Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Chelmsford (District Authority)
Great Waltham
National Grid Reference:
TL 69946 13586


Late C19 formal gardens, with C20 additions, set in an early C18 park and woodland for which Charles Bridgeman produced designs, with early C19 alterations possibly by Humphry Repton.


The original house at Langleys is of uncertain date, but it belonged to the Everard family in the C16. In 1711 it was acquired, along with 87 acres (c 36ha) of land, by Samuel Tufnell who, according to Morant (1768), was the son of a very rich and eminent London merchant. Tufnell demolished part of the mansion and rebuilt the house in its present form, to designs by William Tufnell (resident architect at Westminster Abbey, no relationship proved). Whilst work on the house was underway Charles Bridgeman (d 1738) was commissioned to lay out the grounds, although apart from a receipt confirming he was paid £156 7s 2d for the work, no further documents or plans survive to give any detail of what was done (Account book, ERO). During the mid C18 Muilman records that the late possessor of Langleys, Samuel Tufnell Esq had 'made a good park round [the house and] laid out pleasant gardens' (Muilman 1769). Chapman and Andre's county map of 1777 provides the first cartographic evidence of the layout of the grounds. Samuel was succeeded in 1758 by his son John Joliffe Tufnell I, and he by his second son, William, in 1794. Writing in Observations on the Theory and Practice ... of landscape gardening in 1803, Humphry Repton lists Langleys amongst the sites for which he had produced a Red Book but although a book of farm accounts together with a parish survey map of 1810/16 record developments in the park and garden between 1803 and 1807, no other evidence survives to link Repton to this work. During this period part of the river was ornamented, new plantations were made, a new road cut through the park, and possibly pleasure gardens and the wilderness planted (Estate accounts, ERO). When William Joliffe died in 1814, his son John Joliffe Tufnell II succeeded to the estate and in 1827 he commissioned Charles Robert Cockerell to enlarge the house. John Joliffe II was in turn succeeded by his son John Joliffe III, and the OS 25" map published in 1875 shows that by this date the park had been extended and an elaborate parterre garden had been laid out to the east of the house, all created under J Joliffe III's direction (CL 1905). Colonel W Neville Tufnell succeeded his father in 1894, and under his stewardship the grounds and the park were retained. Colonel Tufnell died in 1922 and was succeeded by de Hirzel Tufnell who lived at Langleys until his death in December 1935. In January 1936 he was succeeded by John Joliffe Tufnell IV who continued to plan and develop the gardens. The site remains (2000) in single private ownership.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Langleys lies c 8km to the north of Chelmsford, set to the east of the road leading from the A130 to the B1008 Chelmsford to Little Waltham road, on the north-east edge of Great Waltham village. The c 63ha site is set in a mainly rural location, bounded to the west and north by the A130 to B1008 link, and to the south and east by farmland. The ground at Langleys is generally level with a slight slope downwards from the house to the north, towards the River Chelmer, and south towards the Walthambury Brook which flows east to join the Chelmer c 600m east-south-east of the house.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES South Lodge (listed grade II) lies c 300m to the south of the house, on the A130 to B1008 link road. This red-brick and stucco two-storey building is contemporary with the house, having been built by Samuel Tufnell in c 1719. The drive runs north though the park to join the west drive, both turning east to arrive at the gravelled forecourt below the west front, in an arrangement recorded on the early C19 parish map. West Lodge (built 1960s) also lies on the A130 to B1008 link road, c 400m to the north-west of the house. The drive divides at the Lodge, the northern arm running south-east directly to the stable block on the north side of the house, while the southern arm curves through the park to meet up with the south drive c 150m west of the west front. This division of the west drive dates from the mid C19, prior to which it ran directly to the stable block. On the north side of the stable block, c 100m north-east of the house, stands the early Victorian North Lodge beside a waterfall on the banks of the River Chelmer. A further lodge, added during the Edwardian period c 600m east of the house, was demolished and rebuilt in 1990.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING Langleys (listed grade I) is a red-brick country mansion, built to an H-plan in three storeys. The entrance front on the west has wings projecting at the north and south ends and a central doorway and window-piece with Ionic pilasters and garland ornamentation. The garden front to the east is similar to the west front but with only slightly projecting side wings. Langleys was rebuilt on the site of an earlier house between 1710 and 1719 to designs by William Tufnell for Samuel Tufnell. It incorporates the north wing of the early C17 house.

