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Tockington Manor, Olveston (also known as Tockington Manor School)


Tockington Manor is a garden on an earlier site. There is a 19th-century arboretum with rare specimens which is currently undergoing restoration and replanting. This record was checked with South Gloucestershire Historic Monument records Officer - 2010.

At the front of the house there is a formal pond. This is in front of the ha-ha which divides the garden from the road. Beyond this are the playing fields, which have some mature trees. The house overlooks the surrounding countryside, which was originally part of the manor estate. To the west side of the house there is a large walled kitchen garden. This stands beyond a sloping lawned area. On the hill behind the house there is a large arboretum, which is divided from the garden by a ha-ha.

The garden is now mainly grass with a few flower beds. It is well-maintained, with a head gardener being responsible for its supervision. The trees in the arboretum were catalogued by Alan Mitchell in the 1980s. He also provided assistance with re-planting.

The building is now a school.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


Tockington Manor School

Washingpool Hill Road, BS32 4NY

William Fitz Osburn, Earl of Hereford, is the first recorded owner of Tockington Manor. It became crown property after he was killed in battle in 1070, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

The manor was then owned by the Poyntz family until Lord Thomas (III) Berleley and his wife Katerine bought it in 1355. Before 1582 it was back with the Poyntz family.

In 1609, John Poyntz sold the manor to pay off his debts. In 1647 it was held by Richard Yonnge. John Crawford, alderman of Bristol, then became owner of the manor. Through his daughter's marriage it went to Sir John Dimeley Goodere. He was murdered by his younger brother in order to obtain the property, and his brother was hanged for the crime on top of St. Michael's Hill in Bristol.

From 1712 the property was owned by Henry Whitehead. In 1745 the manor belonged to William Rayner, and it then passed into the hands of the Reverend Staunton Degge, who paid £13, 145 for it. His sister, Dorothy Wilmot, succeeded, and it passed to her son Edward Sacheveral Sitwell.

Edward Protheroe, of Over Court, bought the property in 1807, and sold it in 1849 to Colmet Henry Wilmot Charleton, vicar of Elberton. In 1836 the commons and waste lands of Tockington and Alverston were enclosed and became part of the manor. This may have been the time when the arboretum was planted and alterations were made in the gardens. In 1872, Colmel Thomas Salmon bought the property but did not live there. It was voluntarily converted into a hospital for the sick and wounded during World War 1.

A sales description of the estate, probably drawn up in the 19th century, notes the following features: a rosary, a rookery, brewhouses, a rustic summerhouse, a well-designed shrubbery and walks, store and farm houses, dairy, orchard, and a ‘walled fruit and very early vegetable garden unsurpassed in the country for productiveness'.

Lord Cardigan lived there at one stage, and the R.A.F. used it during World War 2. The present owner's father bought the manor house and the fields behind and in front of it in 1946 to set up a private school, and Richard Tovey now owns it and is headmaster of the school. A bungalow was built in the grounds for him in 1969. A wooden conservatory which was attached to the greenhouses north of the kitchen garden has now been converted to a bird-watching a conservation area for the school.

The steps up to the present site of the bungalow are a late addition, possibly dating to the 19th century.

Features & Designations


  • Conservation Area

  • Reference: Tockington
  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Tockington Manor
  • Grade: II


  • Manor House (featured building)
  • Description: The manor dates from the 16th century, when it was a farmhouse. The original L-shape was enclosed in the 18th century to form a central hall, under which the well still stands. The house is faced with stone and brick with a slate roof and gable stacks.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: The arboretum is currently being restored. It is one of the largest privately owned arboretums in the country. It contains many varieties of oak. There is also a rare Golden Atlas cedar, of which there are only 6 in this country. The arboretum may be around 120 years old, but there is a holm oak and copper beech which are much older.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • House (featured building)
  • Now School
  • Description: The manor dates from the 16th century, when it was a farmhouse. The original L-shape was enclosed in the 18th century to form a central hall, under which the well still stands. The house is faced with stone and brick with a slate roof and gable stacks.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Icehouse
  • Description: The icehouse is now derelict, and was one of a pair, the other being on adjoining land. A tunnel leading to the road may have connected to the other icehouse.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: Walled kitchen garden. The kitchen garden was in full use, providing fruit and vegetables for the school until the 1980s. Fruit trees still grow around the walls, including figs, pears, plums, apples, apricots, peaches and damsons. A vinery wall stands at the higher end of the slope, and the vines still produce fruit. The original greenhouses were north of the kitchen garden. This area is now a bird-watching and conservation area in the new planting. A pond has been filled in to make room for a football pitch.
  • Pond
  • Description: Boating pond, now a formal lily pond.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Ha-ha
  • Description: There are two ha-has. There is an extensive ha-ha giving an uninterrupted view of the arboretum at the back of the house. There is another at the front disguising the road.
  • Steps
  • Urn
Key Information





Principal Building




Open to the public


Civil Parish




  • Robinson, William James {West Country Manors} (Bristol: St. Stephen's Press, 1930) West Country Manors


  • Avon Gardens Trust