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Newburgh Priory


Newburgh Priory has an associated landscape park and woodland. Other features include a walled garden, water garden and yew topiary.


On rolling land which rises to the east and includes the valley of Heron Lye Gill which runs approximately north/south in the eastern part of the site.

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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Garden, pleasure grounds and park with 17th-century or earlier origins, laid out around 1730-40 for the fourth Viscount Fauconberg and modified probably in the later 18th and the 19th century.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Newburgh Priory lies c 1km south-east of Coxwold in a rural and agricultural area. The c 450 ha site is on rolling land which rises to the east and includes the valley of Heron Lye Gill which runs approximately north/south in the eastern part of the site. The west boundary is formed by the Coxwold to Oulston road for most of its length apart from a section immediately west of the Hall which extends west beyond this. The south boundary is formed by the Oulston to Yearsley road. The roadside boundaries are largely walled while remaining boundaries are largely fenced.

Entrances and Approaches

The principal entrance is from the Coxwold road where two early C18 lodges flank walls surmounted with railings and a central gate with an elaborate overthrow (all listed grade I). A drive is aligned with an archway in the west front leading to a courtyard on the west side of the Hall, as shown on the 1744 map. On the opposite side of the road, aligned with the main gates, there is an entrance with stone gate piers with bulgy rustication flanking gates with a wrought-iron overthrow (listed grade II) which leads to a track which runs due west to the Coxwold to Husthwaite road. A short avenue at the east end of this approach is formed by trees flanking the walls of a kitchen garden to the south and a farmyard to the north. The trees are shown on the 1856 OS map while the 1744 map shows a short path running west to a rectangular pond with an apsidal east end, c 100 m from the gate piers, in an area marked 'Managery & Pond'. The gate piers are of similar form to gate piers and entrances at Nunnington Hall (qv) and Norton Conyers (qv) for which a late C17 date and common designer is thought likely, raising the possibility that they were moved to this position and could have related to the gardens shown on the c 1700 paintings.

A secondary entrance to the north of the main entrance leads to a drive which runs east along the north side of Dog Kennel Garden (see below) and continues to the stables and then to the north side of the Hall. An entrance (now (1998) disused) with a lodge close to the south-west corner of the site is called Oulston Lodge. The entrance (but not the lodge, which is shown on the 1856 OS map) is shown on the 1744 map with a drive leading as an avenue of platoons, partially shown on the 1913 OS map, running northwards to the Hall. An entrance (now (1998) disused) on the south-east side of the park with a lodge called High Lions Lodge is shown on the 1856 OS map when a drive, marked 'The Old Carriage Drive', ran west to join the drive from the south at a circular wood. The eastern part of this route has disappeared. The 1722 map and the c 1700 paintings show that the principal entrance, of which no visible trace remains, was from the north where a drive led to a gatehouse set into a walled enclosure. The 1605 map shows an entrance in a similar position.

Principal Building

Newburgh Priory (listed grade I) probably originated in the C16 perhaps incorporating some pre-Reformation fabric. Work of c 1600 is visible in the south elevation. The building was remodelled in the C18 when, amongst other works, the Gallery block (dated 1735) at the north-east corner of the building was erected. Further works were undertaken in the 1760s. The Hall was leased to a school in 1939 and in the years which followed the building was damaged by fire and abandoned by the school. The Wombwell family moved back in and undertook major restoration of the Hall in the 1960s, though the Gallery block was not restored and is maintained as a controlled ruin. The building is in use as a private residence (1998).

An early C18 stable block (listed grade II) lies c 50 m north-west of the Hall. It is a building of some architectural ambition with windows and doors in elaborate rusticated surrounds.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

On the west side of the Hall the entrance drive runs between lawns with topiary flanked by a grassed bank dividing the garden from wooded pleasure grounds on the south side and the Dog Kennel Garden wall to the north. This layout is shown on the 1744 map when the grassed bank is shown as a path.

On the north side of the Hall there is a turning circle between the projecting wings of the building and lawns slope gently down to the north to the shores of a lake called the Fish Pond. There are views over the water to level parkland with the Hambleton Hills (outside the registered area) rising beyond with a C19 figure of a horse cut into a hillside featuring prominently in the view. A patch of woodland running to the water's edge from the north side of Dog Kennel Garden, on the west side of the lawns, is on the site of kitchen gardens shown on the 1744 map in an area described as a bowling green on the 1722 map. The ruinous remains of a folly (listed grade II) in the woodland is probably a building shown on the 1744 map marked Rotundo, which was converted to a gas house in the C19. The 1744 map shows the Pond with an island on the east side with a small building marked Summer House on it. The 1722 map shows only a small rectangular fishpond in this area.

On the east side of the gardens there are wooded pleasure grounds called Crow Wood with two vistas cut through them, the first aligned with the south-east corner of the Hall and running east, the second starting at a point c 200 m north-east of the Hall and running diagonally south-east, meeting the first vista and then continuing to the edge of the woodland. There are views across rising parkland and Farmer Hill from this point and from a grass path running south along the edge of the woodland. In the southern part of the pleasure grounds there is a circular pond, c 150 m south-east of the Hall, and south of this a water garden with streams, rivulets and pools with paths leading around them. This is suggested on the 1913 OS map and probably originated in the early C20.

The woodland with the vistas and the circular pond are shown on the 1744 map, when they were linked by a series of curving, angled and straight paths. The eastern edge of the wood is shown edged with a walk along which three bastions, two with temples, were ranged. The wood is shown on the 1722 map and the east/west vista appears to be partially on the line of a route through the wood marked 'The G[illegible] Walk' which continued as an avenue beyond the pleasure grounds.

