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Whitbourne Hall


Whitbourne Hall is a country house with parkland reached by a lengthy drive up a valley and past a lake, with a walled kitchen garden of about 1860. There is a formal garden next to the house. The conservatory is now a shell.

Redwoods and Rhododendrons

A folio of original plans for the gardens is still held in the house, but it is difficult to know how much of the plan was executed. Certainly a Redwood walk was planted, and an arboretum, both of which are still in existence. The Redwoods are now fine specimens, as are a second set planted to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. Despite the alkaline soil a fine collection of Rhododendrons was planted on a steep bank parallel with the Redwood walk, and many of these still survive, much overgrown, but providing a colourful view from the Broad Walk above.

The Palm House

About 1875 a splendid Palm House was added to Whitbourne Hall, necessitating the building of more rooms behind the original staircase. These supported a huge Braithwaite tank in which rain water from the roof was collected to supply the needs of the heating system for the glasshouses. Heat for this huge structure was provided by a large boiler under the gardeners' cottage, disguised by the new orangery. Few photographs remain which give an idea of the original structure of the roof, which appears to have been curved, finishing in a half dome over the massive bay front.

There are views of the inside showing palm trees and luxurious planting, as well as some detail of the paths with grids set in. During some of the conversion work some of the massive steam pipes underlying the paths were uncovered and removed.

The glass was removed just before World War 2, leaving the stonework and iron window frames which give the view of the hall from the Terrace its unique character. The area inside is now a quiet garden.

A grant from English Heritage recently enabled the stabilising of the stonework which had begun to crumble. One condition of the grant is that the hall and grounds open to the public on a minimum of 10 days in the year.

The Terrace and Italian Garden

The south-facing terrace beside the house overlooks the Italian garden, with yew hedges carefully clipped into a pattern of low hedges enclosing flowerbeds. Old photographs show the extensive planting that must have made these a riot of summer colour. Inside the blocks at the corners of the sectors are stone blocks, which once supported the urns or pots used to lift the blooms up above the yew. The photograph with the lady in it shows this feature clearly, and gives an indication of the height of the hedges.

The hedges remain and are cut annually, retaining the lower hedges at about 2 feet in height. For some years efforts were made to maintain the grass paths and rose beds planted between the wars when labour became less available. Eventually the old rose bushes and standard Hydrangea paniculata in the roundels died back too far, and the garden needed replanting.

In order to minimise the labour required maintaining the garden the flowerbeds have been removed and the areas between the yews gravelled. A pool with a simple fountain has replaced the central bed.

The Kitchen Garden

As with every house of any size there is a walled kitchen garden, unusually with the ‘back sheds' inside the wall. The west wall retains short glass canopies indicating that it was constructed as a fruit wall. A range of Foster and Pearson greenhouses was constructed along the outer sides of the south and part of the west walls. These are now undergoing a rolling programme of restoration, keeping some glasshouses under cultivation as others are repaired and re-glazed.

The kitchen garden has been in production continuously since the 1860s. It is now worked by residents of the apartments on an allotment system, using organic gardening techniques.

Part of the East wall was blown down in an October gale some years ago, but has been rebuilt with a wider gate. This allows access for the ride-on mower to mow grass paths.

Rockery and Herbaceous Border

The Victorian rockery has been carefully replanted, and restoration of the pathways is still ongoing. It was a delight in spring, a colourful contrast to the yellow haze of daffodils, which comes up every year on the banks surrounding the house.

There was only one herbaceous border in the garden, backed by the outside of the kitchen garden wall. About half of it was turned over to lawn and specimen trees in the 1980s. The Mulberry and Medlar trees planted then are now mature and fruit well, the quince tree planted between them is ailing and its future is uncertain. The remaining border is on the list of areas for cleaning and replanting.


The formal gardens are surrounded by wooded areas threaded through with pathways, with fine mature trees and many huge shrubs, one of which is affectionately, if not accurately, known as the Wilderness. These areas are little frequented apart from mowing the main paths, and the mix of conifers and broad-leaved trees with berried shrubs brings a wealth of bird species to feed and breed here. There are few hedgehogs, possibly due to the number of badgers, but there is evidence of many other mammals including several species of bat. Visitors to the Hall are free to wander in the grounds, and are provided with a map to ensure they can find their way back to the car park. Private areas are clearly marked on Open Days and there are directional signs from the A44.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The site is open to the public on Mondays in May and June only, or to interested groups by appointment.


Four miles north-east of Bromyard via the A44 and a minor road.


Whitbourne Hall Community Ltd


Built by Vinegar magnate Edward Bickerton Evans about 1860, Whitbourne Hall was a testament to his success, a country house built from scratch. The chosen site was a cornfield, the corn being cut green to start building the hall, so horrifying local farmers that the story is still told. The house is in the Greek Revival style and was designed by E.W. Elmslie.

No expense was spared on the building and furnishing of the house, and the grounds were carefully laid out.

The hall and about eight acres of its grounds passed from the ownership of the Evans family to Whitbourne Hall Community Ltd in 1980. This group formed originally to occupy the hall and attempt to restore it. The upper storey, servants' quarters and some outbuildings have now been converted into apartments. The grand reception rooms and fine pillared Hall remain much as they were in 1860, with some of their original décor and furniture.

The hall is now a grade II* Listed Building, and is open to the public on Mondays in May and June, or to interested groups by appointment.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Whitbourne Hall
  • Grade: II*


  • Lake
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The kitchen garden is now used by residents as allotments.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Palm House
  • Description: The stonework of the palm house has recently been stabilised with a grant from English Heritage.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Walk
  • Description: Redwood walk.
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Arboretum
  • Terrace
  • Description: South-facing terrace behind the house.
  • Planting
  • Description: Italian garden.
  • Hedge
  • Description: Yew hedges in the Italian garden.
  • Pool
  • Fountain
  • Rockery
  • Description: The Victorian rockery has been carefully replanted.
  • Herbaceous Border
  • Wilderness
  • Description: The formal gardens are surrounded by wooded areas threaded through with pathways, with fine mature trees and many huge shrubs, one of which is affectionately, if not accurately, known as the Wilderness.
  • House (featured building)
  • Now Residential Apartments
  • Description: The house is in the Greek Revival style.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Vinery
  • Description: Recently-restored vinery.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Victorian (1837-1901)



Open to the public


Civil Parish





  • Heather Colley