C18 landscape park, c.100ha at most extensive.
Eywood built 1705, enlarged 1806-07 by Smirke for the 5th Earl of Oxford, rebuilt and refronted between 1898 and 1908, demolished 1954. Dovecote 200m to An C18 landscape park visited by Lancelot Brown.
CHRONOLOGY OF HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT
Eywood was the seat of the Harleys, earls of Oxford and Mortimer. The family were widely connected, and Byron was a visitor in late 1812. When the sixth and last Earl died in 1853 the estate passed, with Brampton Bryan, to his eldest sister Lady Langdale. On her death in 1872 it passed to another sister, Lady Charlotte Bacon. Later it was sold to second Lord Ormathwaite. The Gwyers purchased Eywood in 1892, and held it until 1950. It then passed to Mr Vowells before the house was demolished and the estate broken up in the early 1950s.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Eywood lies 1.5km south-west of the village of Titley, on ground which slopes southwards from Rushock Hill down to the River Arrow 1.5km to the south. The park is bounded to the south by the B4355, which runs from Kington 3km to the south-west to Presteigne 5km to the north. Otherwise the boundary of the registered area follows field boundaries. The registered area comprises c 125ha.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The approach in the late C20 is from the east, from an entrance on the west side of Titley village, past a high-quality, late C19, two-storey brick lodge with steeply hipped roof. This drive runs through the northern part of the park, and past Titley Pool, before entering the north side of the house complex. The original approach to the house, via a dam across a small pool north-east of the house and then through the shrubbery to the turning circle, is no longer used in the late C20.
Until demolition of the house, a second approach led from an entrance west of Flintsham Farm on the south-west corner of the park. The lodge here is of similar character to that at Titley although its first floor has been rendered and painted. Historically the house was approached by various other drives across the park, including one which entered the park at its south-east corner before running up the first 400m of the Avenue.
Eywood was a large house said to have been begun c 1705 for Edward Harley, the brother of Robert Harley, first Earl of Oxford. Built around a central courtyard it was a three-storey building, rendered, and with a main front of nine bays, the middle five of which projected and were crowned with a top balustrade. The house was extensively remodelled by Sir Robert Smirke (1780-1867) in 1805-7 when a small Grecian orangery was added to the south of the house, while in 1898 an architect named Milne reduced the side elevations to two storeys and refaced the house in brick, adding huge quoins to the angles. The house was demolished in 1954. All that remains of the house is the north entrance and some wall stubs, together with an C18 stable range (listed grade II), and laundry. Some 150m north-west of the house, in Beech Wood, is an icehouse of c 1800 (listed grade II); 100m west of the house is an C18 pigeon house, which by the later 1990s was roofless.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The house faced east, and a series of terraces close to the house site mark formal gardens of probable C19 date. From these there are good views over falling ground to the remains of the Avenue, which begins c 200m to the south-east, and to Titley Pool 400m to the east. Below the site of the south front of the house are lawns falling away to Garden Pool, c 100m to the south. Around the whole of the house, and notably still framing the view to Garden Pool, are extensive shrubberies and many mature specimen trees, both deciduous and, especially, coniferous. The shrubbery is continued as Garden Wood, which stretches for c 600m from the house enveloping Garden Pool and extending around the north-east side of Flintsham Pool. Traces of walks through the shrubbery can still be seen, for instance a slightly terraced path leading via a tunnel under a fine ashlar bridge 200m south-west of the house towards the kitchen garden (east of which the path is slightly sunken with slag-lined sides). That bridge formerly carried the carriage drive from the Flintsham lodge.
A stone-walled ha-ha runs north/south 250m east of the house, separating the shrubbery and pleasure ground from the parkland.
The house stood in the centre of the northern part of the park; most of the former open parkland is now arable land or improved grass. In the early 1950s, at the same time the house was demolished, much of the timber on the estate was felled. Three pools survive which were presumably the main features of the landscaping. Some 400m east of the house is Titley Pool, c 550m east/west by 150m north/south; immediately to the west, beyond a dam, is a feeder pond, dry in 1997. Green Wood (in the 1990s a nature reserve), lies along the south bank of the pool. Garden Pool, c 170m in diameter, lies c 150m south of the house. Lobe-edged in plan, its banks are stone lined. When Garden Pool was drained in the 1980s a bridge was revealed. Garden Wood envelopes the south bank of the pool as seen from the lawn below the house, providing a backdrop. About 1960 a private house ('Huxori') was built on a plot running down to the Pool on its west side. The third of the pools, Flintsham Pool, lies 500m south-west of the house in a pocket of low ground overlooked by the B4355. Its northern side is framed by the south-west end of Garden Wood and by Boat House Spinney.
The other main feature of the landscape park to survive is some of the trees which in the late C19 formed a straight, 900m long Avenue from the ha-ha south-east of the house to the south-east corner of the park. The survivors lie in the western third of the Avenue; the remainder had been felled before the estate was sold in 1954.
Lancelot 'Capability' Brown visited Eywood in August 1775. There is, however, no evidence that he worked at, or advised on, Eywood. It is believed that when imparkment took place, and the park first appears on a printed map of the county in 1812, a road across the area, passing by the cottages in Green Wood, was closed. The line of this road may be perpetuated by the footpath recorded in 1954 running south-west from Titley, past the south side of the Green, to the Square, east of Flintsham Farm.
The brick-walled kitchen garden lies 300m west of the house site. The main compartment, with central basin and fountain and quartered, apple tree-lined paths, measures c 90m by 70m. The inner walls have fruit trees, which still survive in 1997 along the exterior of the south wall. The interior of the garden remains under light cultivation. Semi-derelict lean-to glasshouses, probably C19, stand along the north wall, against which are sheds and a bothy. Outside the garden, to the south, are the remains of an orchard. A stone wall bounds this to the south.
The head gardener's house (listed grade II) stands outside and against the north-east corner of the walled area. Of c 1800, and of some quality, it is brick built with a hipped slate roof.
R Parry, The History of Kington (1845)
D Stroud, Capability Brown (1975), p 225
P Reid, Burke's and Savills Guide to Country House: Volume II, Herefordshire (1980), pp 24-5
Plan of Eywood in 1954 sale particulars
OS 6" to 1 mile: Herefordshire sheet 10 SE, 1st edition published 1886
Sale particulars, 1954 (copy on EH file)
Estate accounts 1790-1 (C46); Sale notice 1895 (K38/F/51), (Herefordshire Record Office)
Description written: 1998
Register Inspector: PAS
Edited: August 1999