Remains of a mid C18 landscape including a grotto together with early C19 gardens and parkland.
The Hayne estate was acquired by the Harris family in the early C16, and continued in their ownership until the mid C19. The site is marked as a house on both Saxton's Map of Devon (1575), and Speed's Map of Devon (1610), and a series of terraces marked on the hillside south-west of the house on the OS 1st edition map of 1883 may have been connected with gardens associated with this earlier house (Cherry and Pevsner 1989). In the early C18 successive generations of the Harris family served as members of Parliament, while John Harris of Hayne was Master of the Household to George II and George III (Hoskins 1954). The remodelling of the grounds and the construction of the grotto appear to date from the mid C18 and were perhaps influenced by John Harris' Court connections. A house, but no park, was noted on Donn's Map of the County of Devon (1765). Wollocombe (1908) suggests that the grounds formerly contained a 'Chinese pagoda' and a further temple, but no trace of these structures survives. The house was rebuilt in a Gothic Revival style in the early C19, and was extended in 1865, the year after its purchase by the Blackburn family. The grounds and parkland are shown in essentially their present form on the OS 1" map (1809), the Tithe map of c 1840, and the late C19 OS maps. By the 1980s the house had become derelict and the estate divided. Following its sale in 1987 a thorough restoration of the building was undertaken, while the estate has been substantially reassembled into a single ownership. The property remains (1999) in private occupation and extensive planting has been undertaken in the park in the 1990s. New gardens have also been created around the house.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Hayne is situated c 1km west-south-west of the village of Stowford, to the south of the A30 Exeter to Launceston road. The c 20ha site comprises c 8ha of gardens and pleasure grounds, and c 12ha of parkland and woodland. It is bounded to the south by hedges and fences adjoining a minor road leading east to Stowford, while to the west it is enclosed by walls and fences fronting a minor lane leading south from Broadwoodwidger to Portgate. To the north-east and north the site is fenced and adjoins agricultural land, and to the north-west the boundary is formed by the River Thrushel. The site occupies the north- and north-west-facing slopes and the floor of a valley through which the River Thrushel flows in a westerly direction. There are views south-west from the house down the valley within the park, and north-east up the river valley. Bridge Plantation immediately north-west of the site is significant for its setting, and formed part of the C18 pleasure grounds. The former kitchen garden also lies outside the site, immediately adjacent to its north-east boundary.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The site is approached from the minor road leading to Stowford which forms its southern boundary, at a point c 700m east-north-east of Hayne Farm. A gravel drive descends north-west from a simple timber gate passing between post and rail fences for c 300m. Reaching a further timber gate the drive enters an area of lawns before turning south-west to enter a late C20 elliptical carriage turn to the north-east of the house. The carriage turn is flanked by symmetrically placed urns on pedestals c 50m north-east of the house, while the drive encloses an area of lawn. A service drive extends north-west beyond the carriage turn to the stables (listed grade II) which stand immediately north-west of the house. A further drive, shown as the principal approach on the Tithe map and OS (1883), enters the site c 500m south-west of the house adjacent to Hayne Lodge (listed grade II), a mid C19 Tudor-gothic, stone, two-storey lodge. Mid C19 square-section stone gate piers with granite pinnacles and ball finials support a simple segmental wrought-iron overthrow and a timber gate with open lattice-work decoration (all listed grade II). The drive descends gently north-east for c 100m before turning north and north-east across the park, entering the pleasure grounds c 130m south-west of the house. From this point it sweeps north-east and east to approach the carriage turn north-east of the house from the west.
Hayne Manor (listed grade II*) stands on a level terrace on the north-west-facing slope of the Thrushel valley. The present house was built c 1810 in a picturesque gothic style with battlemented parapets, buttresses, gabled pinnacles with gothic finials, and stone and timber traceried windows. These details recall John Nash's work at Luscombe Castle, Devon (qv). No architect has been identified for Hayne Manor, but the design was previously attributed to Jeffry Wyatville (Pevsner 1952). The rubble-stone, two-storey house is of roughly square plan and is arranged around a central, top-lit staircase hall. A staircase turret with a pyramidal lead roof breaks above the roof line. The service quarters to the north of the main block are said to incorporate the core of the pre-1810 house (ibid). The house was extensively restored in the late 1980s after a period of decline in the mid C20.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
Lying principally to the north, south and west of the house, the gardens and pleasure grounds comprise formal terraces and informal woodland gardens. The terraces and gardens around the house have been extensively remodelled in the late C20. To the south of the house a narrow terrace is linked by stone steps to a late C20 square formal garden laid out with specimen trees and shrubs. Sweeping lawns are separated from the park to the south and south-west by a stone-faced ha-ha, with a higher stone retaining wall c 30m south-west of the house. South-west of the house and at a lower level, an area of lawn is separated from further formal gardens and a late C20 lean-to conservatory on the south-facing wall of the stable block by a young (1990s) yew hedge. The lawn is separated from the park to the south by mature trees and yews which survive from planting shown on the 1883 OS map. Some 50m north-east of the house late C20 gardens have been developed around an existing pond with specimen trees and shrubs, and contemporary sculptures.
The informal pleasure grounds, known as The Wilderness, lie c 100m west of the house. A network of serpentine walks pass through mature trees and specimen C19 conifers and shrubbery, to reach the grotto (listed grade II) c 320m west-north-west of the house. The single-storey late C18 rubble structure recalls the style of similar mid C18 structures designed by Thomas Wright, and may be based on one of his published designs. There is structural evidence that the roof may have been thatched, but is now tiled (1999). The front or south wall rises as an irregular stone screen, while simple round-headed entrances to each side allow access to the shell-encrusted interior. The internal roof is groin vaulted, and there are niches in the walls. To the south the grotto faces an elliptical lawn surrounded by trees and shrubs, while to the north it faces a mill leat fed from the River Thrushel. Some 80m west of the grotto the leat feeds a mill pond adjacent to Hayne Mill which lies within the pleasure grounds. In the C19 the ornamental circuit walk extended north of the mill into Bridge Plantation, and was carried across the river on a footbridge.
Lying to the east, south and south-west of the house, the park remains pasture with scattered mature trees, with extensive late C20 replanting particularly adjacent to the southern boundary. The replanting will recreate the pattern of tree cover in the park shown on the early C19 Tithe map, with an area of concentrated planting on the north- and north-west-facing slope c 100m south of the house. To the east and south of the house the park has been divided into a series of grazing enclosures by late C20 post and rail fences.
Lying c 100m north-east of the house, the former walled kitchen garden lies outside but immediately adjoining the registered site. The garden is (1999) no longer cultivated and is laid to grass; only the footings of the north-west wall and a short section of north wall remain standing.
W White, History, Gazeteer and Directory of Devonshire (1850)
J B Wollocombe, From Morn till Eve Reminiscences (1908), pp 258, 264-71
W G Hoskins, Devon (1954), pp 482-3
N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Devon (1st edn 1952)
B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Devon (2nd edn 1989), pp 465-6
T Gray, The Garden History of Devon An Illustrated Guide to Sources (1995), p 121
B Donn, A Map of the County of Devon, 1765
Tithe map for Stowford parish, nd (c 1840), (Devon Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1882-3, published 1890
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1883, published 1884
2nd edition revised 1905, published 1906
Harris family papers including estate papers and accounts (2527M), (Devon Record Office)
Sale particulars, 1991 (3372M/130), (Devon Record Office)
Description written: April 1999
Amended: July 1999
Register Inspector: JML
Edited: July 2000