Nantwich Walled Garden 9558

Cheshire, England

Brief Description

The garden is surrounded on three sides by the original walls (listed Grade II), which have survived virtually intact for over 400 years. However, some damage has occurred in recent years through natural weathering and probably vandalism. The interior of the garden is now overgrown.

History

The garden was part of the site of Townsend House which was situated to its west. The house and walls were built in the late-16th century by the Wilbraham family. Until the early-2000s the garden was privately owned and by the end of the 20th century was used as an orchard. For approximately the last 15 years, the walled garden has been owned by a series of property developers, but at the time of writing (April 2016) no building has started.

Detailed Description

The garden consists of about half an acre of land surrounded by a 16th-century wall, which was listed Grade II for a number of years by the Department of the Environment and then English Heritage. Since 2013 it has been included within the Nantwich Conservation Area. In 2015, English Heritage (now Historic England) confirmed the Grade II listing and amended and amplified the designation due to the garden's historical and architectural interest, early date of construction and the materials used. See the external web site links at the bottom of the 'Description' tab for the full Historic England listing.

The garden is surrounded on three sides by the original walls, which have survived virtually intact for over 400 years. However, some damage has occurred in recent years through natural weathering and probably vandalism. The interior of the garden is now overgrown.

The site is privately owned by a property developer. There have been several planning applications for development of the site, the most recent of which was approved verbally in 2009 subject to development of a satisfactory 106 planning agreement (still to be finalised).

The walled garden is unusual in that it is close to a town centre, and therefore has potential for an easily accessible visitor attraction, educational asset and community project.

Detailed description contributed by Natwich Walled Garden Society 11/04/2016

Features

Plant Environment

  • Walled Garden
  • Environment
  • Garden Wall
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Bee Bole
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Nantwich
History

Detailed History

The garden was part of the site of Townsend House which was situated to its west. The house and walls were built in the late-16th century by the Wilbraham family. When built, unlike today, the site of the house and garden probably wasn't surrounded by other buildings. King James I is understood to have been a guest at the house in 1617 while in Nantwich to visit the local brine works.

Once the Wilbraham family moved out, the house gradually fell into disrepair (eventually being demolished), and the site had many uses.

The Nantwich Walled Garden has history embedded in its walls, an example being the three bee boles which are located within the south wall. Bee boles (a Scots word for a recess in a wall), were used to house and protect bee skeps (a predecessor to bee hives, made of straw and requiring protection from the weather).

An archaeological survey undertaken in 2008 revealed other interesting historical features concerning the construction of the wall and garden, as well as artefacts recovered through excavations. The original bill of materials for the garden is available at the Cheshire Archives, Chester.

Until the early-2000s the garden was privately owned and was used as an orchard immediately prior to the site's purchase by a property developer. For approximately the last 15 years, the walled garden has been owned by a series of property developers, but at the time of writing (April 2016) no building has started.

Detailed history contributed by Natwich Walled Garden Society 11/04/2016

Period

  • Tudor (1485-1603)
Contact

Official Website

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