The origins of Vale House are uncertain; however, it is clear from the 1st ed. OS map of 1875 and from a written description of 1874 that gardens and a 'wilderness' were associated with the house. The description refers to a shrubbery, a rockery with alpine plants and, to one side of the carriage drive, the 'old kitchen garden'. Within the old kitchen garden were ribbon borders to either side of the path, and a cross walk. Beyond it were two vineries with heavily cropping grapes, and a peach house. Adjacent to this was a 'span-roofed house' being used for cucumbers and flowers for cutting. A newer kitchen garden extension was clearly deeply cultivated and densely planted. From the drive, a small gate led to a 'broad terrace walk in front of the mansion'. To the south of the terrace walk was a small flower garden, surrounded by ornamental balustrading, with the extensive lake of the Upper Mill millpond beyond. In front of the house, probably towards the southern side, was a geometrically arranged flower garden with circular and other beds, all with raised edgings. Plant varieties are recorded in great detail, and the author notes that thousands of plants had been used. The terrace path led onto the conservatory, within which pillars were mentioned. This building may equate with the glass structure at the southern edge of the property, north-east of Top Mill. The description refers to a 'croquet ground' close to the conservatory and notes that 'large masses of rock had been removed to obtain space for the main walk which leads to the zigzag walks through the wilderness'. This area can be identified on the 1875 OS map, as can the large ivy-covered rock which formed 'quite a novel feature' within the croquet ground, the wilderness paths (to the north-east and rear of the house) and the summerhouse 'for children's tea and picnic parties'. A long flight of 'rustic steps' from the edge of the wilderness rejoined the drive close to the gardener's and coachman's house. (1, 2)
A site visit in 2009 noted that, south-east of the house, the garden area was overgrown but that the position of a low stone wall with small steps could be discerned. No trace of the adjacent conservatory could be seen. In front of the remains of the house, an overgrownlower garden area extended to the roadside retaining wall. (2)
Article in serial: Anon. 1874. 'Vale House', Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener. pp 144-146.
Unpublished document: Tann, G (PCA Lincoln). 2009. Proposed Redevelopment of Vale House, Outgang Lane, Pleasley, Derbyshire.
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Centred SK 5168 6500 (274m by 170m)
PLEASLEY, BOLSOVER, DERBYSHIRE
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Record last edited
Mar 15 2020 9:37AM
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