Park and pleasure ground for which Humphry Repton produced a Red Book in 1790, with subsequent mid-C19 and late C20 additions.
Reasons for Designation
Saling Grove, a park and pleasure ground for which Humphry Repton produced a Red Book in 1790, with subsequent mid-C19 and late C20 additions, is registered at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Saling Grove is by one of the most important and influential landscape designers of the late C18 and early C19;
* it is a well preserved example of a late-C18 park and pleasure ground, retaining many key elements such as shrubs and trees, the walled kitchen garden, and the vista over the park to the south;
* together with the Grade II listed Saling Grove house and other Grade II listed buildings on the estate, the park forms an ensemble of historical significance that aptly demonstrates the aesthetic quality associated with the Georgian period.
The land on which Saling Grove was built by John Yeldham in 1754 was part of the property of Park's which was built in 1295. Writing in 1771 Muilman records that the park extended south beyond Onchor's Farm and Park's Farm and included a grove with a cut vista and half-moon clearing, from which 'to enjoy the view', planted level with the two farms. Perhaps because of its small scale, Chapman and Andre's county map published in 1777 shows John Yeldham's house set in a simple landscape scattered with trees and does not record the grove. The house, offices and kitchen garden are all crowded into the north-west corner. In 1790 Humphry Repton (1752-1818) was commissioned to lay out the park. The whereabouts of the Red Book are unknown but an entry in Repton’s account book for 1790 records ‘Nov. 5th & 6th Book with maps and slides - £6.6.0’ for John Yeldham, Saling Grove. John Yeldham died in 1788 so it is likely that it was his son or another relation with the same name who commissioned Repton.
The estate and subsequently most of the village, was purchased in 1795 by Bartlett Goodrich, whose father, a Virginian loyalist, had settled in England c1785 following the American Revolution. A map drawn up at the time of this purchase (ERO) shows the landscape immediately after Repton's involvement. It records that the road from Blake End to Shalford Green was diverted, replacing a sharp angle that cut into the north-west corner of the park with a smooth curve, giving the house a more spacious setting. The map also shows the construction of a new kitchen garden and offices, the creation of a pond, the establishment of numerous plantations, and the south park now terminating alongside the two farms at the grove with the cut vista and half-moon clearing. A field boundary aligned with the east side of the grove is clearly marked. Halfway along this boundary there is a small grove, shaped as three-quarters of a circle, which wraps around the corner of the eastern field, possibly to block out the view of the farmland from the house.
After Goodrich's death in 1827 without male heirs, the property was sold to William Fowke, although Goodrich's trustees retained much of the estate including Park's Farm and Onchor's Farm. The 1838 Tithe map shows that although Fowke bought a reduced area of park to the south, he also owned the grove, presumably to protect the termination of the view over the park from the house. The central strip between the house and grove is called The Lawn and was used as pasture. The strips of land to the east (Long Meadow) and west (Big Road Meadow), and the field beyond the grove were in different hands and are labelled as arable. The Fowke family extended the house to the east and remained at Saling Grove until 1919 when it was put up for sale. The sale catalogue of this date records that by this time the grove had disappeared, and the land between it and Goodrich's park boundary had been taken into Park's and Onchor's Farms. Between 1933 and 1937 Mrs W Steele was in occupation at Saling Grove. During the Second World War, some of the trees in Long Meadow, about mid-way along the park, had to be taken down as they were in the direct line of the flight path of the adjacent airfield. Sailing Grove remains in private ownership (2018).
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Saling Grove lies on the south side of the village of Great Saling, which itself sits to the north of the A120 Braintree to Bishop's Stortford road, c 9km north-west of Braintree. The 23 ha site occupies virtually flat ground, bounded to the north by the main village streets, to the west by the minor road connecting Great Saling to the A120 and farmland, and to the east and south by farmland. Great Saling is a small village in a rural setting and the park is screened along its road boundaries by thin plantations.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The mansion at Saling Grove is approached by two entrances. The main entrance on the western boundary enters the park through a gateway (listed Grade II) of brick support columns and iron gates, flanked by curved side railings. The drive passes West Lodge (listed Grade II), a single-storey cottage of gault brick and slate, and runs north-east through lawns planted with large specimen trees to arrive at the entrance court on the north front of the house. The West Lodge and drive do not appear on the 1795 estate map but were both in place by 1838 (Tithe map). From the village green on the northern boundary, the two-storey, red-brick and tile North Lodge (listed Grade II) marks the second entrance, which stands beside an extensive range of stabling, carriage houses, and outbuildings (all listed Grade II). The north drive passes through iron gates hung on red-brick piers and then runs south through lawns studded with large trees to join the west drive on the north front of the house. This entrance and drive also appear for the first time on the 1838 Tithe map.
Saling Grove (listed Grade II) stands to the north of centre within its park. It is a large Georgian house of plastered brick, built in three storeys with a grey hipped slate roof and raised parapet. The main entrance stands in the centre of the north facade flanked by stone dogs on either side of the portico. To the east is a gault-brick extension, to the rear of which is a large clock tower, also of gault brick. The south facade faces formal gardens and looks out over the park. Saling Grove was built around 1754 by John Yeldham and was extended in the mid-C19 by William Fowke.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The grounds to the west and north of the house are laid to lawn planted with a variety of trees and shrubs, some of a great age, and are cut through with meandering paths. An informal pool created by Humphry Repton in 1791 stands around 150m to the west of the house (estate map, 1795). The main area of gardens and pleasure grounds lie to the south and east. An axial path from the south front leads south for around 50m between rows of clipped yew to a terrace planted with a scroll parterre. The division between the parterre terrace and park is marked by a low hedge, the centre of which extends into the park in a semicircle containing a circular path. The axial path is flanked by lawns which are bordered to east and west by wooded pleasure grounds, planted during the mid-C19.
The walled kitchen garden, which was moved here by 1795, probably following advice from Humphry Repton, is around 200m to the east of the house. It is laid to lawn, divided into six compartments by gravel paths lined with clipped box hedges, and has scrolled and square box patterns along the northern boundary. One of the compartments contains a circular dipping pool. The gardens are linked to the house by a walk through the eastern pleasure ground wood. A small mid-C19 red-brick gardener's cottage stands on the outside of the north-east corner of the garden. Beyond the north wall is a large lawn planted with orchard trees.
The park at Saling Grove lies primarily to the south of the house. It remains principally under grass (2018) and retains some mature parkland trees of mainly C19 origin. A tennis court has been erected to the south of the eastern wooded pleasure ground. The boundary plantations proposed by Repton to the west and north survive, while the north-eastern boundary is defined by a dense plantation of more recent origin. To the south is a long strip of pasture known as The Lawn. A row of trees that span this strip towards its southern boundary marks the location of the plantation depicted on the estate map of 1795. This had become a single row of trees by the publication of the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1881.