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Newton Kyme Hall park and garden


Newton Kyme Hall is an interesting landscape park with formal elements associated with a 17th century house. There has been much alteration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Features include the ruins of Newton Kyme Castle, a medieval church, an 18th century stone ha-ha, formal terraces and parkland.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Newton Kyme Hall parkland and garden is situated on slightly elevated ground on the west bank of the River Wharfe west of Tadcaster, adjacent to the church at the east end of the village. The existing Hall was built by Admiral Robert Fairfax about 1720. At the same time the grounds were landscaped to include formal gardens on three sides of the Hall with orchard to the north. Early 18th century parkland was laid out over medieval ridge and furrow with the small remains of medieval ‘Kyme Castle’ incorporated into the pleasure gardens. The estate remained in the Fairfax family from the early 17th century to the late 19th century, with Thomas Loddington Fairfax extending the Hall in the early 19th century. Map evidence shows gradual changes in the landscape under the Fairfax ownership. The parkland was at its largest, for about 50 years, in the early part of the 20th century. An enduring feature is the avenue of lime trees which run from the front of the Hall south to the Tadcaster Road, offering an appealing vista. The avenue was planted in 1712, with the original trees being cut down and the avenue replanted, a little wider, in the 20th century.

Newton Kyme Hall is on the west bank of the River Wharfe, c.2.4 km (1.5 miles) northeast of the centre of Tadcaster. The largest area of historic parkland, gardens and orchards existed at the beginning of the 20th century.

At its largest extent, at the beginning of the 20th century, the parkland was bounded to the north and northeast by the River Wharfe. To the east the boundary followed the edge of the floodplain (SE 469 448 Bond Ings), circuited Crow Wood (SE 469 443), and then followed a field boundary to the Tadcaster Road (SE 471 440). The railway line to the south of the road and a field boundary (from SE 462 442 to SE 457 441) formed the southern boundary. The western boundary followed roads and railway line, with the Tadcaster road forming a northern boundary to this part of the parkland until Croft Lane (SE 454 446 to SE 458 445). The boundary mostly followed Croft Lane, circuiting a field (SE 460 447 to SE 460 445 to SE 462 446 to SE 461 448), into the village and to the Hall. To the northwest of the Hall, the boundary followed a ditch to SE 461 450, with a field boundary forming the final northwestern boundary (SE 461 450 to SE 462 454).

Newton Kyme lies on the Southern Magnesian Limestone Ridge. The underlying geology is Permian Magnesian Limestone with a covering of fertile alluvial drift. The house and garden are at about 20m AOD and the parkland to the south is about 13m AOD. The land dips to the north and east to the floodplain of the river Wharfe.

Newton Kyme Hall, garden and immediate parkland lie on raised river terrace overlooking the River Wharfe, with the view from the south front of the hall dominated by the lime tree avenue. From the Tadcaster road, the lime avenue provides a vista to the Hall. The parkland was laid out over medieval ridge and furrow. The site lies in the Selby District Local Landscape Character Area: West Selby Ridge (with the whole estate characterised as parkland). In the wider landscape setting, to the west of Newton Kyme village, a prehistoric henge, Bronze Age burials, Roman fort and vicus have been found. The henge and Roman fort survived as earthworks at the time of 18th century development of the designed landscape.

Entrances and Approaches

The existing entrance to the front of Newton Kyme Hall, through a walled gate, is off Croft Lane (SE 464 448). Croft Lane ends about 25 metres further north (SE 465 449), between the boundary walls of Newton Kyme Hall and the Rectory, as an entrance to the courtyard and coach house at the northern rear of the Hall. In the early days of the lime avenue there was a gated entrance on Tadcaster road to lead into the parkland in front of the hall (SE 465 443). The iron gates were sold to a Mr Thomlinson-Walker of York in 1856.

Principal Buildings

Newton Kyme Hall [Listed Grade II* NHLE No. 1132467] is a ‘Country house. Early C18 with probable C17 origins and early C19 alterations and additions. Magnesian limestone and sandstone ashlar, that to centre block with vertical and horizontal tooling, and Welsh slate roof. Central early C18 range with early C19 canted bays and rear wings to sides and further kitchen wing to rear left.

