Nashdom Abbey 2378

Taplow, South Bucks, Buckinghamshire, England

Brief Description

Nashdom Abbey has an early-20th-century formal garden with terrace and lawns. Together with the adjacent woodland the site occupies about six hectares (four hectares registered).

History

The house and surrounding formal garden were built between 1905 and 1909 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Prince Alexis Dolgorouki and his wife.

Terrain

On largely level land, with a slight rise from south to north, and a sharp drop at the south-west side of the house and upper garden terrace.

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

An early 20th century house and formal garden by Sir Edwin Lutyens, with adjacent woodland.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Nashdom lies 1km north-west of Burnham, on a triangle of land bounded by roads: to the west Taplow Common Road, to the east Rose Lane, and to the north a connecting lane, Nashdom Lane, at the southern edge of the Dropmore estate (qv). The 4ha site is on largely level land, with a slight rise from south to north, and a sharp drop at the south-west side of the house and upper garden terrace. The setting is largely woodland and agricultural land, with the Dropmore estate to the north and the junction of Taplow Common Road and Nashdom Lane prominent in the immediate setting to the north-west.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The main entrance is from the west end of Nashdom Lane. A parallel spur off Nashdom Lane runs along the north-west front, along the bottom of the massive north-west wall of the house, in the middle of which is the main colonnaded entrance loggia, backed by an apsidal courtyard with the remains of a circular feature (? fountain and pool) in the centre surrounded by stone paving. The main door and entrance hall are at the north end of the loggia; to the south is a matching service entrance. A gatehouse (?Lutyens c 1912, listed grade II) lies at the north-east corner of the site where Nashdom Lane meets Rose Lane, 100m north-east of the house. It is built of whitewashed brick, consisting of a single block whose centre is a carriage entrance and whose outer wings lie at an angle of 45 degrees to it. Immediately behind it, to the south-west, blocking the view from the gatehouse to the garden to the south-west, is the single-storey, L-shaped stable (?Lutyens c 1912, listed grade II), in similar style to the gatehouse and also of whitewashed brick. A further, disused drive (now a path through the wood), once flanked by a C19 chestnut avenue (now gone), enters at the southern tip of the site. In the C19 it gave access from Hitcham Park to the south, extending a straight avenue through that park northwards to Nashdom Lane, across Taplow Common Road (OS 1882; 1899; 1924), although there is now no access from the road at this end of Nashdom. The drive terminates at the north end, south of the rose garden, in an alcove (Lutyens c 1912, listed grade II) with banded courses of tiles in brickwork and an arch with a keystone and broken pediment, designed to disguise the generator room behind.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

Nashdom house (Lutyens c 1905(9, listed grade II*) lies on the northern boundary of the site. It is a large, imposing house in bare neo-Regency style, with a severe, north-west entrance front overlooking the adjacent road which looks 'shockingly urban on the country lane' (Pevsner and Williamson 1994). The south-east garden front is softened by bow windows and the extensive use of green-painted shutters at the many windows, these being also employed on the south-west front overlooking the lower portion of the garden. A 1960s' extension to the north-east has been demolished (1997), with the intention to replace it with another extension in similar style to the Lutyens original.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The gardens lie adjacent to the south-west and south-east fronts, extending north-east towards the stable and gatehouse. There are two main divisions. A straight path (originally paved with York stone) below the south-east, garden front leads north-eastwards to the circular rose garden (Lutyens c 1912, listed grade II), the interior of which is derelict (1997), enclosed by a 4m high curved brick wall (originally with a pergola around the circumference and paths of York stone, now gone). Beyond the garden front lies the open east lawn, the western edge of which is defined by a level, balustraded terrace (also originally paved with York stone) which runs at right angles from the south corner of the house, along the top of a massive retaining wall. Below this to the west is a long drop to the second main division: the lower, west lawn, now a car park, reached from the terrace by a double flight of grand stone staircases. The outer, southern edges of the lawns merge into the woodland to the south, with banks of rhododendrons breaking up the boundary.

The mixed woodland pleasure grounds to the south retain their central drive, although none of the chestnut avenue survives. The trees at the southern end are relatively young, but those at the north are mature, with mature rhododendrons underplanted in some areas. An early to mid C20 concrete-lined winding rill runs south on the west side of the drive, emerging, via a concrete cascade, into a concrete-lined pool, now much overgrown and unused. A small cemetery used by the Abbey also lies in the woodland, adjacent to the Taplow Common Road.

REFERENCES

Country Life, 32 (31 August 1912), pp 292-298

L Weaver, Houses and gardens by E L Lutyens (1913), pp 238-246

J Brown, Gardens of a golden afternoon (1982), pp 120, 159, 168, 186

N Pevsner and E Williamson, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (1994), pp 210-211

MAPS

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1882

OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1899

1925 edition

Description written: 1997

Edited: September 2000

Features

Style

  • Formal
  • House (featured building)
  • Now Flats
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Access & Directions

Directions

North-east of Maidenhead, at Taplow.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Taplow
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

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Nashdom was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Prince Alexis Dolgorouki and his wife, on a previously undeveloped field surrounded by woodland. The house and surrounding formal garden were built between 1905 and 1909. The site was sold in about 1926 and became the Anglican Benedictine monastery of Nashdom Abbey, until sold again about 1986 and left empty, subsequently being developed into flats (1997).

Period

  • Early 20th Century
Associated People

Just one person associated to Nashdom Abbey

Contact
References

References