THE ROYAL ESTATE, WINDSOR: FROGMORE GARDENS
- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
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Picturesque landscape garden, laid out in the 1790s for Queen Charlotte on the site of an earlier C18 formal garden, largely with advice from Major William Price, brother of Uvedale Price, and further developed in the C19 by Queen Victoria.
NOTE This site is part of the Royal Estate, Windsor, together with the following six related park or garden areas which are given separate entries within the Register: within Berkshire, Windsor Castle and Home Park (within which Frogmore estate lies), Windsor Great Park, Cumberland Lodge, Royal Lodge; within Surrey, The Savill Garden and Valley Gardens, Virginia Water.
Two estates, Richard Franklin's Gwynn's Farm and William Aldworth's Frogmore, lying adjacent to the south of the Little (later Home) Park were joined in 1684 as the Great Frogmore estate under the ownership of Anne Aldworth and her husband Thomas May who employed the Royal architect Hugh May (Thomas' uncle) to design a fine new house, which forms the core of the present house. The enclosed formal garden to the west of this house included a parterre and allées, with a grove or wilderness at the southern end (William Aldworth's estate at Frogmore and Shaw, 1696, from Tighe and Davis 1858). The Franklins' old house was pulled down shortly afterwards. During the C18 the lease of the Great Frogmore estate passed through several hands, and from 1748¿66 Edward Walpole, second son of Sir Robert Walpole, lived there and is credited with improving both the house and grounds. By 1766 (estate plan) a formal rectangular canal flanked by avenues of trees was separated from the south front of the house by a bowling green on the site of the earlier parterre. A further parterre lay on the east, entrance front of the house, replaced by 1770 by a semicircular driveway. In 1790 Queen Charlotte took possession of the adjacent Little Frogmore house and estate, followed by Great Frogmore in 1792. The Queen employed James Wyatt to remodel the house 1792-5, and Major William Price (brother of the landscapist Uvedale) to advise on the Picturesque layout of the grounds, which were embellished with a series of small buildings and pavilions around a serpentine lake and island. The estate was much used as a retreat by the Queen and her daughters until her death in 1818, when it became the residence of her second daughter Princess Augusta who also took a great interest in the grounds. Upon her death, the estate was brought into that of the Home Park, and became the home of the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria's mother. Following the death of her mother and the Prince Consort in 1861, the Queen built two substantial mausolea in the grounds, the land around the Prince's (and from 1901 the Queen's) mausoleum being laid out as a distinct area by Thomas Ingram, Head Gardener at Windsor. The estate remains (1999) in Crown ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Frogmore today (1999) lies within Windsor Home Park (qv), lying 1km south-east of Windsor Castle and 500m east of Windsor. The c 15ha, roughly triangular site is largely enclosed by belts of trees, being bounded to the north-east by Frogmore Drive, a former public road linking Windsor and Old Windsor which was closed in 1851; to the west by Frogmore Border Drive, the road to Shaw Farm which was created in the 1790s slightly to the west of an earlier road enclosed within the pleasure grounds; and to the south by parkland into which the serpentine lake emerges, terminating at its southern end around an island. The land is largely level, with artificial mounds on which stand various features. The setting is largely rural, with the Home Park surrounding the estate, the C19 Prince Consort's Home Farm standing adjacent to the east, on the site of the C17 Ranger's Lodge, Shaw Farm buildings standing 400m to the south-west and the vast Royal Gardens lying 400m to the south-east.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main entrance to the estate is to the east, off Frogmore Drive which gives access from Windsor Castle 1km to the north-west, and Royal Gardens Lodge (1852, listed grade II) lying c 700m south-east, giving access from Datchet and Old Windsor. Two entrances off Frogmore Drive, situated opposite the north and south ends of the house, lead west through the boundary shrubbery to a turning circle enclosing an oval lawn lying adjacent to the main entrance on the east front of the house, the entrance being enclosed by a porte-cochère. A spur off the north side of the turning circle gives access to the stables. A further short drive leading west off Frogmore Drive to the north gives access to service yards lying adjacent to the north side of the stables.
A lych gate (A J Humbert and Ludwig Gruner of Dresden, dated 1866, listed grade II), standing 300m west of the house, gives direct access from Frogmore Border Drive to the Royal Mausoleum and the Duchess of Kent's Mausoleum in the gardens. The gateway is built of white ashlar in Romanesque style, with an Italianate lodge (listed grade II) standing adjacent.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Frogmore House (Hugh May 1680s, remodelled James Wyatt 1790s, listed grade I) stands close to the north-east boundary of the pleasure grounds, on level ground. The three-storey, stucco-faced central block (of 1680 origin) is flanked by early C19 bow-fronted pavilions, with a Tuscan colonnade running along the ground floor of the central block (originally open, from c 1805 glazed) overlooking the main lawn.
The stables (c 1710, listed grade II) lie close by to the north of the house, facing the entrance carriage circle to the south. Two two-storey, stucco-faced wings with narrow, projecting three-storey towers flank a central archway giving access to the service yard to the north.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The informal Picturesque-style grounds are laid out on largely level ground, with relief provided by various large, artificial mounds placed so that the whole area is not visible at once. The grounds are dominated by the serpentine Frogmore Lake, which enters as a small stream from the north-east, and broadens out to encircle an island lying c 150m west of the house, before continuing in sinuous form southwards, leaving the grounds 200m south-west of the house. The mounds appear to have been created from the spoil excavated during the creation of the lake from an earlier stream in the 1790s, when the landscape was further diversified with extensive plantations of trees and shrubs. The grounds are seen from a network of serpentine paths which once passed various late C18 and C19 features. Although many of these features have vanished, those noted below have survived.
