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Shockerwick House


Shockerwick House has an 18th-century park, attributed to Wood the Elder for William Wiltshire.

In 1983 it was opened as a private nursing home.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Shockerwick House is a large Georgian country house. The entrance to it is to the north. The garden slopes down from the north and looks out over the valley below. The boundaries of the garden to the north, south and east follow the course of the ha-ha. The orangery, croquet lawn and swimming pool are found at the end of the terrace to the east.

A smooth lawn slopes down from the terrace to the southern boundary. The ground rises steeply to the north, where there is some planting of trees around the fountain.

Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden and the greenhouse lie to the west of the house.

The site is neatly maintained and mainly in good condition. Lack of sufficient gardening staff means that there is little planting, most of the garden being down to grass.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

17th century

Shockerwick was originally the site of a Court which tried local offences. It was presided over in the reign of Henry II by one Adam of Shockerwicke. In the 17th century it became the property of the Husseys and was called Hussey's Court.

18th century

In 1740 the estate and ruined manor house were bought by the Wiltshire family.In about 1750 Walter Wiltshire commissioned Wood the Elder to build a house and lay out the grounds. Walter Wiltshire (1719-1799) was the founder of a business carrying goods by wagon between London and Bath. He was influential in establishing Bath as a flourishing and fashionable city. He was a good friend of Gainsborough, who often painted in his orangery. From 1761 to 1774 Wiltshire carried Gainsborough's paintings to London.

19th century

Whilst staying at Shockerwick in 1805, William Pitt received the news of Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz. When the Princess Victoria visited Bath to open the Royal Victoria Park in 1830 she viewed the valuable collection of paintings at Shockerwick, some of them by Gainsborough.

Some time after 1883 the estate was bought by Charles Morley, MP for Brecon. It then stayed in the Morley family (successful hosiery manufacturers) until 1955.

In 1899 the ‘Bath Argos' described the gardens as ‘models of neatness and order, and the ancient and historic portion, with the romantic walks and beautiful classical fountain, entirely restored. Near here is the well and the summer-house, now an orangery, to which Gainsborough used to retire to sketch and where he spent many of his happiest hours. The drive from the London Road through the well-timbered park is even and well-kept, and the trees are some of the choicest and most scarce in the Kingdom. Near the stables are some fine Turkey Oaks, and in front of the house a very uncommon and handsome tree known as the hawthorn-leaved alder.'

20th century

At the turn of the century extensive alterations to the house were carried out by Ernest George. The Duke and Duchess of Newcastle bought the estate in 1961. In 1970 it was sold to Wills Tobacco, who converted it into a training centre.

In 1983 it changed hands again and was opened as a private nursing home.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Shockerwick House
  • Grade: I


  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Shockerwick House was built around 1750 by John Wood the Elder of Bath. In 1896 it was altered and added to by E. George and A.B. Yeates.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Orangery
  • Description: The orangery lies 23 metres to the east of the house. Gainsborough often worked there.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: This feature relates to the old kitchen garden. It is a large irregular pentagon shaped walled garden. It slopes down from the west and east towards a central axis running north to south. It is now divided in two by a beech hedge running along this central line. Only the eastern half is part of the Shockerwick estate. The west side is now part of Shockerwick farm. The original terraces were recently bulldozed away. It is now all grassed over.
  • Greenhouse
  • Description: There are greenhouses, outhouses, potting sheds and cold frames, now disused and in need of repair.
  • Ha-ha
  • Description: The ha-ha to the north and south of the house marks the present boundary of the park.
  • Terrace
  • Description: There is a paved and lawn terrace to the south of the house.
  • Croquet Lawn
  • Description: There is a croquet lawn bounded by a stone wall on the north side.
  • Fountain
  • Description: There is a fountain to the north-east of the house, not in working order.
  • Pool
  • Description: There is a disused swimming pool.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Open to the public


Civil Parish





  • Avon Gardens Trust

  • Myna Trustram