To the north of Newton Kyme Hall are the coach house and stables [Listed Grade II NHLE No. 1132465] , built between 1842 and 1846, which are: ‘Magnesian limestone ashlar with Welsh slate roof. U-shaped on plan. Centre of 2 storeys and 2 bays flanked by single-storey, single-bay ranges and 2 single-storey, 2-bay wings at right angles. Roofed 'portico' of 2 square piers between wings. Centre of 2 carriage arches with double wooden doors.’

To the immediate southwest of the coach house is the Groom’s House [Listed Grade II NHLE No. 1167047], built between 1842 and 186, which is:‘Magnesian limestone ashlar with Welsh slate roof. Single storey, 4 bays. Plinth. Blocked entrance to first bay now with 16-pane sash.’

About 25 metres to the east of the hall in the pleasure garden are Ruined remains of Kyme Castle [Listed Grade II NHLE No.1166953], listed as: ‘Probably C13. Magnesian limestone. Thick wall approximately 10 metres in length and 3 metres in height. Pointed archway and lancet window to right.’ The site is a Scheduled Monument (list entry no. 1013302).

Icehouse and well [Grade II NHLE No. 1167064] ;The icehouse is situated about 8 metres northeast of the hall where the land dips down to the northern stream boundary. It extends under the garden associated with the East Wing of the Hall. Listed as: ‘C19 incorporating earlier material. Magnesian limestone. Wall approximately 6 metres long and 1.75 metres high. Central entrance a low, studded door below earlier lintel inscribed with Fairfax motto 'FARE FAC ' . Earth roof. Interior: well known locally as 'Black Tom's Well'.’

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

Formal and pleasure gardens developed from 1726 through to the late 19th century, mainly to the south and east of the Hall.

The 1726 map shows formal gardens to the west, south and east of the Hall, forming rectilinear lawns, which appear to be enclosed by walls. Before 1813, a new rectory had been built to the west of the Hall by Guy Fairfax (1735-1794). The extension to the Hall in the early 19th century and the proximity of the rectory led to the effective removal of the west garden. By 1813, a curved ha-ha [Listed Grade II, NHLE no. 1132466] separated the south garden, which also encompassed the church, from the parkland. As the pleasure gardens were extended eastwards, a further ha-ha was constructed to the east of the church curving towards the river. The remains of Kyme castle formed a transition between formal garden and ‘flower garden’. An archaeological survey of the remains of Kyme Castle and associated features indicates the remains were ‘romanticised’, probably during the early 19th century (Richardson & Dennison 2007,6). The more formal garden now contains a large, old beech tree and several old yews. It borders the north side of the church, containing a door into the church from the garden. The more linear pleasure garden was described in 1846 as a flower garden and extended down through woodland to the river where a nearby boathouse is shown on the 1849 OS map. The lower part of this garden towards the river has now been given over entirely to woodland. It contained glasshouses connected to a building, the platform for which can still just be discerned. The glasshouses were at the junction of paths between the southern and northern parts of the garden. To the north of the glasshouses and the remains of Kyme Castle, the land dips quite sharply. The northern part of the pleasure gardens comprised walks through woodland and was described on the 1846 tithe map as plantation, road and drain (c.0.9 acre). This part remains as road and woodland.

Between 1890 and 1906, at the same time as the parkland was significantly extended, part of the parkland to the east of the ha-ha was incorporated into the pleasure garden. This area contained a tennis court, date of construction unknown, and a rock garden, which stills exists, made in the 1920s adjacent to part of the ha-ha. Part of the ha-ha, to the immediate east of the church, was destroyed sometime between 1909 and 1960, probably at the same time as the walled churchyard was extended eastwards.