From the west front of the house a path leads north-west along the edge of the main lawn overlooking the lake to the south-west, crossing, via a footbridge standing 100m north-west of the west front, the stream which feeds the lake from the north-east. Close by to the north- west the Gothic Ruin (James Wyatt 1790s, listed grade II*) overlooks the island in the lake, built as a garden house in ruinous Gothick style with battlements and perpendicular windows. The path continues north-west from here to encircle the open lawn adjacent to the south front of Frogmore Cottage (early C19, listed grade II), a two-storey, stucco-faced house with a parapet. To the east of the lawn lies a rose garden (1990s), whilst to the south of the Cottage at the centre of the lawn lies the octagonal, marble Indian Kiosk (1850s, listed grade II). The path passes in front of the Cottage, continuing south, passing the lych gate standing 300m west of the house. From here the path continues south and east as a perimeter path, passing the Royal Burial Ground (developed in the C20) set in open lawn and lying adjacent to the Royal Mausoleum, before reaching a footbridge across the lake lying adjacent to Jubilee Mount by the south boundary.
A path extends south-east from the lodge to the entrance steps up to the Royal Mausoleum (A J Humbert and Ludwig Gruner of Dresden 1862-71, listed grade I), standing 250m west of the house on a low mound. Built for the Prince Consort (d 1861) and Queen Victoria (d 1901), like the gateway to it, it is of white ashlar in Romanesque style, on Greek cross plan with a tall octagonal drum and a domed copper roof. Opposite the Royal Mausoleum a stone footbridge gives access to the island at the north end of the lake, informally planted with mature trees, and with open lawns on the north-east side overlooking the west front of the house. A further stone footbridge (c 1861, listed grade II) leads from the south corner of the island to a peninsula largely surrounded by the lake, the southern tip being raised as a mound on which stands the Duchess of Kent's Mausoleum (A J Humbert and Ludwig Gruner 1860s, listed grade I). From the footbridge a double staircase in similar style leads up the west side of the mound to a stone terrace in front of an opening into the basement of the Mausoleum. A gravel path encircling the peninsula leads north from the footbridge, a spur ascending the north side of the mound to the Mausoleum's upper storey, in the form of a classical rotunda with a copper dome. From here paths lead north-east to the main lawn on the west front of the house.
From the Royal Mausoleum a path leads south, following the curve of the south bank of the lake leading to Jubilee Mount, informally planted with trees in 1977, where it meets the perimeter path leading from the Royal Burial Ground, together crossing the southern end of the lake before it leaves the Frogmore grounds. From here the lake extends south, terminating 400m from the house in farmland where it encircles a further island reached by a footbridge.
East of the lake paths encircle a further ornamental plantation and lawns, at the east end of which lies Queen Victoria's Tea House (attr S S Teulon 1869, listed grade II). Two connected, single-storey pavilions are linked by a curved, tiled-roofed verandah, the roofs of the pavilions being carried down to form verandahs all round, supported with wooden posts. Each brick-based, timber-framed pavilion has a tall, central chimney stack in Tudor style. Here Queen Victoria used to retire to write letters. East of the Tea House a path leads north-west, returning past the south front to the west front of the house, overlooking lawns to the west and south.
During the C20 a large number of exotic specimen trees have been planted throughout the pleasure grounds, many of which have been gifts to the current monarch.
KITCHEN GARDEN Frogmore House kitchen garden lies adjacent to the north-east of the carriage sweep giving access to the house, from which it is separated by Frogmore Drive. The north boundary incorporates part of the early C17 Little (later Home) Park south boundary, being flanked to north-west and east by remains of the park pale earthwork. The brick-walled kitchen garden is laid to grass with areas used as staff allotments, it being divided into sections by further brick walls. The area occupies the site of the orchard added to the Home Park in the 1670s (Roberts 1997, pl 149) and the kitchen garden of the C17 former Ranger's Lodge (fragments of this building seemingly incorporated within the Dairy House of the Prince Consort's Home Farm in the mid C19; Roberts 1997, 159) which lay c 150m east of Frogmore House and had its own formal gardens and Wilderness in the early C18 (estate plan, c 1730).
R Tighe and J Davis, Annals of Windsor (1858) 2 vols N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Berkshire (1966), pp 293-5 G Plumptre, Royal Gardens (1981), pp 86-105 R Strong, Royal Gardens (1992), pp 72-7, 122-5 D Lambert and T Longstaffe-Gowan, Report on Windsor Home and Great Parks (1996) J Roberts, Royal Landscape, The Gardens and Parks of Windsor (1997), pp 210-36 Frogmore House and the Royal Mausoleum, guidebook, (1998)
Maps Plan of the south-eastern area of the Little Park with recent additions, 1670s (Public Record Office) William Aldworth's estate at Frogmore and Shaw, 1696, from Tighe and Davis 1858 (Royal Collection) H Wise, An Accurate Plan of Windsor Parks and Part of the Forrest, c 1710 (Royal Collection) A Plan of Windsor Castle and the Little Park, c 1730 (Public Record Office) Plan of the Great Frogmore estate, 1766 (Public Record Office) Plan of Frogmore and Shaw, 1819 (Public Record Office) The Grounds of Frogmore House, 1847 (Royal Collection)
Description written: May 1999 Amended: September 1999 Register Inspector: SR Edited: April 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
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- 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