Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1000418
Date first listed: 01-Mar-1990
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Barnsley (Metropolitan Authority)
District: Barnsley (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference: SK 31771 99643
Mid C19 gardens and pleasure grounds set in an early C19 park, possibly laid out with advice from W S Gilpin.
Wortley Hall has been the seat of the Wortley family since the time of King Stephen. During the early C16 Sir Thomas Wortley created a park around the old hall, which was rebuilt in 1686 on the same site by Sir Richard Wortley. In the 1670s Anne, daughter of the last Baronet Wortley, married Sidney Montagu at which time the family name became Wortley-Montagu. In 1727 Edward Wortley-Montagu, first Baron Wharncliffe, inherited the property and began to remodel the house again, in three stages. The first, between 1731 and 1734, was mainly at his own hand, possibly with advice from Ralph Tunnicliffe the architect. During the second, between 1742 and 1746, Edward commissioned Giancomo Leoni to remodel the south front, adding a terrace with retaining wall and central steps flanked by urns, while during the third stage, carried out between 1757 and 1761, Matthew Brettingham added a new east wing. Edward died in 1761 and left the estate to his daughter, Lady Bute who commissioned John Platt to carry out further work on the house between 1784 and 1788. When Lady Bute died in 1784 the property passed to her second son, James Archibald Stuart-Wortley, the third Earl of Bute. Although he never took up residence, James made further alterations to the Hall, under the direction of John Carr of York who was also responsible for the stable block and outbuildings. In 1800 the third Earl made the property over to his son, also James Archibald, who finished the works on the Hall and laid out a park. During the first half of the C19 the south front garden terraces were completed. W S Gilpin (1762-1843) is said to have worked `in a Pricean spirit' at Wortley (Gardener's Magazine 1840) though the extent of his work is not clear. Joseph Harrison, head gardener at Wortley Hall in the early to mid C19, was responsible for the launch of several periodicals and was probably partly responsible for laying out the gardens. During the mid C19 William Burn was employed to alter the house internally, also adding a lantern to the Hall and cupola to the stables. The Hall was used by the army during the Second World War then fell into disrepair. After the war the park was divided and sold, the Hall and grounds being purchased by the Trade Union and Labour Movement in 1950 for use as an educational holiday centre. The site remains (2000) in divided corporate and private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Wortley Hall is situated c 15km north of Sheffield, to the east of the A629, Sheffield to Huddersfield road. The park covers c 240ha bounded to the south-west by Wortley village and Howbrook Lane, to the north-west by Hermit Hill Lane, and to the north-east and south by farmland. High Wood Dike runs south-west to north-east through the park at the base of a valley. The Hall is situated on higher ground close to the western boundary, near the village, and has fine views over the park to the east.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main approach to Wortley Hall is from Wortley village on the western boundary, via early C19 gate piers and attached railings (listed grade II). The drive runs north-east along The Avenue, passing a second set of piers and railings which mark the north-east end of The Avenue, before sweeping south to arrive at the east front. The drives from Rotherham Gate Lodge on Howbrook Lane to the south, and from Westwood Lodge to the east, are no longer in use.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Wortley Hall (listed grade II*) stands a little to the east of the village of Wortley, towards the top of a gently east-facing slope, overlooking the park. It is a large country house built of ashlar sandstone and slate, in an irregular, mainly two-storey plan. The seven-bay south front looks onto a terrace with retaining wall and central steps flanked by urns and was built in 1742-6 by Giacomo Leoni (c 1686-1746) for Edward Wortley-Montagu. The east wing, by Matthew Brettingham (1699-1769) with George and John Platt as masons/executive architects, was added in 1757-61. Further additions were carried out 1784-8 by John Platt for Lady Bute and completed for James Archibald Stuart-Wortley II (1776-1845) under John Carr of York (1723-1807). The lantern was added by William Burn, c 1867-73, who was also responsible for some remodelling.
The early C19 sandstone and slate stable block (listed grade II) stands c 60m to the west of the Hall and was probably built to designs by John Carr with a cupola added later in the century by William Burn. Beyond the north wall of the stable block are further early C19 outbuildings and cottages (listed grade II).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS To the east of the Hall is a walk and balustraded retaining wall (listed grade II) across which there are fine views over the park and countryside beyond.
The main gardens lie beneath the south front, where the west to east slope was graded in the mid C19 to form a series of grass terraces set with steps (listed grade II) and a level lawn decorated with clipped golden yews and focused on a circular pool (listed grade II) and statue. A walk along the west side of the flower garden leads to a stone seat alcove (listed grade II) which originally (mid C19) formed the base of a conservatory. From here, the path leads down to the `Hollow Gardens', a small sunken area bounded by rockwork with beds laid out round a circular fountain, now (2000) filled in.
The 15ha of lightly wooded, informal pleasure grounds lie beyond the garden terraces, mainly to the south and west of the Hall, divided from the park by a ditch or ha-ha. Within them is a large rectangular fishpond and an icehouse (listed grade II), the two being linked via a stone channel from the north-east bank of the fishpond. An ancient oak stands at the northern end of the pond from which point a broad walk connects the pleasure grounds to the kitchen garden.
PARK Wortley Park covers c 220ha, much of which is under the plough with few remains of the parkland plantings although boundary plantations including Coal Pit Plantation to the north, Hollins Plantation to the east, and Copley Wood to the south survive to enclose the park. The park is divided through the centre by High Wood which runs south-west to north-east along the valley of High Wood Dike and still displays some ornamental plantings. The northern park, known as Lane Royd's Park, is used as a golf course. The park appears to have been laid out c 1800 when James Archibald Stuart Wortley II, first Baron Wharncliffe, married and settled at Wortley.
W S Gilpin is said to have worked `in a Pricean spirit' at Wortley (Piebenga 1994) thought the extent of his work is not clear. Joseph Harrison, head gardener at Wortley Hall in the early to mid C19, was responsible for the launch of several periodicals: Gardener's and Forester's Record (1833-6), and Floricultural Cabinet (1833-59), continued as Gardener's Weekly Magazine (1860-5) and then as Gardener's Magazine (1865-1916). It seems likely that he was to some extent responsible for laying out the grounds.
KITCHEN GARDEN The 3ha walled kitchen garden lies to the west of the Hall on the west side of the stable block wall. The brick walls were heated and parts of this system remain, as do some of the sheds and bothies against the north face of the north wall. The whole complex is currently (2000) disused. The head gardener's cottage, dated 1882, stands in the north-west corner of the garden.
Gardener's Magazine 16, (1840), pp 105-08 J Horticulture and Cottage Gardener 57, (1877), pp 140-3 Yorks Archaeol J 47, (1975), pp 115-19 B Elliot, Victorian Gardens (1986), p 12 S Piebenga, William Sawrey Gilpin, (English Heritage Designer Theme Study 1994) Richard Hewlings, History of Wortley Hall, (typescript, nd) [copy on EH file]
Maps Francis White of York, Land of the township of Wortley for the Hon J S Wortley, 1796 Francis White, Map of the lordship of Wortley, 1801 W Ellison and W Sisson, Plan of the estate of the Earl of Wharncliffe in the township of Wortley, 1850 (Wharncliffe Muniments, Sheffield Central Library)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1850-1, published 1855
Description written: March 2000 Amended: May 2000 Register Inspector: EMP Edited: October 2004
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 1384
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