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Oteley features a large landscape park and 10 acres of Italianate gardens.

The gardens at Oteley were apparently completed by 1851, when they were reckoned 'one of the finest terraces in the county,' and featured four terraces which dropped from the west front of the house down to the Mere. The terraces were constructed in Grinshill stone, and had a central axis which descended to an elevated platform (with boathouse beneath), which projected into the Mere. The terrace paths (and some details elsewhere) were constructed with with black and white pebbles , laid in patterns like Italian guilloche ornament. The terraces were also elaborated with huge ornamental vases filled with scarlet geraniums.

Other features lay

between the house, lawns, terraces, and the walled kitchen garden to the

north. By 1851 there was a Swiss

cottage (which was semi-derelict in 1993), rustic bridges, and a bog garden of large

stones. This area of the gardens was

planted up with shrubs and specimen trees including cyprus and arbavitus. In 1855 a

campanile tower was added.

In 1891 the kitchen gardens included greenhouses growing vines and ferns. Attached to the house was a large

conservatory with a 'ridge and furrow roof,' which is described in a very full account of the gardens in Gardener's Chronicle in 1833.


Oteley, half a mile east of Ellesmere, may have first been imparked in the 14th century, and a park is recorded there on all the 16th- and 17th-century county maps. The house at Oteley lies within the park and overlooks the Mere. The present house, a modest brick structure, was built in 1960 following the demolition of its predecessor, a neo-Elizabethan stone mansion of 1826-30, with additions of 1842. That house was built for Charles Kynaston Mainwaring, who is said to have himself designed the magnificent gardens which accompanied the house, inspired by the Italian gardens he saw on a continental tour. However, their scale and complexity makes it likely that professional assistance was provided by W.S. Gilpin, who wrote favourably of Oteley's grounds in 1835. The formal gardens were completed by 1851.

Before work began on the house, improvements had apparently begun to be made the to surrounding park, notably by the creation of a new principal approach from the south. That was in place by 1827, although a lodge was not built until 1836. At about the same time the park was extended somewhat to the north, to encompass around 135 acres. In 1900 the park had about 80 fallow deer and 20 red deer, the latter which were introduced in 1875.

In the mid 20th century

the gardens became overgrown, and in 1960 the uppermost terrace was bulldozed

in. Nevertheless, in 1993 the main

elements of the terraces still survived in good condition, and they remain among the

most spectacular gardens in the county.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Associated People
Features & Designations


Italianate Garden


  • Country House (featured building)
  • Description: Oteley was a neo-Elizabethan stone mansion, built for Charles Kynaston Mainwaring. It features straight gables and an archway as part of the north front, and lay overlooking the Mere. It was demolished around 1960.
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  • Terrace
  • Description: There is a series of four terraces at Oteley, which extend from the west front of the house to the Mere.
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  • Approach
  • Description: An approach from the south was created to lead to the new hall.
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: An entrance lodge was constructed on the new approach by 1836. The lodge was semi-derelict in 1993.
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  • Swiss Cottage
  • Description: By 1851 there was a Swiss cottage, which in 1891 stood in a 'bog garden' laid out with large stones.
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  • Tower
  • Description: A Italian-style campanile tower was added to the gardens in 1855.
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  • Conservatory
  • Description: A large conservatory, featuring a 'ridge and furrow roof' was attached to the side of the house.
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Key Information



Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Victorian (1837-1901)


Part: standing remains



Open to the public


Civil Parish

Ellesmere Rural