A further enclosed ornamental garden existed around the lower pond in the parkland from the late 18th century, or earlier, as Robert Fairfax observed in 1791 ‘several Nectarines upon a Twig of an old Newington Peach Tree growing against the south wall of the lower Garden’ (THS 03-D-01). Formal planting also took place: ‘1782 October 13 Low Garden. Set 40 Rannunculus Roots the greater part of them of a House sort from Mr Telford, 10 Anemones. The weather very fine.’ ‘1784 Low Garden. Carnations. Planted out layers of Carnations in beds in the East side of the Grass Walk from plants raised from Perfects seed. The west most bed double Carnations. The Eastmost single. The Beds are divided into three parts. The first northern most a mixture of Cow Dung, the second House Dung, the third Pidgeons Dung’(ibid). A clear depiction is shown on the 1849 OS map: two rows of trees with paths and geometric plots and planting, with also a small rectangular building. Neither this garden nor the pond it surrounds are shown on later OS maps.

To the north rear of the Hall, the 1726 map depicts an orchard enclosed by hedges with two distinct rows of trees, planted almost like an avenue. By 1813, the flat lower area to the north of the Hall was shown as enclosed and may have still been orchard. Between 1842 and 1846, a coach house, stables and a groom’s house were built over this area. An orchard existed to the northwest of the coach house into the 20th century, as a rectangular plot of c.0.3 acre between two drains.

Kitchen Garden

A kitchen garden existed in the late 18th century as evidenced by Robert Fairfax’s description of planting, specifically fruit trees against its walls (see section 3.3.2). The kitchen garden was probably constructed about the same time as the Hall and was sited to the north of the Dower House and west of the Hall. The 1846 ‘kitchen garden and hothouse’ of just over 0.5 acre is shown as an enclosure with a glasshouse in its north eastern corner on maps between 1849 and 1960. Part of the wall, gates and railings exist between the Dower House and the site of the garden as a Grade II listed structure: NHLE 1167091. The kitchen garden is now the site of a large house and lawned garden.


The historic parkland of the Fairfax family lies to the south of the Hall and features the avenue of lime trees as well as containing individual trees scattered throughout.

The parkland was laid out over medieval ridge and furrow, and earthworks of these have good survival today. The parkland was divided into two, at the dip in the land, by an east-west ditch in which the garden ponds lay. On the 1846 tithe map the northern half of the parkland closest to the Hall, and then extending down to the river, is described as Hall Garth (28.7 acres). Bordering the dividing ditch and adjacent to the lane are three very small plantations shown on the 1846 tithe map (one of c. 4 acre north of the ditch, two of c.13 acre bordering this plantation).

A croft, set to grass, of c.2.8 acres, east of the lane and north of the fish pond is shown on the 1846 tithe map in the ownership and occupancy of Thomas Fairfax, and is assumed as part of the designed landscape at this time.

Crow Wood (c. 4.3 acre), called Jagars Wood on the 1846 tithe map, lies on the eastern edge of the parkland.

On the 1846 tithe map, land to the north west of the coach house is organised as three enclosures: carr plantation (wood c.0.3 acre) next to the coach house and bounded by two ditches; orchard next west of c.0.28 acre; and, furthest west, part of carr laid to grass and stable (c. 0.8 acre). This land is later shown as woodland between the two ditches, as in 1846, with the rest as orchard. It is difficult to identify the nature of the tree planting in these areas over the years, given the depiction of a formal layout on the 1726 map and Robert Fairfax’s description of fruit and other tree planting in the late 18th century (section 3.3.2).

The OS 1st edition map, surveyed 1846-7, has parkland with remnants of field boundaries, shown by a linear pattern of trees with few scattered trees and small plantations or groups. By 1906 scattered trees have extensively increased across the whole of the larger parkland with some linear tree planting retained.

Between 1896 and 1906, at the end of the Fairfax ownership, the parkland was extended into the flood plain to the north and to the railway line to the south. This more extensive parkland, probably under various owners, lasted for about 50 years.

Garden ponds are described by Robert Fairfax (section 3.3.2) and lay in the depression in the parkland. The implication is that these were constructed between 1727 and the late 18th century, with the upper pond falling out of use between 1813 and 1842.

