Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1000298
Date first listed: 31-May-1984
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: New Forest (District Authority)
National Park: NEW FOREST
National Grid Reference: SU1791018737
Formal and informal gardens and wooded pleasure grounds, probably laid out in the early C18 by Thomas Archer, the formal gardens of which were altered and given additional features in the C19, with an adjacent park containing an avenue probably of early C18 origin.
Hale was recorded, although not by name, as a manor in Domesday Book. It passed through the hands of a number of owners, with a manor house being built by the C14, until in the C16 it was leased and then purchased by the Penruddock family. Sir John Penruddock died c 1600-01, leaving Hale to his son Thomas whose own son, John, commissioned a new house in 1637 from the architect John Webb (1611-72). A deer park is also recorded as established at Hale by 1638 (Debois 1990). In 1715, Hale was sold by the Penruddocks to Thomas Archer (1668-1743), Groom Porter to Queen Anne and architect, amongst whose works were the banqueting house at Wrest Park (qv) in Bedfordshire and the Cascade House at Chatsworth (qv), Derbyshire. Archer began the present house in 1715, most probably planted the avenues through the park (ibid), and is most likely to have been responsible for laying out the surrounding formal gardens and wooded pleasure grounds to the south-west and north-west of the house, as shown on a survey of Hale made by Thomas Richardson in 1789. He also largely rebuilt the church. Hale remained with the Archer family until the 1780s, the house being remodelled in the 1770s by Henry Holland (1745-1806) and then purchased by Joseph May for whom it was further remodelled by Popes of Poole (Booth-Jones 1953). In 1837, the estate was bought by Joseph Goff and during the C19 and early C20, the pleasure grounds were simplified and new formal features added to the gardens. The Goff family remained at Hale until the early C20 after which the ownership passed to Major Wright and then to the Booth-Jones family before being purchased in 1973 by Mr and Mrs Hickman. Hale remains (1998) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Hale Park is situated c 1.5km west of the A338, Bournemouth to Salisbury road, equidistant from the villages of Woodgreen to the south-west and Hatchett Green and Hale to the north-east. The 58ha registered site, which comprises c 1ha of formal gardens, 25ha of wooded pleasure grounds, and 32ha of parkland, occupies a level plateau to the north-west of a wooded New Forest ridge which descends steeply on its western edge to the valley of the River Avon. The site is enclosed by agricultural fencing and bounded to the west by Moot Lane and to the south and south-east by Hale Lane. To the north, east, and south the site is set within a landscape of mixed farmland with small woods while to the west are the water meadows of the Avon valley with downland beyond.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The entrance to Hale Park lies on the south-west side of Hale Lane, 400m north-east of the house. From a lodge, erected in 1923 by Major Wright (monogram on north front), an axial drive, lined by a double avenue of four staggered rows of limes known as The Straight, runs c 350m to the forecourt on the principal, north-east front of the house. At the point of approach, the drive opens out and the rows increase in number to form `shoulders' which frame the entrance to the forecourt. This section of avenue, with the present arrangement of trees and with further rows extending as short side avenues to the north-west (now gone) and south-east of the house, is shown on Richardson's survey of 1789. The present trees are of mixed ages but the presence of mature, headed trees suggests an early C18 origin for the avenue, with infill in the form of timber trees having taken place in the late C18 (ring counts). North-east from Hale Lane, the avenue continues either side of a grassed track for c 700m towards Hatchett Green Lodge (listed grade II), an early C19 building of yellow brick with a Greek Doric entrance portico. A building is shown in this location on the 1789 plan although thee is no evidence for the extension of the avenue at this date. The trees in this north-eastern section form a single avenue of limes, which field evidence (ring counts) suggests are of early C20 origin. The 1st edition OS map (surveyed 1871) shows this section with two rows of alternate broadleaves and conifers, possibly planted by Joseph Goff in 1842 on the line of what may have been an early C18 avenue (Debois 1990), of which only the broadleaves in the northern row survived by 1897 (OS). Two secondary entrances are linked to the house by rides or drives which are now tracks. From Searchfield Lodge, a single-storey cruciform lodge of yellow brick (listed, with its cast-iron gates and railings, grade II) at the extreme northern tip of the site on Moot Lane, a drive laid out c 1840 by Joseph Goff follows a southwards course through Snakehill Copse to join a short length of a late C18 avenue running north-westwards from The Straight west of Home Farm.