A gravel path runs along the south side of the Hall and to the south there are lawns with flower beds and some topiary. The lawns are terraced up to the south and continue to a cast-iron fence dividing the garden from the park, with views over the park framed by trees to the east and west. The south-west side of the pleasure grounds is wooded with paths leading through the trees. The 1744 map shows rectangular gardens enclosed by lines of trees or shrubs immediately south of the Hall, and south of this a diminishing vista cut through Crow Wood, which extended to join woodland on the west side of the pleasure grounds, centring on a structure marked Diana's Temple. The Temple is shown aligned with another vista running north-east to the eastern edge of Crow Wood, in an area which is now within the park. A vista is shown parallel and to the west of the diminishing vista, starting as an axial path within the west garden and focusing at its south end upon an obelisk from which an avenue is shown running west across fields.

The area to the south of the Hall is shown on the 1722 map with extensive formal gardens in a series of enclosures conforming broadly in outline with what is shown on the c 1700 paintings. The 1856 OS map shows that the edges of Crow Wood had been softened by this time and surrounded an informal grassed clearing which extended to the south front of the Hall. The 1913 OS map shows that Crow Wood had been reduced in size on the south-east side and views to the park opened out. The Wood formerly extended from the present south-west tip of woodland on a line slightly north of east to a point c 400m south-east of the Hall where there is a clump of trees in the park.

It is not known whether all the works shown on the 1744 map were executed and in particular whether all the temples, summerhouses and other structures were erected, but estate accounts show that more than £3000 was spent on the garden and park during the period 1734-8.

Kitchen Garden

A rectangular walled garden called Dog Kennel Garden (walls and outbuildings listed grade II) lies c 50m north-west of the Hall immediately north of the lawns on the west front. An entrance in the centre of the east wall has a rusticated stone surround and a range of bothies, stores and other ancillary buildings runs along the outer north wall. A number of walled enclosures are shown extending to the north of Dog Kennel Garden on the 1744 map, and the south wall of one of these survives north of the garden on the north side of the entrance drive.

A second L-shaped walled garden (walls, gate piers and bothy listed grade II) lies c 250m south-west of the Hall on the west side of the Coxwold road. A pair of gate piers with bulgy rustication lead to a path flanked by fruit trees running west to a bothy which has a central door and a blind Diocletian window at first floor level. An inner enclosure in the angle of the L is formed by walls between the bothy and a garden cottage to the west. The garden and its structures is shown on the 1744 map.


The park, which is a mixture of arable and pasture land, extends on the north, south and east sides of the Hall. North Park is largely pasture with scattered trees, and it is shown as fields on the 1744 map, with a broad avenue of platoons aligned with the north side of the Hall. It had been imparked by the time that the 1856 OS map was surveyed. On the east side Farmer Hill is rising open grassland visible from the eastern edge of the Crow Wood pleasure grounds. It is sheltered on the north and east side by a curving band of woodland which marked the limit of the park on the 1744 map, which shows that a ride continued through the woods from the walks in Crow Wood. The south-west side of the park is sheltered by woodland called The Stripe, shown on the 1722 map as an avenue and also shown on the 1744 map with a sinuous path or ride leading through it to a clearing with a temple. Circular Wood lies on the east edge of The Stripe c 1.3 km south of the Hall, as shown in 1744, and a thin band of trees runs between this and the south-west tip of the park. A wooded hill on the south side of the park called The Mount is the site of an early C18 hunting lodge (listed grade II). This is shown in 1744 with woodland and an irregular enclosure with the building within it. The 1722 map shows the area as an enclosure with three avenues leading off it to the north, east and west.

A strip of partially felled woodland called Prust Wood shelters the north-east boundary and the 1744 map shows a ride through it linked with the woodland rides around the edges of Farmer Hill. These are shown extending through woodland along the north-east side of the site in areas which have reverted to open land. Heron Lye Gill runs approximately north/south through the eastern part of the park and was the eastern boundary of the park on the 1744 map. The 1856 OS map shows parkland extending eastwards to the present boundary.

Maps [all in Newburgh Priory Muniments, North Yorks Record Office]

  • Estate Map, 1605
  • Estate Map, 1722 [showing park and wider estate]
  • Estate Map, 1722 [showing gardens and park]
  • J Haynes, Estate Map, 1744
  • OS Maps
  • OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1853-4, published 1856; 2nd edition revised 1909-10, published 1913

Description written: October 1998

Edited: October 1999

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details


Sir George and Lady Wombwell


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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

12th - 14th Century

Newburgh Priory was the site of an Augustinian Priory which was founded in 1145 and granted licence to enclose a park in 1383. It was acquired by Anthony Bellasis after the Dissolution and continued in the family, who were created viscounts and then earls of Fauconberg.

18th Century

A series of estate maps survive, including one dated 1605, followed by two maps of 1722 and one of 1744. Two paintings of around 1695-1700 (Harris 1979) appear to reflect the layout shown on the 1722 maps.

19th - 21st Century

In 1825 Newburgh passed to the Wombwell family through the female line and it remains in private ownership (1998).

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD2068
  • Grade: II


  • Topiary
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The priory was converted in to a private house in 1546, and with the exception of some alterations from 1720-60 remains much the same.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Ruin
  • Description: Priory ruins.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Open to the public


Civil Parish