In 1846 the lower rectangular garden pond of c. 0.36 acre is clearly shown as an elongated oval on the tithe map. The 1846 6” OS map shows the pond set within an enclosure containing an ornamental garden. By the 1890s the enclosure and pond are not depicted on the maps. However, the former location of the pond is clearly visible on aerial photographs taken in 1980 (CUCAP CNP74) and when there is extreme flooding of the Wharfe the depression fills with water.

A fish pond, to the west of the lime avenue and north-south lane is shown on all maps except the 1726 map. This was known as Paddock Dike to Robert Fairfax (section 3.3.2) and shown as Paddock pond of c.0.5 acre on the 1846 tithe map. The fish pond still exists bordered by trees. Observation in 2005 records water management features associated with the pond, including revetments and sluices (NYCC MNY24513).

The River Wharfe borders the northern and eastern boundary of the designed landscape and would have been used for fishing and leisure.

Primary Sources

  • ‘Yorkshire Fines: 1551-55', in Feet of Fines of the Tudor Period [Yorks]: Part 1, 1486-1571, ed. Francis Collins (Leeds, 1887), pp. 153-189. British History Online [accessed 17 April 2018].
  • 'Yorkshire Fines: 1566', in Feet of Fines of the Tudor Period [Yorks]: Part 1, 1486-1571, ed. Francis Collins (Leeds, 1887), pp. 316-329. British History Online [accessed 17 April 2018].
  • Tadcaster Historical Society (THS)
  • THS 03-D-01 Transcript of Memorandum Book of Robert Fairfax 1774-1802 (original North Yorkshire Archives ref: Z357 Mic: 1322)
  • THS 05-X-01 Newton Kyme pictures 2000-2001
  • 1726 map. A map of the Manor of Newton Kyme belonging to Thomas Fairfax Esq. Drawn by Robert Jefferson 1726.
  • West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds (WYAS)
  • WYL466/36 Map of the Estate in the Lordship of Newton Kyme belonging to T.L. Fairfax Esq. made in 1813 by John Humphries, Ripon.
  • WYL466/36 Plan of Township of Newton Kyme 1842.

National Archives (NA)

Aerial Photographs

  • Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photography (CUCAP) CNP74, 15 October 1980


  • OS 6” Yorkshire 189 Surveyed 1846-7, published 1849; OS 6” Yorkshire 190 Surveyed 1846-7, published 1849.
  • OS 25” Yorkshire CXC.9 Surveyed 1890, published 1893; OS 25” Yorkshire CXC.5 Surveyed 1891; OS 25” Yorkshire CLXXXIX.8; OS 25” Yorkshire CLXXXIX.12 all surveyed 1891, published 1893.
  • OS 1” Sheet 70 Leeds (outline) surveyed 1896, published 1898.
  • OS 25” Yorkshire CXC.9; OS 25” Yorkshire CXC.5; OS 25”Yorkshire CLXXXIX.8; OS 25” Yorkshire CLXXXIX.12 all surveyed 1906, published 1909.
  • OS 6” Yorkshire CXC.SW; OS 6” Yorkshire CXC.NW; OS 6” Yorkshire CLXXXIX.NE; OS 6” Yorkshire CLXXXIX.SE all surveyed 1906, published 1909

Detailed Description contributed by Mary Ratcliffe [August 2018] Yorkshire Gardens Trust, Selby District Historic Designed Landscapes Project

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


The Newton Kyme estate was owned by the Fairfax family from at least the early 17th century. The Fairfax family were descendants by marriage of the Talboys, earlier owners of the manor (Markham, 39).

Sir William Fairfax married a rich heiress, Isabel Thwaites, and left large estates to both his eldest and youngest sons when he died in 1557. Sir Thomas Fairfax, the eldest son, gained an interest in Newton Kyme as well as the estates of Denton, Nun Appleton and property in York. Gabriel Fairfax, the youngest son, gained the manors of Steeton, Bilbroughand the lordship of Bolton Percy. It is Gabriel’s descendants, however, rather than Sir Thomas’s, who came to have ownership of Newton Kyme, after the mid-17th century, after resolution of a dispute about inheritance of the larger estates initiated by Sir Thomas’s son Lord Thomas Fairfax (1560-1640).

