out by G.H. Kitchen for the Countess of Westmorland in 1927.

Lygrove House stands at 160 metres on the South Cotswolds in Northavon. The site is open arable and grassland on the top of a ridge. Airshafts from the railway tunnel beneath are prominent features of the landscape. The original entrance to the site, with its carriage drive and associated avenue, forms another prominent feature. Presumably this drive led directly to the house in the 17th and 18th centuries as it is in line with the original front door on the south face of the house.

Present access to the house and garden is from a lane running parallel to the east of the drive. This also serves the home farm and gives access to the original kitchen gardens, stables and service areas.

The site is now entered by a court enclosed by the house, stables and garden wall. The entrance gates to the gardens lead off this court. The enclosed 20th century gardens lie to the south of this courtyard and were the original kitchen gardens. Another smaller gateway leads around the original south façade of the house and to terraced gardens. These are presumed to be the original 17th to 19th century formal and ornamental gardens which are now grass terraces and woodland.

When the site was last visited in 1986, the then-owner, Christopher Selmes, was maintaining the garden after some previous neglect. Work had been carried out by some landscape contractors and a full-time gardener had been appointed. A new formal garden was being designed and built in the kitchen garden, the greenhouses having been demolished. In 1986, work had been concentrated on the 20th century walled gardens and the associated buildings and walls. The castellated fortifications, woodland, avenue and the lodge were in need of further care.


Lygrove first appears as an estate in 1461, held by John and Alice Codrington.

The house was built in the early 17th century, added to in the 18th century and further altered in the 19th century. In the early 1900s it was bought as a dower house by the Duke of Beaufort. In 1926 it was bought by the Earl and Countess of Westmoreland from the Badminton Estate. The house and garden were extensively restored by G.H. Kitchin in 1927.

It is presumed that in the 17th and 18th centuries the house had formal gardens to the south and west, remnants of which survive as the avenue and grass terraces around the house. The ‘battlements' and the raised walks are probably mid-19th century, contemporary with the lodge and the woodland ‘wilderness'.

G. H. Kitchin designed the formal gardens in the walled kitchen garden area, adding the fine gate piers in the north wall. A loggia and lily pool were also added. The piers in the west wall were probably brought to Lygrove from Little Sodbury Manor in the 19th century.

A summerhouse was moved from the end of the terrace at the southern end of the house to its present site. This area was completed after World War 2 by the Countess.

There appears to have been a great deal of collaboration between the architect, G.H. Kitchin and the artist-plantsman, Diana, Countess of Westmoreland. This has resulted in a fine harmony between plants and buildings. Much of this planting remains and was considerably restored by Mr. Christopher Selmes, who owned the house at the time of the last survey in 1986. At this time a third formal garden was being created in the last of the kitchen gardens to the south.


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: gate piers; summerhouse;retaining walls; Gothic lodge
  • Grade: II
  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Lyegrove House
  • Grade: II*


  • Tree Avenue
  • Description: A 19th-century tree avenue.
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  • Garden Building
  • Description: A lodge.
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  • Tower
  • Description: A 19th-century airshaft for a railway tunnel in the style of a gothic tower.
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  • Stable Block
  • Description: Stables and stable yard.
  • Terraced Walk
  • Description: A raised, terraced walk.
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  • Wilderness
  • Description: A woodland wilderness.
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  • Loggia
  • Description: There is a small stone loggia on columns with a tiled roof. This forms the focal point at the end of the cherry walk of the spring garden.
  • Loggia
  • Description: The List of Historic Buildings states that the loggia is mid-18th century, but an article by Lanning Roper in Country Life (09/03/1961) states that it was designed by G.H. Kitchin.
  • Pool
  • Description: A lily pool.
  • Mansion House (featured building)
  • Description: This is a stone and render mansion under a Cotswold stone roof. It was built in the early 17th century and restored by G.H. Kitchin in 1927. Shields and gables carry Westmoreland arms (1927). There is a projecting porch with columns and balustrading on the south front.
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  • Garden Wall
  • Description: This feature is the west wall, which must have been part of an earlier design. This is because it follows an unusual ground line not symmetrical with the other side of the garden. The gate piers in this wall are thought to be 17th century and were probably brought to Lygrove from Little Sodbury Manor. It is likely that this took place when the kitchen gardens were improved and extended in the 19th century.
  • Garden Wall
  • Description: The north wall contains a fine arched and pedimented gateway designed by G.H. Kitchin.
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  • Garden Wall
  • Description: The south wall has a wide opening into the next garden. There are piers topped by stone pineapples.
  • Structure
  • Description: This feature is the ornamental fortifications, which probably date to the mid-19th century. They form a long raised terrace on the boundary of the garden to the south and west corner. The feature is made of coursed stone rubble with embrasures at wide intervals, ending in raised square 'terreplain' with corner bastins. From here a good view of the surrounding countryside can be obtained, in particular the castellated folly of the ventilation shafts of the railway tunnel. Under the terrace is a vaulted chamber.
  • Planting
  • Description: Sunken spring garden.
  • Planting
  • Description: New formal garden, laid out on the site of the old kitchen garden.
  • Terrace
  • Description: There are paved terraces and lawn terraces.
  • Gate Piers
  • Summerhouse
  • Pineapple Finial
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


20th Century (1901 to 1932)





Civil Parish





  • L. McRobie

  • Avon Gardens Trust