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Stonewall Park 3134

Brief Description

Stonewall Park comprises valley gardens of an unknown size planted as pleasure grounds and associated with the 18th-century country house. The gardens are set in a wider landscape of 68 hectares of parkland.

History

Peter Woodgate built the earlier Stonewall from the late-16th century. The present Stonewall Park dates from the early-19th century when John Woodgate built a large red-brick house on a new site. During the 1840s the pleasure grounds to the north of the house were completed.

Terrain

The house occupies a site towards the western edge of the park, the land falling away into the valley to the north.

Detailed Description

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):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

Valley gardens planted as pleasure grounds in the 1840s, accompanying a country house set in early 19th-century parkland.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Stonewall Park is located c 10km to the west of Tonbridge, in a rural part of Kent. The c 68ha site is bounded to the west by the village of Chiddingstone Hoath, to the north and south-west by farmland, to the south by Grove Road, and to the east by woodland. The south-west part of the park is divided by the public road which leads into Chiddingstone Hoath. The house occupies a site towards the western edge of the park, the land falling away into the valley to the north.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The mansion is approached either along a short drive from the lodge c 250m to the west of the house, on the public road to Chiddingstone Hoath, or via the drive which runs from South Lodge, located c 500m south-east of the house. From this lodge the drive runs north-west following the edge of the plateau on which the house stands, from which, due to the abrupt fall of the land, there are fine views out to the north. Both the south and west drives lead to a sunken turning circle below the north-west front.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

Stonewall Park is a large, two-storey country mansion built of red brick in the Georgian style. The main entrance front faces north-west and has an iron Camellia House attached to it. The house was constructed at the beginning of the C19 by John Woodgate to replace an earlier building which stood c 150m to the south-west, where the road to Chiddingstone Hoath now runs.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The west lodge marks the head of a deep valley to the north of the house. The valley is planted as pleasure grounds with ornamental shrubs under the oak and beech canopy of Stonewall Wood and dates from the 1840s. At its western end, along the cliff-like south bank, are outcrops of greensand rock. A stream runs through the bottom in a series of small falls and pools, widening at a point c 150m north of the house to form a larger pond. The woodland garden is planted with a variety of flowering shrubs including rhododendrons and azaleas.

PARK

The level parkland, divided by a herringbone-brick ha-ha, stretches southwards to the public road. It dates from the early C19, the OS surveyor's drawings of 1799 showing that at that time the present park was divided up into fields. Although not visually linked to the rest, the park includes an area on the west side of the road south of Hoath. A gap between the trees to the east of the house gives a narrow view of Penshurst.

KITCHEN GARDEN

The early C19 brick-walled kitchen garden and coach house stand c 50m to the west of the house. The kitchen garden has been laid out as a flower garden, with herbaceous borders and lawn. The main grass path is lined with espaliered fruit trees and runs to a picturesque timber-framed cottage beside which strands an ancient oak pollard.

REFERENCES

Inspector's Report: Stonewall Park, (English Heritage 1988)

Maps

OS Surveyor's draft drawings, 1799 (British Library Maps)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1872; 2nd edition 1898; 3rd edition 1910

Description rewritten: April 2001

Edited: November 2003

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: A large red-brick house.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Penshurst
History

Detailed 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 The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The Woodgate family owned land in Chiddingstone and Penshurst, including the family seat at Stonewall, from the late 16th century when that house was built by Peter Woodgate. The present Stonewall Park dates from the early 19th century when John Woodgate built a large red-brick house on a new site, to replace the old family home which had been inhabited by successive generations of the Woodgate family. A small part of the old house was preserved and incorporated in the tile-hung cottage south of the kitchen garden, which was used as the main entrance lodge to the Georgian house. At the same time John Woodgate began to lay out the park but in 1817, following his involvement in the failure of Tonbridge Bank, he was forced to sell Stonewall Park. During the 1840s the pleasure grounds to the north of the house were completed. The property passed through several hands before being divided up and sold during the 20th century. The site remains (2001) in divided private ownership.

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References

References