Wick Court, Wick & Abson 3508

Bristol, England

Brief Description

Wick Court has the remnants of a 17th-century formal garden. Features include a 17th-century avenue of yew trees, a Tudor-style summerhouse, a sunken parterre and a walled orchard. This record was checked with South Gloucestershire Historic Monument Records Officer - June 2010.

History

In Kip's illustration of the 1700s, the site appears as a setting of walled and formal gardens.

Detailed Description

The main garden to Wick Court faces south-south-east. It is a formal garden layout which probably dates originally from the 16th century. This formal layout was still popular in the 17th century, so may be later. It was still in existence at Wick in the early 18th century, as can be seen from the illustration of the house and gardens by Kip in Atkyn's 1712 volume (see references).

A short avenue of yew trees which date from at least the 17th century lead from the house to the main gate. Court Farm can be seen straight ahead, and it is possible than an avenue or driveway used to extend up to the Farm which was once part of the lands of Wick Court. The main gate is now sealed off by a flood gate behind it, beyond which lie the fishponds. In the field beyond the gate is a mature Sequoia, which was probably planted when the land still belonged to Wick Court.

The formal garden is lawned, and to one side is a wall with an archway through it made of yew hedging. This style is again in the 16th and 17th century formal layout tradition, where straight lines are used in the designs more often than informal curved lines.

A rustic Tudor-looking summerhouse with leaded pane windows is also situated in this part of the garden, as is the well that used to form the water supply for Wick Court. The formal garden has a herbaceous border running parallel with the house.

To the west of the formal garden there is a sunken garden, bordered by a four-foot high stone wall. There are steps leading down at each corner of the garden. The owners at the time of the last survey believed that it used to be a knot garden, and that it had also been used as a rose garden. The owner was able to draw out a plan of how this formal geometric garden was set out, and how it appeared before it became overgrown. It appeared that there was a square within the square garden, then a central circle from which radiated paths at 180 degree angles from the circle, joining the steps at the corners of the garden. Apparently there was a sundial at the centre. Some ruins of stone were still visible in the centre at the time of the last survey (1986). There was also a stone which looked like a millstone. There were remnants of a parterre-style garden, as patches of the box were still in evidence.

To the east of the garden was an overgrown walled orchard. This used to be Wick Court land, but was sold off in the 1980s. The best-maintained area of the garden is the walled vegetable garden, which was still under cultivation in 1986 growing vegetables for the two families that occupied Wick Court. There was a formal element within the vegetable garden: the path running through the kitchen garden was lined with dwarf-sized hedging. There was also a small pond of fairly modern construction.

North-north-west of the house was a smaller garden with a raised terrace and herbaceous borders. This area also contained a Victorian water pump. The last surveyor of the site thought this may be the entrance to the house in medieval or Tudor times. This was because the entrance used to be in the open hall style similar to the entrances of Bircombe Court and Tockington Manor, whose entrance halls dated from the 1200s to 1500s. This would have meant that the garden by the original entrance would have overlooked the River Boyd, where a mill and mill race were probably sited.

At the time of the last survey, the garden was found to be generally well-maintained. The yew avenue had been preserved. However, the sunken parterre garden (possible knot garden) had become very overgrown. The listed summerhouse had become very dilapidated and a historic area of the garden, including several mature box trees, had had a timber adventure play area built in it.

Features

Style

  • Formal
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Knot Garden
  • Description: There is a possibility that the sunken garden dates from Tudor times. The owners believe that there used to be a knot garden, with geometric pattern set out in various coloured stones and sands. The garden is sunk at a depth of around four feet, surrounded by a stone wall which is set into the sunken garden. In the centre of the garden are some overgrown old stones, which the owners believe was the site of a sundial. When the owners moved in in about 1980 a geometric layout could still be seen in the sunken garden, which was bordered by box hedging. This was similar to a parterre garden of about the period of the restoration. Remnants of the box hedging can still be seen. The geometric pattern in the sunken garden was described by the owner as being a square within a square garden, with a central circle and diagonal paths to the corners. The owners also thought that this area had been used as a sunken rose garden, though there was no current evidence for this. This formal garden layout was popular from the 16th century, through the 17th century and into the mid-18th century. The site was known to have a formal, geometric layout in the 1700s.
  • Summerhouse
  • Description: This is a rustic, leaded window garden building, historic and listed. The last surveyor of the sites postulated a date in the 1790s.
  • Orchard
  • Description: The walled orchard dates from the 17th century, as it is illustrated as mature orchard in Kip's illustration of the 1700s.
  • Topiary
  • Description: Yew topiary hedges. This is shaped in the form of a high wall with an entrance archway through it. The hedging is shown in the same situation as in Kip's illustration of the 1700s.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: A walled kitchen garden, still used as a working kitchen garden for the cultivation of vegetables in 1986. It has a path lined with hedging running through it. This is shown as being a walled garden in Kip's illustration of the 1700s.
  • Water Feature
  • Description: Victorian water pump, made of cast iron. This is situated at the north-north-west side of the house.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Well Head
  • Description: Site of a well, in the corner of the south-south-west lawned garden. This may date from the medieval period. There was a later addition of a type of stone arbour or shelter that used to cover the well. This is now just a heap of ruined stones.
Ha-ha
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Wick and Abson
History

Detailed History

The lands of Wick Court used to extend for hundreds of acres, and incorporated the Dower House, Court Farm, the mills and the village where the school and village pub are situated. The Manor of Wick used to belong to the Abbey of Glastonbury. In 1192 the manor became the property of the Bishopric of Bath and Wells. Henry VIII acquired it in 1546 and granted it to John Wintour. There was some Tudor building onto Wick Court by the Denys family, who also built Syston Court.

In Kip's illustration of the 1700s, the site appears as a setting of walled and formal gardens, and the brook running behind the house can be seen. The formal garden remain in part in the form of a short avenue of yews.

Wick Court became the property of the Haynes or Haines family in the 1600s. The building was restored in 1660 during the reign of Charles II. Richard Haines lived in it after the restoration of the monarchy. Richard Haines was Lord Lieutenant of Gloucester. His position was a magisterial office and Court Leat was held at Wick Court for local matters. In 1672 he rode with his retainers to meet Charles II at Tetbury. It appears that Richard Haines was at the Battle of Lansdown, or was represented there by his retainers.

It may be noted that the walled orchard to the east of the house is shown as being an orchard in the time of Kip's illustration, though the orchard no longer belongs to Wick Court. The land that used to belong to the Lord of the Manor at Wick Court has been reduced from hundreds of acres down to 2.5 acres.

Period

  • Tudor (1485-1603)
Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here
References

References