From Hale Lane on the southern boundary a drive, shown on the 1st edition OS map (1871), runs from South Lodge (built by Major Wright in 1923) north-eastwards to meet the surviving C18 side avenue of limes which runs along the south-east of the house.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Hale Park (listed grade I) stands on level ground towards the southern end of the site with a vista north-eastwards along The Straight and south-westwards through a framed gap in the woodland of the pleasure grounds to the Avon valley and downland beyond. A similar vista line to the north focuses on the downland clump on Clearbury Ring and on Salisbury and its cathedral (now visible only from the upper storey of the house). The house is of two storeys and seven bays in width with a hipped, slate roof and a stuccoed finish. The principal, north-east front has a giant three-bay portico of Ionic columns with a pediment. To either side, and at right angles to it, is an asymmetrical pair of one and a half-storey rendered pavilions, each with a central projecting three-bay pediment. These are linked to the house by quadrant balustrades (listed grade II) beneath which, on the garden front, quadrant passages which date from Archer's house are revealed at basement level. The basement is exposed fully on the garden front which also features a central full-height canted bay with an external two-arm staircase with landing leading up to the doorcase. The present house was built in 1715 by Thomas Archer on the site of an existing house which may have been that commissioned in 1637 (but possibly not built) from John Webb (drawing in RIBA Collection). Extensive remodelling by Henry Holland took place in the 1770s and subsequently, from 1792 onwards for eight years, by Popes of Poole (Booth-Jones 1953), during which time the present pediment was built and the forecourt level raised. The forecourt is laid out to a gravelled carriage drive around a grassed oval which is bisected by a balustrade wall built in 1881 (Debois 1990) which completely encloses the forecourt on the north-east side. Extending from either end of the wall to the north-west and south-east are further, convex quadrant walls which screen service buildings (balustrade and quadrant walls listed grade II).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The house is surrounded by level lawn which extends c 30m to the north-west and 100m to the south-east, the boundary on this side formed by a brick ha-ha wall, the line of the length running south-west towards the pleasure grounds shown established on the 1789 survey (Richardson). Immediately north-west of the house is a square rose garden, enclosed by clipped hedging and laid out with geometric beds and paving with a central square pool. This was made between 1895 and 1910 (OS editions). To its north and north-west is a late C20 area of kitchen garden and, on the slopes descending towards the church (rebuilt by Thomas Archer in 1717, listed grade II), trees including orchard trees, planted informally in grass. This area was the site of the farm shown on the 1789 plan which was removed in the later C18. On the lawn immediately south-west of the house is the Dutch Garden, laid out in 1876 and comprising a circular enclosure of clipped topiary yew surrounding a circular stone pool, the garden approached from the four compass points along walks lined with further topiary yew. The Dutch Garden occupies the north-western half of a formal garden enclosure shown on the 1789 survey as extending south-east from the house, the south-west side of this partially defined by a line of mature holm oak which may survive from a late C18 hedge line. The Dutch Garden site was laid out as a flower garden in 1793 (Debois 1990) while the southern end of the enclosure, defined by an apsidal ha-ha wall built by 1871 (OS) and now planted with shrubbery, was occupied by a large greenhouse in the mid C19. According to estate records, the greenhouse had been demolished by 1876 (Debois 1990). South-west of the lawns and Dutch Garden, open grass dotted with a few trees extends c 150m to the eastern edge of Shellhouse Copse.
