Wandlebury, Stapleford 5627

Stapleford, England, Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire

Brief Description

Features included lawns, hedges, a kitchen garden, garden walls, a well and rose gardens.

History

Wandlebury house and gardens were created in the mid-18th century.

Detailed Description

In the mid-18th century Lord Godolphin landscaped the grounds within a high wall establishing a circular drive amongst newly planted trees, with a kitchen garden and orchard to the west. By 1800, after some years of neglect, the estate was being cared for again. More trees were planted, and a large forcing machine worked by horses raised water from the well, 210 feet deep. This well supplied water for domestic use and also fed a fish pond near the centre of the Ring.

The Godolphins, now Duke and Duchess of Leeds, left Wandlebury in 1893 and the sale particulars record the grounds with shady lawns, box hedges, rose arches, a sculptured stone pump and a grand old yew hedge. There were rose gardens with an old mulberry tree in the centre, and a sundial on a stone pedestal. Two entrance lodges, Keeper's Lodge, Gardener's Cottage, kennels, stabling and a fitted fruit store are also listed.

Only the circular entrance-lodges and stable block remain and within the archway is the grave of the Duke's horse, The Godolphin Arab, which died in 1753, aged 29. Traces of the garden layout can be seen from the terrace lawn on which stands the sundial with its engraving of a dolphin and a ducal crown.

Features
  • Lawn
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  • Kitchen Garden
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  • Garden Terrace
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  • Rose Garden
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  • Garden Wall
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  • Well Head
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  • Sundial
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  • Stable Block
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  • Gate Lodge
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  • Kennels
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  • Mansion House (featured building)
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  • Hedge
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  • Orchard
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  • Drive
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  • Fishpond
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Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Stapleford
History

Detailed History

Wandlebury is the best preserved Iron Age defensive work in Cambridgeshire. The raised bank encloses an area 900 feet in diameter. It remained relatively untouched until the middle of the 18th century, when Lord Godolphin built a stable block and handsome Racing Lodge in the south-west part of the enclosure.

The Estate was bought in 1904 by Mr and Mrs H.W.S. Gray, who carried out improvements to the gardens. In the summer of 1933, 18,000 people assembled on July 26th to enjoy ten hours of fun at a fantastic fete at Wandlebury. An aerial photograph of 1949 shows the house and layout of the garden prior to the death of Lady Gray. Their son Terence Gray presented the house and garden, within the Ring to the Cambridge Preservation Society in 1954, who then purchased the remaining 38.4 hectares of the estate.

The Society noted that the expenditure to restore the house would be excessive and reluctantly decided upon demolition. The felling of the mulberry tree aroused local passionate protest. Today the mansion has disappeared and the central garden is more like a park which is often grazed by sheep.

References

Contributors

  • Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust