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Riseholme Hall


Riseholme Hall has a landscape park laid out during the 18th century. The park forms the site of the Agricultural College of the University of Lincoln.


Generally level.
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):

A mid-18th-century park, with mid-19th-century modifications, surrounding a house of mid-18th-century origin, remodelled by William Railton in the 1840s and now the University of Lincoln Agricultural College.



Riseholme Hall lies just beyond the northern edge of the city of Lincoln, on the east side of the A15. It occupies a rural location to the north-east of Riseholme village, with Riseholme Lane running from west to east through the southern part of the park. The generally level c 40ha site is bounded on all sides by farmland or woodland, with long views south from the Hall across the lake and park towards Lincoln.


The principal approach to the Hall is from the A15 to the north-west. A late C20 drive runs east, crosses farmland and then runs south to enter the registered area c 300m north-west of the Hall. It passes through modern campus buildings before turning east to cross the lake and arrive at the north front of the Hall. The drive continues east to pass the stable block and then turns south to join Riseholme Lane c 300m to the south-east of the Hall. Historically the principal entrance lay c 500m to the south-west of the Hall, where in 1779 (Armstrong) a lodge was located on the A15. In the mid C19 the lodge was moved to a point c 450m south-west of the Hall where Riseholme Lane enters the park and a drive, now a track for the agricultural unit, runs north from here to the bridge over the lake. During the C19 a further drive (no longer surviving in 2001) entered the park on the northern boundary and ran south through the park to arrive at the stables and the north front (Sale map, 1839).


Riseholme Hall (listed grade II) is a former country house, now the headquarters of the University of Lincoln agricultural department. It is built in the Classical style, of ashlar and render under hipped slate roofs and has a two-storey, seven-bay main block facing north. The garden front to the south has a Tuscan colonnade, bowed in the centre. The small house which existed in the mid C18 was given its present classical remodelling by William Railton in the 1840s.

Railton was also responsible for remodelling the C18 stable block (listed grade II) which stands c 70m to the east of the Hall. Ranged around three sides of the courtyard, with an opening to the west, the stables are constructed of squared limestone rubble with ashlar dressings, the main block on the east range being of two storeys, crowned with a square clock tower. Some 80m to the east of the stables stands the parish church of St Mary (listed grade II*), also of limestone rubble with ashlar dressings. The church, designed by S S Teulon, faces south towards the walled garden and was founded in 1850 by Bishop Kaye.

To the north and north-east of the Hall there are several mid and late C20 college buildings.


The garden lies to the west and south of the Hall and comprises sweeping lawns, planted with a variety of specimen trees, running down to the east and north banks of the lake. The main body of the C18 lake lies to the south of the Hall, with a long spur running north-west, spanned by the drive. Its western bank is densely planted with mature trees, forming a screen between the garden lawns and the west park. Beyond the drive to the north the banks are enclosed by woodland. From the south-east corner of the Hall a mature beech grove, interplanted with C20 additions, runs down the east side of the south lawn and continues along the eastern end of the lake, where mature yews line the path. This feature is shown on the OS map of 1824 and the sale map of 1839 shows the grove cut through with serpentine paths. The size of the trees suggests that this area is of C18 origin.


The main areas of open parkland lie to the north-east, south, and south-west. To the north of the Hall, several mid and late C20 college buildings are backed by North Wood, which covers the north-west corner of the site and is shown in this position on the 1839 sale map. To the north-east, beyond more C20 college buildings, the North Park, known in the mid C19 as Park Road but reduced in size by 1907, is partly covered in woodland and partly by an open area laid out as a golf course with associated late C20 tree planting.

The majority of open park lies to the south of the Hall. In the south-east corner are open fields, known as Dove Cote Close, which are fenced for grazing deer. These are divided from the North Park and late C20 horticultural unit by trees on the site of the C19 hop yard, and from the South Park by a belt of beech woodland. From the south bank of the lake the south park rises very gently and is retained under pasture within which lie the visible earthwork remains of the former village (scheduled ancient monument), which had been removed by 1779 (Armstrong). The park is scattered with mature trees, including an avenue of oaks which is aligned on the south front and runs from the bank of the lake to the south boundary. This area was shown in 1779 to have a formal layout of trees, although the formality was removed during the C19. By the end of the C19 (OS 1907) however the south avenue had been replanted on its present line.

The south-west corner of the park, in the C19 called Great Fishpond Close (Sale map, 1839), contains a range of C20 farm buildings while the west park retains some mature trees but is mainly divided by fences into fields. It is this western boundary which map evidence suggests was altered slightly in the mid C19, as the park changed shape. By 1907 it had been altered again, with the south park having been extended while the northern boundary was moved closer to the Hall.


The walled kitchen garden, which was built to accompany the mid C18 house, lies c 150m to the south-east of the Hall. It now (2001) contains a range of college buildings and maintenance workshops, although the gardener's cottage survives on the north-west corner. On the outside of the south wall is a long herbaceous border beside a grass path which runs to an arched brick gateway at the eastern end.


Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire (1900)

H Thorold and J Yates, Lincolnshire A Shell Guide (1965), p 114

N Pevsner et al, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (1989), p 613

H Thorold, Lincolnshire Houses (1999), p 79


Capt A Armstrong, Map of the County of Lincolnshire, 1779 (Lincolnshire Archives)

Map accompanying sale particulars, 1839 (2CC 58/597), (Lincolnshire Archives)

OS 1" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1824

OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1907

OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1906/07

Description written: July 2001

Edited: June 2002

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

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):


The Riseholme estate was purchased in 1721 by the Chaplin family, who in the middle of the 18th century built the present Riseholme Hall. By 1779 Armstrong's map of the county, although small in scale, shows the lake already in place, with parkland and woodland to the north and a formal arrangement of tree planting to the south-west. By the early 19th century this formality had been removed in the south park (Sale map, 1839). In 1840 the estate was sold to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to become the Palace for the Bishop of Lincoln. They commissioned William Railton, the architect of Nelson's Column, London, to remodel the Hall for John Kaye, the first Bishop to live there. The stables were also altered and the park boundary slightly altered (OS 1907) and in 1850 Bishop Kaye commissioned the architect S S Teulon (1812-73) to build a new church beside the Hall. In 1887 however Bishop Edward King moved to the Old Palace in Lincoln and the Riseholme estate was sold. In 1890 it passed to Captain Thomas Wilson whose son sold the estate to the County Council in 1945. Initially the property was used for training ex-servicemen and was run by the County War Agricultural Executive Committee. In 1949 the Ministry returned the estate to the County Council and the Lindsey Farm Institute was opened. New buildings have been added to the site since the 1960s, and in 1994 it became part of De Monfort University, now the University of Lincoln. The site remains (2001) in use as the agricultural and horticultural unit.

Associated People
Features & Designations


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

  • Reference: GD1987
  • Grade: II


  • Lake
  • University Campus (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building






Open to the public


Civil Parish