Gardens of the mid C19 designed by Henry Stevens of Derby and a park laid out to a design by William Emes of 1792 which incorporated elements of a layout which probably originated in the early to mid C18.
Locko was the only preceptory of the Lazarite order in England which flourished from c 1297 to 1347. The later medieval history of the site is obscure but by the end of the C17 the estate had been sold by the Ferne family to the Gilberts. It remained in the family until 1746 when it was purchased by John Lowe who passed it to his son Richard. Richard died childless in 1785 and the estate was inherited by his cousin William Drury, who added the name Lowe to his own. A number of estate maps were drawn up at various times including one dated 1716 and another of 1766. A map by William Emes (1730-1803) showing proposals for the park is dated 1792 and a map of 1825 probably shows the scheme in its executed form. The estate continued in the Drury-Lowe family and remains in private ownership (1998).
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Locko Park lies c 1.5km north of the village of Spondon which is situated in countryside between the conurbations of Nottingham and Derby. The c 160ha site lies on land which slopes down gently from the north-east and upwards from the valley of the Lees Brook to the west. Woods and plantations shelter the west and south-west boundaries and other boundaries are divided from agricultural land by fencing.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
There are two principal entrances, both with lodges. The main entrance from Spondon is on the south-west side of the park on Locko Road where there is a pair of late C18 lodges (listed grade II), shown on the 1792 map. A drive runs north-east, curves around a lake and continues north to the east side of the house. There are views of the house framed by trees across The Lake from this approach. On the east side of the site there is a C19 lodge from which a drive runs west to join with the drive from the south. This pattern of drives conforms well with Emes' proposals which reconfigured drives from the south and west shown on the 1766 map. A secondary entrance from Derby Road on the north side of the site runs south to the service yard north of the house and a path branching south-east runs to join other approaches to the east side of the building with a mid C19 lodge (Henry Stevens, listed grade II) alongside it c 110m north-east of the house. This approach is not shown on the 1766 map but Emes shows it marked 'new wagon road'.
Locko Park (listed grade II*) probably originated in the late C17. A sketch on the 1716 estate map shows a gabled H- or U-plan house with a chapel attached to the south-west side. It was remodelled c 1725-30, possibly by Francis Smith of Warwick, and a major campaign of alterations took place in the mid C19 to the designs of Henry Stevens of Derby. The chapel is dated 1669 and was perhaps the only part of the building left untouched by Smith. The house is ranged around a central courtyard and the main entrance on the east side. It is in use as a private residence (1998).
There is a range of former stables and ancillary buildings immediately north-east of the house.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The gardens are divided from the park by a ha-ha (ha-ha and associated structures all listed grade II) enclosing three sides of the house. On the east side there is an entrance arch flanked by a ha-ha wall surmounted by ball finials linked by iron chains. On the south side there are stone steps leading down into the park, and on the west side the ha-ha has a low parapet and in the centre, c 30m west of the house, there is an Italianate clock tower dated 1890. The ha-ha turns and runs west and then curves north around pleasure grounds and gardens on the west side of the house.
The forecourt on the east side of the house is gravelled and there are beds of rhododendrons and azaleas framing the entrance and drive. On the south and south-west side there are lawns with some informal beds, and there are views southwards across parkland to The Lake. A wall divides the lawns from terraced gardens on the north-west side of the house which lie immediately south of the kitchen garden. The top (northernmost) terrace is gravelled and laid out with splayed, triangular, stone-lined beds radiating from circular beds. The terrace is backed by the kitchen garden wall which is of pale brown brick with a flat parapet. Central steps lead southwards down a grassed slope to a terraced walk running east/west which runs to a point c 100m west of the house and then curves to the north. The path then takes a curving course through pleasure grounds which extend around the west and north side of the kitchen garden. These are planted with trees and shrubs with grassed glades, some with informal flower beds within them, opening out between the trees. Paths lead round to a walkway flanked by borders which runs along the east side of the kitchen garden to the west side of the house.
The gardens were laid out by Henry Stevens in the 1850s. Certain elements such as the clock tower were added later, but the basic structure is as shown on the 1881 large-scale OS map.
The 1716 map has a written label 'orchard yards and gardens' beside the house but no indication of the layout. The 1766 map shows elaborate formal gardens with geometrical layouts east and west of the house and a canal running north/south aligned with the south front. Emes simply shows parkland sweeping up to the house, as is indicated on the 1825 map.
There is parkland on all sides of the house which consists largely of open pasture with scattered trees and clumps. The park is sheltered on the west side by Birch Wood in the north-west corner and a band of planting extending from it to the south along the west boundary, continuing across the south end of the site. Crow Wood Farm, partially screened by trees, lies on the west side of the site c 750m south-west of the house. Woodland in the south-east corner of the park south of the east lodge is called Crow Wood and is shown on the 1766 map. A patch of woodland on a hillock c 200m east of the house is the site of an icehouse (listed grade II) with a gothick west facade, probably of early or mid C19 date. On the north-east side of the house there is a chain of three narrow ponds running north/south from a point c 500m north-east of the house in an area not shown on the 1716 map. These are shown with slightly different outlines on the 1792 and 1825 maps, but only one of them appears on the 1766 map.
The Lake is a large expanse of water lying c 500m south of the house which is c 400m across at its widest point. It is surrounded by drifts of trees planted to frame views to and from the house. The Lees Brook flows south from The Lake and it is crossed by an ornamental bridge (listed grade II) probably of late C19 date which is not shown on the 1880 OS map. The bridge does not appear to relate to a path or drive and may have been positioned to add interest to views from the south approach.
The 1716 map shows the area south of the house divided into fields. Blocks of woodland shown on the west side of the estate conform broadly with the position of woodland on the west side of the park. The 1766 map shows land to the south-east of the house as parkland, extending south of its present line to include Spondon Wood, c 1.3km south of the house and outside the registered area. The west side of the site is shown divided into fields, with Birch Wood and a stretch of woodland extending south on the west side of Crow Wood Farm.
Emes' 1792 proposals exploited the existing woodland on the west side of the site which is shown with sinuous walks and rides running through it marked 'Wild Wood Walks'. Crow Wood Farm is shown with a belt of trees screening it, and the planting is shown continuing on either side of the new south-west entrance and running along the south boundary, and as a thin band around the north-east and east sides of the park. On the west side of the house pleasure grounds are shown as sinuous walks, marked 'Shrubbery Walks', running westwards on the north side of drifts of trees to join with the 'Wild Wood Walks'. Central to the park and the carefully planned approaches, The Lake is shown in its present position. Various drawings of stretches of water amongst estate papers appear to be alternative designs for the shape and outline of The Lake.
The 1825 map shows Emes' new approaches and The Lake much as they appear today. The shrubbery and woodland walks are not shown, but the thickening of the planting and screening of Crow Wood Farm is much as Emes proposed.
The kitchen garden lies immediately north-west of the north-west corner of the house. It is a rectangular enclosure of pale brown brick which has a terrace with a brick parapet running east/west along the north side of the enclosure. A walkway runs between opposed arched gateways in the east and west walls, and this is overlooked by the remains of a glasshouse, probably of mid or later C19 date, built against the north wall. The garden appears much as shown on the 1880 OS map, and it was probably laid out in its present form in the 1850s as part of Stevens' design for the garden. It is on the site of gardens shown on the 1766 map, and Emes proposed a garden with a glasshouse along the north wall, though the 1825 map shows that this had not been carried out and instead the garden had a slightly different, more elongated plan with paths running through it in a manner not unlike the general layout suggested on the 1766 map.