Monument record MDR3609 - Terraced gardens, Haddon Hall

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Terraced gardens of the early 17th century, restored from 1912 onwards. There are records of gardens from 1170. The topmost level of terraces is broad with balustrading and ball finials. The lawn, with clipped yews, was a bowling green until 1650. Dorothy Vernon's walk was formerly a grove of sycamores. There are 17th century steps from the balustraded terrace to the fountain garden, with a modern layout. The lowest garden has three terraces, mainly lawns. There is a flight of 76 drystone steps to Pack Horse Bridge. The cottage garden contains topiary. (1, 2) Grade II* listed garden terraces and steps at Haddon Hall. They are partly mid 16th century and partly early 17th century. The are built of rubble limestone and ashlar gritstone, and comprise a series of four garden terraces, down to river level, with high dry stone limestone rubble retaining walls and flights of steps between levels. The early 17th century top terrace has a balustrade with central steps to lower terrace on its southern side, made up of five bay arcades of square rusticated balusters with semi-circular headed arches between, with projecting keystones, topped by wide handrail and linked by large rusticated piers, surmounted by large ball finials. The lower terrace is in turn supported by high walls to the south-east and south-west, each with a series of massive, dry stone wall, battered buttresses. There is a similar wall with buttresses to the south-west, supporting the path near the chapel, with a long flight of steps down to river level at the southern end. There are also two lower terraces, partly paved with steps between them at the eastern corner. All these lower terraces possibly date from mid 16th century when the south-east range of the west courtyard was reconstructed. (3) The terraced gardens at Haddon Hall are part of the grade I Registered Park and Garden. They lie to the southeast of the Hall, and are walled. They contain a range of terraces, which are built in to land that falls to the south and east. The northernmost and highest, c. 30m northeast of the Hall, is supported by a stone retaining wall and is reached from a flight of stone steps. A door in the terrace's south-east perimeter wall leads to a flight of steps down to the riverbank. The terrace is grassed and has flower beds replacing an avenue of sycamores, suggested on the 1879 OS map, which was removed during the early 20th century. Below this is a terrace that is reached from the north-east side of the Hall by a doorway of c. 1650, which leads to a flight of balustraded stone steps down to the garden. This has a perimeter walk around lawns and beds. In the south-east corner there is a summerhouse of early 20th century date, which replaced a small building in approximately the same position shown on the 1879 OS map. This terrace is referred to as a bowling green in 18th century records, and was planted with yews, shown in an undated late 19th or early 20th century photograph (CL 1962, 1500), which had to be removed during the early 20th century owing to their large size. At the edge (south side) of the terrace there is an arcaded balustrade of the same design as the balustrade on the staircase from the Hall, and central stone steps lead down to a terrace which is called the Fountain Garden, for the central pool and fountain of early 20th century date. This has a parapet wall around it and at the south-east corner a set of circular steps in the angle of the wall form a small platform from which views to the south and east across the river and park can be obtained. In the north-east corner there is a gateway with an iron gate leading to the riverbank. A walkway runs south-westwards from the Fountain Garden alongside the Long Gallery and State Room ranges of the Hall, with two short flights of stone steps down the slope. This continues in front of the chapel, at the southern tip of the Hall complex, and leads to a flight of seventy-six stone steps running south-eastwards down the slope alongside the garden's perimeter wall giving access to terraces on three levels and a door in the south-east perimeter wall leading to the riverbank. The Fountain Garden and the walkway along the south-east front are supported by stone retaining walls c. 3m high supported by massive stone buttresses. The first of the terraces below this is supported by an L-shaped stone retaining wall, as is that below. A flight of stone steps at the northern end of the lowest terrace leads up to a paved area with a stone seat in the angle of two buttresses. To the north-east of this is a lawn with a series of grassed terraces which lies below the Fountain Garden. The south-east perimeter wall has a low parapet affording views to the south and east. Doors in the wall give access to the riverbank where there is an informal walk beside the water. A 16th century gateway is attached to the west side of the south-west gate tower, and this leads to a terraced walk running south-east along the edge of a limestone cliff with views of the Wye and parkland to the south. The walk continues to a door in a stone wall which leads into the south side of the gardens at the head of the flight of seventy-six stone steps. The origins and evolution of the terraced gardens are not clear, but it is reasonable to assume that gardens were extant when the stairway to the garden on the north-east side of the Hall was built in the mid 17th century. There is a reference in estate papers of 1650 to building a garden wall, which refers to the entrance and stairway to the garden as the 'new' door (quoted in CL 1949, 1888). It is likely that this mid 17th century work was a modification of existing work, which itself probably represented a gradual evolution of the south-east-facing slopes as pleasure grounds or gardens which could have started during the 14th or 15th century. A description of 1697 mentions 'a fine Grove of High trees and good Gardens' (guidebook), which suggests that the trees at least were well established at this time. It has been suggested (Hussey in CL 1949) that the terraced walk along the south-east side of the Hall, and possibly the terraces below this, may have originated c. 1545 when a raised timber gallery supported by posts possibly existed on this side of the building. This could have been comparable to a gallery connected with medieval gardens referred to in records of Thornbury Castle, Gloucester. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Anthony, J. 1979. The Gardens of Britain 6: The East Midlands.
  • <2> Article in serial: Country Life. 1962. Country Life, June 21st, 1962.
  • <3> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. NHLE entry no: 1158083.
  • <4> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 1984. Haddon Hall. Registered Parks and Gardens description. PG1670. PG1670.



Grid reference Centred SK 23 66 (106m by 124m) (Approximate)

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Record last edited

Jul 21 2014 5:15PM

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