On the south side of the house stands the Laundry (listed grade II), a rectangular red-brick building with rusticated brick quoins, built by Samuel Tufnell at the same time as the house. On the north-east side of the house stand the two-storey, red-brick and tile stables (listed grade II) which date from the C17, with considerable C19 alterations.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The garden lies to the south and east of the house, with the wooded pleasure grounds running north along the banks of the River Chelmer. A wide gravel terrace runs the length of the east front. A flight of steps aligned on the central garden door lead down to the late C19 Dutch Garden, composed of a complex box parterre with gravel paths through it. The gardens were much simplified in 1946 and now (2000) sit on a lawn bordered to the east by a low retaining wall. In the centre of the wall a large, low flight of semicircular steps leads down to a long lawn flanked by an avenue of cypress trees and mixed shrubs which terminates at a canal c 180m east of the house. A canal is shown on the 1777 county map (Chapman and Andre) at the end of an elaborate formal garden which had disappeared by the early C19, leaving only a ha-ha thought to date from the Bridgeman period (Inspector's Report 1988). The existing canal, which was lined with concrete in the mid C20, may have been part of Charles Bridgeman's work although the map evidence is not conclusive in locating the exact position of the C18 canal. The east garden is bordered to the north by a brick wall dividing it from the stable buildings to the north. A row of mature lime runs along the garden side of this wall.

The lawn at the southern end of the Dutch Garden, to the east of the Laundry and the wall enclosing the drying ground, is planted with a variety of shrubs. It is bordered to the south by the north wall of the kitchen garden which is entered through a gateway at the south-west end of the lawn. Beyond the west wall of the kitchen garden is the walled drying ground reached via the Laundry which now (2000) contains a swimming pool, built in 1939.

The pleasure grounds lie on the north side of the stables and consist of walks through woodland planted on the banks of the River Chelmer. The walks pass several features including the remains of a thatched icehouse and are shown as wooded on all the maps of the park from 1777 onwards. Ornamental works were carried out to the river at the beginning of the C19 when a waterfall was created, together with a sluice c 100m above it, used to divert the water thus making a small island. Earthworks in the park immediately to the south of the pleasure grounds are evident in the form of two raised banks with flattened tops with a ditch in between. These may represent part of the Bridgeman layout (ibid).

PARK The park at Langleys surrounds the house on all sides apart from the area to the north-east beyond the River Chelmer. The north-west section, added during the C19, is bounded to the west and north by the mid C19 Howe Street Plantation which encloses pasture fields. Close to the river are late C20 cricket-bat willow beds. The old deer park lies to the west of the house and is retained as pasture, well covered with parkland trees including ash, horse chestnut, oak, and cedar, together with a walnut avenue planted in the mid 1950s. This area is shown as parkland on the 1777 Chapman and Andre county map and it is here that Charles Bridgeman's designs were carried out.

The south-east section of the park is divided by Walthambury Brook which comes through the village and runs into the park to the north-west of South Lodge, exiting through Whites Plantation on the eastern boundary. The southern part of this area was under arable production up until the mid C19 when the park was extended and has, in the C20, been returned to farmland.

Immediately to the east of the house, beyond the canal, the view into the park from the gardens towards Chatham Hall looks over farmland scattered with a few mature trees. Up until the mid C19, the park extended in this direction only as far as the River Chelmer, but was extended in the late C19 as far as Chatham Hall. The boundary between the two properties however is not defined on the OS 6" map of 1874. The boundary of the site here registered lies just to the west of the river.

KITCHEN GARDEN The walled kitchen garden lies c 60m to the south-east of the house and is divided by paths into areas used for the production of fruit, vegetables, and flowers. There are six entrances to the garden, the main one being in the north-west corner, marked by an ornamental iron gate flanked by railings attached to tall red-brick piers surmounted by eagles. The walled garden, which was built to accompany the 1719 house, was, according to map evidence, twice its present size until the early C19.


P Morant, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex (1763-8) P Muilman, A New and Complete History of Essex II, (1769) Country Life, 18 (2 December 1905), pp 774-8; 91 (9 January 1942), pp 68-71; (16 January 1942), p 112; (23 January 1942), pp 160(3 F W Steer, Samuel Tufnell of Langleys 1682-1758 The life and times of an Essex squire (1960) P Willis, Charles Bridgeman (1977) N Pevsner and E Radcliffe, The Buildings of England: Essex (1979), p 211 G Carter et al, Humphry Repton (1982), p 151 F Cowell and G Green, Repton in Essex (2000) Inspector's Report, (EH 1988)

Maps J Chapman and P Andre, A map of the county of Essex from an actual survey ..., 1777 (Essex Record Office) G Cole, Survey of Great Waltham, 1810/16 (D/DTu 299), (Essex Record Office) Estate map, early C19 (private collection) Estate map, late C19 (private collection)

OS Surveyor's drawings, 1799 (Essex Record Office facsimile) OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1874 2nd edition published 1897 OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1875

Archival items Receipt by Charles Bridgeman for work done at Langleys, Samuel Tufnell's account book (D/DTu 276), (Essex Record Office) Estate farm accounts, 1803-7 (D/DTu 229), (Essex Record Office)

Description written: November 2000 Amended: February 2001 Register Inspector: EMP Edited: September 2001


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:
Parks and Gardens


This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.

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