By 1652, Gabriel Fairfax’s great-great grandson William Fairfax (1630-1673) occupied Newton Kyme. In that year he married Catherine Stapleton. As Lady Frances, William’s widowed mother, lived in the manor house at Steeton, the accepted ancestral home, William and Catherine took ‘the little manor house at Newton Kyme’ (Markham, 33). William’s eldest son William inherited the estate in 1692 on his grandmother’s death, dying in 1694. It was Admiral Robert Fairfax (1666-1725) who substantially developed Newton Kyme from about 1710 after inheriting from William, his elder brother in 1694. After he had ceased naval employment, Robert Fairfax decided to develop the estate at Newton Kyme, in preference to Steeton. Lime trees from the Denton estate of his young cousin and ward, Lord Fairfax, were planted in 1712 as an avenue leading from the Tadcaster to the house. The new house, built over several years, replaced the small manor house in which Robert’s parents had lived. The hall and alterations to Newton Kyme were finished in 1720, and Robert and his family then took up residence there for parts of the year (Markham, 274).

Robert Fairfax lived entirely at Newton Kyme for the last year of his life, dying in late 1725 with his son Thomas (1698-1774) inheriting the estate. The Fairfax ownership of Newton Kyme continued with Thomas’ eldest unmarried son Robert (1732-1803) inheriting, followed by Robert’s younger brother John (1733-1811). Thomas’s third son, Guy (1735-1794) was rector of Newton Kyme, building a new rectory adjacent to the Hall about 1771. John Fairfax lived most of his life in Bath and was succeeded to the estates of Newton Kyme and Bilbrough by his son Thomas Loddington Fairfax (1770-1840), who enlarged Newton Kyme Hall and modified the landscape. Thomas Loddington Fairfax was succeeded by his son Thomas (1804-1875) and his grandson Thomas Ferdinado(1839-1884). In the late nineteenth century Thomas Ferdinadowas living at Bilbrough, Newton Kyme being occupied by his sister and husband William Wickham (1881 census).

Towards the end of the 19th century, Fairfaxes ceased occupancy, and perhaps ownership of Newton Kyme. The documentary evidence for ownership through to the 21st century becomes patchy. From 1891 until at least 1918, Newton Kyme Hall was occupied by Miss Maria Bethell who was originally from Rise Hall in East Yorkshire. In the 20th century Newton Kyme passed through various owners. In 1930 the trustees of the late J H Robinson sold Newton Kyme Hall with 764 acres to Mr W R & Major Frank Colley, maltsters (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 29 March 1930). In 1931 and 1933, the occupiers of Newton Kyme Hall, Mr & Mrs Albrecht held open garden events (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 15 July 1931; Leeds Mercury 30 June 1933). During WWII the hall was appropriated by the Army for Air Defence Headquarters. In 1953 Colley sold the estate to farmer Leslie Sampson (Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 23 February 1953). Newton Kyme Hall was later divided into three wings, with associated garden, each in private ownership.

Key owners likely to be responsible for major development of the designed landscape from surviving documentary evidence, and dates of their involvement:

  • Admiral Robert Fairfax (c.1710-1725)
  • Robert Fairfax (1774-1803)
  • Thomas Loddington Fairfax (1811-1840)
  • Thomas Fairfax (1841-1875)

