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Ramshaw Hall Garden

Introduction

Ramshaw Hall Garden is a formal garden comprising terraces and retaining walls, of later-17th-century date. Features include stone boundary walls, a dovecote and a number of earthwork remains.

Terrain

The site slopes gently to the south.

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):

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Ramshaw Hall is situated at the north-east corner of the small hamlet of Ramshaw with a south-easterly aspect, on land which slopes gently to the south. The setting is rural and agricultural. The boundary of the 0.25 ha site is formed by stone walls and the south elevation of the hall on the north and by stone walls on all other sides.

Entrances and Approaches

A C20 drive approaches Ramshaw Hall from the north. but the main entrance to the gardens is via a sandstone ashlar pedestrian entrance set within a low stone wall with late C17 moulded copings (Grade II) The entrance has square corniced gate piers surmounted by ball finials.

Principal Building

Ramshaw Hall (Grade II*) is a later C17 building, possibly incorporating the core of an earlier building known to have been in existence in 1577. It has an L-shaped plan comprising a main, south, front range and a rear service wing. It has six bays with an entrance in the wider third bay.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

The gardens occupy a linear compartment (80 m long and 30 m wide) to the south, south-west and south-east sides of the hall. Immediately south of the hall there is an upper terrace divided in half by a low wall incorporating gate piers (Grade II); east of this wall, the terrace is lawned and west of the wall it is paved with stone flags and occupied by raised beds, all of C20 date. The upper terrace is flanked on the west side by a stone wall incorporating architectural fragments of the earlier hall; beyond this wall to the west the original terrace edge is visible as a prominent linear earthwork scarp. It is flanked on the east side by a low wall incorporating gate piers (Grade II), and is defined on the south side by a stone wall revetment with moulded coping stones probably re-used from the earlier house (one with a carving of a bird). A centrally placed (rebuilt) flight of stone steps leads down to the lower terrace. Dressed edging stones outline a narrow border either side of the stone steps on the lower terrace and there are traces of some earlier path detail, but most of this terrace is occupied by a formal garden comprising C20 parterres and paths.

The western extent of this terrace is defined by an earthwork scarp with an outer stone wall incorporating gate piers and finials of an early date, which may be re-used masonry from the original house; beyond this the wall has been removed but its line is visible as low foundations. A compartment to the west of these terraces, contains the earthwork remains of an upper and lower terrace separated by a scarp, occupied by a planted hedge. The upper terrace is part occupied by a C20 parterre and a path, the latter on the site of a line of trees marking a boundary on the 1857 Ordnance Survey map. The lower terrace comprises a lawn with a former dovecote (Grade II) occupying its south-east corner, and this building is cut into the scarp defining its eastern side. The lower western terrace is also bounded on the south by a line of trees within a dry stone wall revetment.

Reasons for Designation

This later C17 multi-terraced formal garden surviving as earthworks and buried archaeology with a C20 planting scheme, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

  • Rarity: this is a relatively rare survival of a pre-1700 formal garden;
  • Group Value: it has very strong group value with Grade II listed garden features and the Grade II* listed Ramshaw Hall;
  • Aesthetic: taken together with the hall, with which it is inextricably linked, they represent a significant aspect of the architectural, artistic and constructional skills and tastes of the period;
  • Social: it is a good example of the small-scale formal gardens constructed at this time by the county gentry rather than Royalty or the Aristocracy;
  • Association: the first phase of the garden has historical association with Anthony Pearson, George Fox and James Naylor, leading figures in the C17 Quaker movement.
Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts
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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

16th - 17th Century

The history of the gardens at Ramshaw Hall are inextricably linked to the history of the hall itself, which documentary and architectural evidence shows has two major phases. Records confirm its existence in 1577 when it was occupied by George Dixon, whose will in 1631 indicates that it comprised three storeys. The house was acquired by Anthony Pearson in c.1650, as part of a land deal involving the powerful republican politician Sir Arthur Hesilrige to whom he was secretary and manager of his estates. At Pearson's death in 1665, inventories record that it retained its three storey form.

In 1688, the will of Andrew Pearson's son, Thomas describes a house of two storeys, with room layouts and descriptions which fit with the present building. Therefore, the house had clearly been remodelled and re-fronted between 1665 and 1688.

It is considered that the structural layout of the associated terraced gardens also dates to this time. Investigation of the upper terrace, which abuts the house, reportedly revealed it to be constructed of demolition material from the C16 house. Also reportedly discovered was the lower part of a substantial door frame in the west terrace retaining wall c. four feet below the present level of the terrace; this is interpreted as a surviving remnant of an earlier garden associated with the original house, incorporated into the later C17 gardens as a retaining wall for the new terrace. It is possible that similar earlier remains survive beneath the present gardens.

18th Century

In 1724, the hall and its grounds were offered for rent and there is little evidence of alterations to either from the mid C18 onwards. In the late C18 and early C19 the Humphrey family was resident at Ramshaw Hall, and later C19 and early C20 centuries record a series of several families which might imply that they were tenants.

20th Century

By 1960, the hall and, presumably, its gardens were derelict, since when, they have both been partially restored and the gardens replanted.

The architect of Ramshaw Hall is unknown, but it has been suggested that it could have been John Longstaff, also a Quaker and known to both Sir Arthur Hesilrige and Anthony Pearson. Anthony Pearson (bap 1627 d 1666) and owner of the site in the mid C17, was a leading figure and administrator in the Quaker movement supported by his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. George Fox and James Naylor (also entered in the ODNB) were regular visitors to his home and Fox records an important meeting in an orchard at Ramshaw where many people were converted. The site of the orchard is uncertain.

Features & Designations

Designations

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

  • Reference: 1404998
  • Grade: II

Style

Formal

Features

  • Boundary Wall
  • Description: Stone walls surround the site.
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house has six bays with an entrance in the wider third bay. It may contain elements of an earlier building dating from before 1577.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Drive
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Entrance
  • Description: The main entrance to the gardens is via a sandstone ashlar pedestrian entrance.
  • Garden Wall
  • Description: A low stone wall with late-17th century moulded copings.
  • Gate Piers
  • Description: Square corniced gate piers surmounted by ball finials.
  • Terrace
  • Description: Upper terrace divided in half by a low wall.
  • Gate Piers
  • Earthwork
  • Description: The original terrace edge is visible as a prominent linear earthwork scarp.
  • Steps
  • Description: A centrally placed (rebuilt) flight of stone steps leads down to the lower terrace.
  • Terrace
  • Description: Most of thie lower terrace is occupied by a formal garden comprising 20th-century parterres and paths.
  • Earthwork
  • Description: The earthwork remains of an upper and lower terrace separated by a scarp, occupied by a planted hedge.
  • Dovecote
Key Information

Type

Garden

Purpose

Ornamental

Principal Building

Domestic / Residential

Survival

Extant

Hectares

0.25

Civil Parish

Evenwood and

References