Heritage Category:
Park and Garden
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
Stanstead Abbots
National Grid Reference:
TL 40314 11249


A C15 manor house and garden with late C16 park. The garden and park have since been in continuous use and subject to a series of changes.


The house was owned by the Augustinian abbey of Waltham from the early C15 until 1531, when it passed to the Crown. In 1559 Elizabeth I granted Stanstead Abbots, with the Bury estate, to Edward Baesh of London (d 1587), who in 1577 had licence to impark 300 acres (125ha) of land there with a grant of free warren (VCH). A late C16 inquisition (PRO) mentions a 15 acre (c 6ha) 'circuit' of the house, probably including the house, plus yards, orchards and gardens. In 1678 the manor was sold into the Field family, being sold on in 1802 to Capt Robert Jocelyn, then passing through the hands of several different owners. An estate plan of 1781 (HRO) depicts the park and garden much as they remain today (1999). The estate remains in private ownership.


LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Stanstead Bury lies 1km south-east of the village of Stanstead Abbots and 5km west of the centre of Harlow New Town. The c 25ha site is bounded to the north by the late C20 A414 dual carriageway, to the west by the B181 Stanstead Abbots to Roydon road, and on the other sides by agricultural land. The roughly rectangular site stretches from west to east across a gently south-sloping hillside. The setting is largely rural, with the dual carriageway immediately to the north, and Briggens landscape park lying almost adjacent to the east.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES A short drive leads 170m north-east off the road from Stanstead Abbots to Roydon, crossing an area of parkland which contains the earthwork remains of the C16 gardens. The drive leads directly to the walled forecourt (C16 and later, listed grade II) on the west side of the manor house, the north-west corner of which is marked by the Bull House (late C17). This is now (1999) a garden pavilion, it being a single-storey square building of red brick, with a steep pyramidal roof. The entrance arrangements to the site were changed as a result of the widening of the A414 in the late 1980s.

The Drapentier engraving (1700) shows a double avenue approaching the house from the east, although there is no visible evidence of this now (1999). By the late C19 (OS) the house was approached from the south, past the east end of the churchyard, the drive leading to a forecourt on the south front. The present approach from the west was created in the early C20, and the former forecourt on the south front turned into a sunken garden, with brick terracing.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING Stanstead Bury manor house (late C15, listed grade II*) has been altered many times during the course of the last five centuries. It stands towards the west end of the site, a large timber-framed and brick house of two storeys. The red-brick, two-storey stable block (late C17, listed grade II) and other outbuildings (C16, C17, C19, listed grade II) stand south of the house.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The c C16 garden earthworks west of the house occupy an area of c 4ha and consist of a set of three terraces crossing most of the area from west to east, falling away to the south. The remains of what may have been a canal lie on the north side of the main, middle terrace (north of the drive), which is the same width as the house. In the south-east corner, west of the stables and north of the parish church, lies a tennis court on a terraced area known as the Bath Garden which may have had a raised walk around it (Inspector's Report).

The sloping land east of the house is also terraced. The east lawn was probably levelled when the east facade was remodelled as the principal front in 1689. It is bounded at its eastern edge by a red-brick ha-ha (C18, listed grade II), over which there are views across the area of the old park, now divided into fields, to the Great Wood.

The terrace lies above the rectangular, walled kitchen garden and is separated from it by a brick retaining wall (C16/C17, listed grade II) lying 30m south-east of the house and topped by a yew hedge.

PARK The park extends east from the house and gardens. Laid largely to arable, a belt of trees, The Grove, runs along the north boundary to the Great Wood at the east end of the site. A small icehouse stands in the quarry at the west end of The Grove. The belt forms part of a circular ride which offers views out over Roydon to the south, returning via a track to Standstead Bury Farm, then up past the church to the stables and house. The Farm lies at the west end of the park, c 120m south-east of the house.

The park, having been enclosed in 1577 by Edward Baesh, was laid out with six fields by the late C18 (estate map, 1781), at that time being planted with the remains of avenues and other park trees and partly enclosed by the circuit ride to the north.

KITCHEN GARDEN The kitchen garden lies 30m south-east of the house, below the east terrace. The red-brick walls (listed grade II) date from the C16, C17 and C18. Below the kitchen garden is a rectangular pond, perhaps originally a stew pond associated with the period during the C15 and early C16 when the manor was owned by Waltham Abbey. It lies to the west of Stanstead Bury Farm.


H Chauncy, Historical antiquities of Hertfordshire (1700), p 195 Victoria History of the County of Hertfordshire 3, (1912), pp 368-70 B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire (1977), p 342 Stanstead Bury: Inspector's Report, (English Heritage 1988)

Maps Dury and Andrews, A topographical Map of Hartford-shire, 1766 Estate plan, 1781 (Hertfordshire Record Office) A Bryant, The County of Hertford, 1822 Sale particulars, 1867 (137.a.13), (British Library maps)

OS Surveyor's Drawings, 1799-1805 OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1873 2nd edition published 1899 3rd edition published 1938 OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1898

Illustrations Drapentier engraving, published in Chauncy (1700)

Archival items Inquisition of Edward Baesh, c 1587 (C.142/215/269), (PRO)

Description written: April 1999 Amended: October 2000 Register Inspector: SR Edited: November 2000


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.

End of official listing

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