11th to 17th Century

In 1086 Newton Kyme was recorded as Newton, the Kyme being added when the Lincolnshire de Kymes took ownership. The Lord of the Manor of Newton in 1086 was Fulk son of Reinfrid (first Prior of Whitby) (Domesday online; Speight, 365). The manor passed via female descendants to the Lincolnshire de Kyme family, and thence through mainly a female line to the Umfravilles, Burdons & Talboys or Talbots (according to different spellings) (Markham, 9; Speight, 365-8). In 1461 William Tallboys had his land confiscated as a consequence of sentence to death for treason (Markham, 9) but the estate was later returned to the Tallboys family. There is a record of Elizabeth Wymbysshe (Lady Talboys) transferring the ownership or tenancy of the Manor of Newton Kyme in 1552 to Sir William Clyston and Humphry Bentley (Yorkshire Fines 1551-5). It is possible that the estate changed occupancy several times in the 16th century, as in 1566 there were two transfers: from Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife Dorothy to Ambrose, Earl of Warwick and then to Benedict Spinola (Yorkshire Fines 1566). However, the Fairfax ownership starts to appear about this time.

Part of a medieval building, known as Kyme Castle, survives as a single two storey high section of wall, limited earthworks and buried archaeological remains (Scheduled Monument1013302) but is difficult to date accurately. Richardson & Dennison (2007, 1) consider that ‘it is probable that the castle site developed as a manorial centre during the 12th century, and it was perhaps expanded by the de Kyme family during the 13th century. To what extent the site was ever “fortified” by the Talbots during the 14th century is open to debate.’

The linear village of Newton Kyme was to the west of the medieval manor, with the church to the immediate south. The site of the 17th century manor house was possibly to the immediate west of ‘Kyme Castle’. The designed landscape, including parkland, had to develop around the church to the immediate south of the Hall and the linear village to the immediate west. There is evidence of medieval ridge and furrow in the parkland to the south east of Newton Kyme Hall (Aerial photograph CUCAP CNP74 & observation on the ground) as well as to the south (MNY24514).

18th Century

It is possible that the small manor house, in which Admiral Robert Fairfax grew up, was to the west of the remains of ‘Kyme Castle’ and to the immediate north-west of the church and was the site for Robert’s construction of the new house. There is scant documentary evidence relating to the construction of the early 18th century house and its landscape, other than the reference to the creation of the avenue of limes leading south from the house to the Tadcaster road. A contemporary sketch dated 1718 by Warburton shows a two-storey house with a symmetrical five bay front and hipped roof, set within a gated forecourt (Speight 1902, 375). A map of 1726 drawn by Robert Jefferson for Thomas Fairfax, Robert’s son, (THS 1726 map) shows this same house with gardens immediately to the south front and west and east sides (bounding the church), with an enclosed orchard, or avenue of trees, to the north rear. It is likely that Robert Fairfax undertook considerable landscaping around the new house – the formal gardens to the sides and the very deliberate planting of the avenue of lime trees. No ponds are shown on the 1726 map, although there is an east-west ‘field’ crossing the avenue where ponds subsequently feature. One monument Admiral Robert Fairfax probably introduced was a sundial, now removed, which was originally positioned to the west of the hall at the junction of Croft Lane and the north-south lane (SE 446399, 444868). (NHLE No. 1316678 Grade II: ‘Probable C17 base, inscribed on dial: 'Nat. Witham LondiniFecit 1713,' and with Fairfax motto: 'FARE FAC'. Magnesian limestone base with bronze sundial. Octagonal on plan, approximately 1 metre in height.’)

A transcript of a memorandum book for Robert Fairfax (1732-1803), Robert’s unmarried grandson, exists for the period of his ownership of Newton Kyme (THS 03-D-01). It would appear that he took great interest in the garden and estate, as the book contains details of fruit, flower and vegetable planting as well as descriptions of the drainage of ponds. It also provides information of trees felled and planted. The gardens appeared to be well maintained at this time.

In 1774, there were three ponds: Upper and Lower pond in lower garden, and Paddock Dike pond – ‘1774 Tench. Taken from ye lower Pond in ye low Garden 10 Brace of smallish Tench and put them into ye Paddock Dyke. Made a Channel of Brick ... Layd crossways betwixt the upper and lower Pond in ye Lower Garden.’ A further pond was made in 1780: ‘In March of this year we made the small Pond on the outside the Garden into which the lower Pond discharqes and put into it about 20 Brace of Pike large and small with 30 Brace of small Flounders.’ Map evidence from 1813 onwards (see section 3.3.3) suggests the lower garden was a walled enclosure around the lower pond in the east-west depression in the parkland.