The south-west front opens onto a gravelled walk and level lawns, with a central axial sundial and three shallow grassed steps which lead to the top of a broad, descending grassed slope, framed by woodland, that forms a vista from the house to the site boundary and beyond to the landscape of the Avon valley and distant wooded ridges. The vista is also framed at the top, along the south-west edge of the lawn, by convex clipped yew hedging which is shown on the OS map surveyed 1895. Above the slope to the north-west and raised on grassed banks is a circular, bastion-like structure with a level surface, laid out as an azalea garden enclosed within clipped holly hedging. Approached from the formal lawns to its north-east, along a hedge-lined walk and screened from views to the west and north by woodland in Church Copse, the feature appears to be shown on the 1789 plan and may have served as a viewing platform (ibid). The present planting dates from the late C20 and replaces a rose garden established there in 1892-4 (ibid).
To the north-west and south-west of the gardens, wooded pleasure grounds extend along the ridge which drops westwards to the Avon valley. These were laid out in the C18, probably by Thomas Archer, with a combination of formal and informal walks, greens, and shrubbery and with vistas aligned on focal features, as shown on the survey of 1789 (Richardson). The landscape is still visible in parts, with some features surviving as earthworks (Debois 1990). The grassed slope, or 'glacis', which forms the main vista west from the house is traversed from north to south by a grassed terrace and to its south-west, the slopes of mixed woodland of Shellhouse Copse are formed into a series of banks and terraces. Recorded as Church Copse at that date, the 1789 survey shows a layout of a goosefoot of formal walks and vistas, opening south-west from the south-west end of the ha-ha, which are focused on various features. None of these survives and the present walks are of a later date, although a summerhouse decorated with shells (the Shell House) appears to have done so into the C19, being recorded on the Tithe map of 1841 (ibid). North-west of the 'glacis', Gravel Hill is traversed by walks from the church and the western edge of the park, these following a different pattern from those in the C18. Its slopes are wooded but the crest of the hill is open grass, as it was in the late C18 until planted over c 1830. The crest was cleared again to re-establish the view north to Salisbury in 1882 (ibid). The crest is also planted with a circle of yews, of C18 origin and known as Buck¿s Parlour, which may have housed a building. At the north-west foot of the hill, on Moot Lane, is the red-brick and tile-roofed Hale Dairy Farm House (early C18, listed grade II). The woodland north of Gravel Hill, in Snakehill Copse and Greenland, is shown established on the OS map of 1871 and comprises a mixture of compartments including coppice and conifer plantations. Archival evidence suggests that there may have been an ornamental ride through this area (Hale Park archive) but the present network of informal grassed walks was laid out in the late C20.
PARK The parkland at Hale lies to the north and south of the house and The Straight and is in agricultural use. It is largely open in character, with a very few individual trees including mature cedars and oak. A deer park was established at Hale by 1638, while Richardson¿s 1789 survey, which records the park boundary to the south established much as it is at present, shows the tree planting to consist largely of imparked field boundary trees. The area north of The Straight, known as Spitfield, was added to the park in 1818 and c 1842, Joseph Goff planted small clumps of trees throughout the park (Debois 1990).
KITCHEN GARDEN The kitchen garden, shown established on the OS map surveyed 1871, stands on the east side of Hale Lane at its junction with Queen Street, some 450m east of the house. It comprises a rectangular walled compartment c 120m x 60m which is now in use as private gardens to the two cottages built against its south wall, and a further, narrow compartment beyond its north wall. This is now (1998) planted with a plantation of conifers and its walls are in a ruinous state.
Victoria History of the County of Hampshire IV, (1911), pp 1577-8 M Booth-Jones, A History of the Parish of Hale and Woodgreen (1953) N Pevsner and D Lloyd, The Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (1967), pp 262-3 Hale Park, A Survey of the Landscape, (Debois Landscape Survey Group 1990)
Maps Thomas Richardson, Hale ... belonging to Joseph Goff, 1789 (private collection) Tithe map for Hale parish, 1841 (Hampshire Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1871 2nd edition revised 1895 3rd edition published 1911 1926 edition OS 25" to 1 mile: 3rd edition revised 1909
Archival items The Hale Park archive is held in a private collection. Additional items are held at the Hampshire Record Office (M447-449) including 'Notes on the History of the House, Grounds, Church etc'.
Description written: September 1998 Amended: December 2001 Register Inspector: VCH Edited: January 2004
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 1231
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.
End of official listing