Robert Fairfax records the flowers planted in the low gardenand Hall court: e.g. in 1782 ‘Planted out a great number of fine seedling Carnation Plants raised from seeds got from Perfects of Pomfret. The best plants were planted on each side of the Grass walk about ye middle of the Garden. ‘1785 Crocuses. Of various sorts set round the edges of the two Borders in the Hall Court in November’. Many fruit trees were planted in the orchard and against walls in the kitchen garden and near the house: e.g. ‘1791 Apple Trees. In March removed sundry old Apple Trees from the Border opposite the North Wall of the Kitchen garden and replanted in the stead 4 Dwarfe Apple Trees viz. White Pippin, Acklam Russet, Golden Pippin and in the border opposite the Chicken Yard door, 1 Ribston Pippin.’ ‘1793 Lower Garden - against ye Eastern South Wall -Brown Buerne Pear, Violet Peach, Nectarine.’ ‘1798 Kitchen Garden planting. 1 Sear's Egg Pear, White Fig,Duke Cherry, Morello Cherry. ‘1799 A Mulberry Tree planted in the Orchard about 1776 or 7 first shew'd a small quantity of small fruit about 1795 but did not produce anything considerable till June 1799 when it was thick of fruit of a good size.

Robert Fairfax indicates planting on the walls in the kitchen garden, and also melons in a hot bed: ‘Found a Paper of Melon seeds inscribed Cantaloupe Melon seed October 1788, three seeds of which were sown about the 20th May. All came up strongly and were good Plants. One of them was planted in the Hot Bed for the Second Crop of Melons towards the beginning of June. Removed a Vine from the South Wall of the Kitchen Garden and planted a Figg in its stead.’ The kitchen garden was sited west of the hall, to the immediate north of the Dower House. The Dower House fronts Croft Lane and was built about 1710 as an extension of an earlier 17th century house (Listed Grade II, NHLE 1316679).

There are records of substantial trees within the estate and considerable planting and felling: e.g. ‘1783 low Garden and Church yard Nursery. October 25, 27, 28 planted out from Rudgate Nursery into Low Garden and Church Yard Nursery 3000 Oak Plants from 5 to 8 inches in height ... the weather being very favourable for Planting.’ ‘1783 October 29. Planted 50 Italian Poplars from 7 to 3 in. in height at a fine time in the Paddock Dike.

There are references to the state of elm trees to the north of the house. ‘1779 The large Elm on the north side of the house at Newton as standing on the Hill westward is is supposed to contain 170 cubic feet of timber.’ ‘1794 Felled a Dutch Elm of remarkable size at Newton Kyme. This tree grew on a steep slope on the north side of the Mansion House. The tree was in a state of decay and supposed to have exceeded 90 years growth.’ It is unclear whether these statements refer to the same tree, but the felled elm might have been in existence prior to Robert Fairfax’s construction of the new house.

19th Century

Thomas Loddington Fairfax modified Newton Kyme Hall during his ownership. In particular, he added a new front ‘embellished with a colonnade of the Corinthian order(Lewis, 410). Around this time the house was also extended with east and west wings running to the north.

Several maps exist for the period 1813-1847 and show the change in the designed landscape during this time. The 1stedition OS map (surveyed in 1846-7) shows the development by 1849. This can be compared with a map of 1813 made by John Humphries of Ripon, a plan of Newton Kyme of 1842 (both WYAS WYL 466/36) and the tithe map of 1846 (IR 29 43 301). Main changes were modification of pleasure garden and extension of ha-ha; construction of coach house and groom’s house; reduction in use of the upper pond. It is likely that Thomas Fairfax instigated these changes after inheriting from his father in 1841.

By 1813 a 1 metre high ha-ha of magnesian limestone had been constructed to the south of the hall (NHLE 1132466), separating the immediate garden and church from the parkland. In 1813 the pleasure gardens included the remains of Kyme Castle and a small building to the east. Between 1813 and 1846 the pleasure gardens were extended to the river, with a ha-ha curving between the garden to the north east of the church and parkland. In 1846 the pleasure garden to the east of the hall is shown as divided into two: immediately to the east of the hall up to the remains of Kymecastle “pleasure garden and coach road”, c.1.8 acres; to the east of Kyme castle on the terrace above the woodland walk “flower garden, greenhouse etc.”, c.0.8 acre.

The garden ponds, which Robert Fairfax described in the late 18th century, are both shown clearly on the 1813 map as large rectangular ponds, with enclosing boundaries. In 1813 the lime avenue was not shown as existing between the upper pond and the ha-ha. By 1842, the upper pond had disappearedand the lime avenue had been extended to near the ha-ha. The lower pond in its enclosed garden is depicted on maps until 1849, although it is not shown in 1893. Entries in Robert Fairfax’s memorandum book suggest considerable planting took place in this ‘low garden’ and the 1849 OS map shows a formal garden surrounding the pond.

The coach house to the north rear of the house is not shown on the 1813 and 1842 maps, but is present on the 1846 tithe map and 1849 OS map. This suggests that orchard existed to the north of the house up to the mid-1840s.

Thomas was accused later in 1872 of incorporating church land into the garden prior to Tithe Map and OS map construction. Speight (372-3) found in the parish papers a document signed by John Chaloner rector of Newton Kymewhich indicated:

‘This is to certify that during the incumbency of the Rev. Edward Duncombe, Thomas Fairfax Esq., did alter the churchyard wall on the north side of the Parish Church of Newton Kyme, and did take into his pleasure gardens about 200 square yards of consecrated ground and that the boundary stones to the said ground were in existence on 25thJune 1872, and finding upon looking at the Tithe Map that there is an error in said map….

This claim is certainly feasible as there are large, old yew trees on the Hall side of the churchyard wall, rather than in the churchyard itself.

The series of OS maps shows some continuity in landscape features of the garden from 1846-7, through 1891, to 1909. One major change seems to be the disuse of the low garden pond and associated enclosed garden as shown on the 1849OS map.

20th Century

After the long period of ownership by the Fairfax family, there was expansion of the parkland between 1890 and 1906 during the period of occupancy of Miss Maria Bethell. Parkland was extended into the floodplain to the north and to the railway line in the south.

Also between 1890 and 1906, some of the parkland was added to the garden as a roughly rectangular piece of land to the eastof the ha-ha, east of the church. A tennis court, no longer in existence, was constructed at some point, in the northeasterncorner of this plot. In the 1920s a large rockery was constructed to the immediate east of part of the ha-ha to complement the ha-ha and make an interesting rockery with sunken garden. It is possible that this rockery was constructed by Backhouses of York.

One constant in the landscape since 1712 has been the avenue of lime trees running north-south from the Tadcaster road. A photograph taken in 2001 shows the stumps of the original lime trees with a wider avenue replanted in the late 20th century (THS 05-X-01). Depressions can be spotted where these stumps have since rotted. The orginal lime trees, excepting one close to the hall, were cut down in the 1990s in order to allow the new avenue to flourish.

Newton Kyme Village, including the Hall and pleasure gardens, was designated a conservation area by Selby District Council in 1985. The parkland does not form part of the designated conservation area.

Detailed History contributed by Mary Ratcliffe [August 2018] YORKSHIRE GARDENS TRUST Selby District Historic Designed Landscapes Project

Features & Designations


  • Reference: Not on the Historic England Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special Historic Interest in England


  • Garden Building
  • Description: Medieval church.
  • Garden Building
  • Description: The ruins of Newton-Kyme Castle.
  • Ha-ha
  • Description: 18th century stone ha-ha.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: Formal terraces
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Civil Parish

Newton Kyme cum




  • Report by Mary Ratcliffe, Yorkshire Gardens Trust [August 2018]